Sacred Vitex (Vitex vulgaris, or Prunus vulgaris) is often referred to as the “Monastic Pepper” (Vitex agnus-castus), a plant species from the genus Vitex in the family Lamiaceae (Lamiaceae). In colloquial speech he is called the "Tree of Chastity", "Abraham's Tree", "Straw from the Bed of the Mother of God" or "Tanis", because it was believed that he has the property of weakening the sexual instinct. In this sense, even in scientific circles, the game with the name continues: the plant is called the Lamb (in the sense of the holy lamb-agnus-lat. Or ἁγνός-ancient Greek. - lamb) and castus (lat.) Chastity.Vitex is sacred, or Abraham's tree, or Monastic pepper.
Initially, this plant spread from the Mediterranean basin through South Asia to the Crimea.
Range - North Africa (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia), all of Southern Europe (from Spain to the southern coast of Crimea), in the subtropics of Asia: the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus south of the Sukko River, Transcaucasia, Western Asia (Turkey, Cyprus, Israel), Central Asia ( Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan), Iran, Afghanistan, India, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka.
It is undemanding to soils, grows on stony, sandy, loamy soils, salt-tolerant. It grows along the banks of rivers and irrigation ditches, along beams, on the coast, and forms small thickets. Cultivated in gardens as an ornamental plant since 1570.
Pollinated by insects, possibly partial self-pollination. Propagated by seeds and vegetatively-green and lignified cuttings, gives copious growth from the stump. Lives up to 55-62 years.
It forms a number of forms. It is listed in the Red Book of Russia - status 3 (Rare species).
It is a bush up to about 4 meters high with light brown branches. The leaves stand on the branches crosswise with respect to each other and have the shape of an open palm with five or seven endings. The flowers are white, blue, pink and purple small and consist of floral "umbrellas", densely arranged one with another. Visually, the plant is very similar to hemp, so they can be easily confused.
The fruits are four-seed false berries. It blooms from July to August. The ovary arises depending on the geographical location - on average from April to June. Especially prefers damp places and the banks of rivers and lakes.Vitex is sacred, or Abraham's tree, or Monastic pepper.
Legend has it that the Greek goddess Hera was born on the island of Samos under the "Abraham Tree." Once a year, the goddess Hera with her husband, the god Zeus, reunites on the island of Samos - under the Abraham tree. After the act of divine love, every time the goddess Hera bathes in the divine river Imbrasos located in the north of Samos, her virginity is restored. When Tonaya is celebrated, Avaam tree branches are wrapped around the cult image of the goddess to remind of an unusual event. In ancient Greece, "Monastic Pepper" served as a symbol of chaste marriage.
Dioscurides describes the "tree of chastity" as a means of suppressing sexual desire.
Vitex is sacred, or Abraham's tree, or Monastic pepper.
"The lamb, the chaste lamb is a bush, among the Romans is known as wild pepper. A bush with strong trunks that grows on the banks of rivers and on the rocky ledges of sea bays."
He is called the Lamb (meaning the sacrificial lamb), because in his bushes there are women who protect their virginity and chastity. And also because when someone is drunk, a decoction of wild Monastic pepper helps to overcome uncontrolled sex drive. "
Fleshy, black-red fruits are used in cooking, as spices and in medicine. It has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal and sedative effects.
In the monastery gardens, along with other plants, wild pepper grew, which served the monks in two ways: they could make their food a little more savory with the help of wild pepper and at the same time this remedy relieved the stress associated with celibacy and sexual abstinence. In the Middle Ages, this plant served as a symbol of monastic temperate life.
Franz von Salez (1567-1622) mentions in the description of the use of Monastic pepper in his book 'Philothea' in chapter 13 (tips for observing chastity):
"He who turns to the grass of Agnus Castus (Monastic pepper) will be restrained and bashful."
In a work on herbs, Mathiolus writes (1626):
Vitex is sacred, or Abraham's tree, or Monastic pepper.
"The grass takes away all pleasure and passion, and this is done not only by seeds, but also by leaves and flowers. This happens not only if you eat or drink this plant, but also when it is all scattered on the bed."
The use of the sacred Vitex
Monastic pepper is a medicinal plant that is used to treat premenstrual syndrome and menopausal difficulties, and also normalizes the hormonal background with irregular periods. It is also used in the treatment of infertility. Means - a standardized extract that is used in modern medicine, is created industrially.
With an elongated follicular cycle, this remedy is not shown, because it slows down the formation of follicles. Young girls, pregnant women and nursing mothers are not recommended to take this remedy.
Fruits are harvested at full maturity (September-October), shoots with leaves - during budding or flowering (June), flowers - during flowering, bark - in spring or autumn.
Raw materials are dried in air, fruits are dried in dryers at a temperature not exceeding 40 ° C.
Aromatic fruits, spicy seeds and leaves and fruits are added to meat dishes, soups, boiled and half-smoked sausages, canned fish. It goes well with many other spicy plants.
Wood of gray-yellow color, fragrant. Flexible and resilient branches are used to make baskets and garden furniture. The name 'Vitex' itself comes from the Latin 'viere' - to knit, in connection with the use of branches for weaving.