By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Here is one you don’t think about every day. The Vitex agnus-castus, or Chaste Tree, is a small shrubby tree from the Mediterranean with distinctive aromatic palmate foliage and elongated inflorescences of fragrant lavender-coloured flowers. It is one of only two species of the genus – the other being Vitex negundo – that can be grown successfully in cool temperate climates, the others all being tropical or subtropical trees. The Vitex agnus-castus has also been grown in the US since about 1670 after the Great Pilgrim Migration. It seems many tree genus’s which were taken to America in times past have eventually been given new genus names, but the Chaste tree apparently has not been renamed. The Chaste tree also grows in New Zealand, but its genus is Vitex lucens.
Today we will explore both the magickal and health-related connections of the Chaste tree for our purposes.
The flowers of the Chaste tree attract bees! If you wish to help Mother Nature replenish our quickly diminishing precious resource, the honeybee, feel free to plant all the Chaste trees you like. No, it isn’t magick, but it is good for environment.
Apparently, the reason the Chaste tree got her peculiar name is from the story of the festival of Thesmorphia, in honour of the Goddess Demeter, during ancient times. During this festival sex was forbidden, therefore Athenian women placed Chaste leaves and branches on their beds to dissuade men from making advances upon them. Similarly, maidens yet without partners wore the flowers to stay chaste. Curiously though in today’s times, herbal healers employ the use of the Chaste berries to increase fertility and sex drive! Funnily enough, the anecdotal findings of the use of the herb supports one in balancing one’s sexuality. So, it would seem it may increase where needed as well as slow down when needed… win, win, I suppose!
The berries can be dried and ground into powder for use in loose incenses for fertility magick and sex magick.
Powers: Fertility Magick, Goddess Energy, Protection, Sex Magick
Deity: Ceres, Demeter, Persephone
Sabbat: Mabon and Beltane
Folk Names: Monk’s Pepper, Chaste Berry, Mu Jing, Cloister Pepper
Chaste tree contains iridoids, flavonoids, progestins, and essential oils. This combination may help control menstrual cycles and ease menstrual pain. It may treat some endocrine problems.
Chaste tree has been used to treat menstrual cycle problems and pain, premenstrual syndrome, and menopause. Chaste tree berries may help stimulate progesterone. This is a female hormone that rises 2 weeks before menstruation. It may help normalise oestrogen and progesterone.
Chaste tree is claimed to help treat painful breasts [mastodynia]. In European herbalism and medicine, vitex extracts are used for uterine fibroid cysts. They help boost breast milk supply in new mothers. The herb has a long history in balancing hormones. It may help lower the sex drive in people who wish to stay chaste.
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
Chaste tree has no serious side effects. Mild side effects can include nausea, stomach issues, diarrhoea, and itchy rash.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use chaste tree. It isn’t known if chaste tree is safe for children.
This supplement should not be taken by people with hormone-sensitive cancer.
Don’t use chaste tree if you take any medicines, herbs, or other supplements. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist first.
Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x
The Magic of Trees, by Tess Whitehurst