Feb 12, 2014
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VITEX AGNUS-CASTUS

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Linn.

Family ► Verbenaceae.

Habitat ► Mediterranean region; South-West Asian countries, up to Pakistan. (Seeds are imported from Iran.)

English ► Monk’s Pepper-tree, Hemp tree.

Ayurvedic ► Renukaa (seed). Renukaa and Harenukaa are synonyms in Indian medicine.

Unani ► Sambhaalu.

Action ► Dried ripe fruit—acts on the anterior pituitary gland, reducing FSH and increasing LSH; stimulates production of progesterone by reducing oestrogen; used as a substitution therapy in primary and secondary corpus luteum deficiency. Used for premenstrual syndrome, for regulating hormones in amenorrhoea and for bleeding between periods; also as a galactagogue and to assist bust development.

The herb is also used in the treatment of premature old age due to sexual excess, nervous debility and impotence (as a homoeopathic drug). Vitex agnus extract is found to lower prolactin levels in men (the decrease in prolactin levels results in improved sexual performance. Males with hyperprolacti- naemia frequently face impotence).

Key application ► In irregularities of menstrual cycle, premenstrual complaints, mastodynia. (German Commission E.) As a hormonal modulator. (The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

The methanolic extract of the flowering stems of Vitex agnus-castus yielded iridoids, angnucastoside-A, B and C, in addition to aucubin, agnuside, mussaenosidic acid and 6′-O-p-hy- droxybenzoylmussaenosidic acid, and phenylbutenone glucoside, myzoden- drone.

Dopaminergic compounds, present in the herb, are clinically important compounds which improve premenstrual mastodynia and other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

The herb may counteract birth control pills. (Sharon M. Herr.)

Article Categories:
Indian Medicinal Plants

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