Semen Vitex trifolia L Origin:
Chastetree fruit is the ripe fruit of the deciduous undershrub Vitex trifolia L. var. simplicifolia Cham (single-leaf Chastetree), or Vitex trifolia Linn. (tri-leaf Chastetree/Chastetree), of the family Verbenaceae. Most of the plants are grown wild. Single-leaf chastetree is mainly produced in Shandong, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Fujian, etc., while tri-leaf chastetree is produced mostly in Guangdong and Guangxi provinces.
Picked and reaped in autumn, dried in the shade and used when raw or after being fried.
Also called Chaste Tree Berry, Chasteberry. Properties:
Pungent and bitter in flavor, slightly cold in nature, it is related to the urinary bladder, liver and stomach channels. Functions:
Dispels pathogenic wind-heat and refreshes the head and eyes. Applications:
1. Used for common colds due to pathogenic wind-heat, headache and head wind syndrome:
Being so pungent as to dispel wind, slightly cold with the ability to clear heat and so light as to rise up, this herb disperses pathogens from the head and face and expels wind to relieve pains, so it is used together with chrysanthemum
, etc., for the treatment of affection by exopathogenic wind-heat, headache and dizziness; often used together with white puncture vine fruit (Fructus Tribuli), chuanxiong
(Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong
), hooked uncaria stem (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis), etc., for headache and head wind syndrome.
2. Used for conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva, or the eyelids) and blurring of vision:
This herb can dispel wind, clear heat and refresh the head and eyes, so it is often used in combination with chrysanthemum
, cicada slough
, rough gentian root
ae), etc., for the treatment of conjunctivitis and blurring of vision due to upward attacks of pathogenic wind-heat. Being rising and dispelling in property, this herb refreshes the head and eyes, and can also be used together with milk vetch root
(Radix Astragali seu Hedysari), dangshen
(Radix Codonopsis Pilosulae), herbaceous peony root (Radix Paeoniao Alba), etc., e.g., Yiqi Congming Tang, for the treatment of nebula, tinnitus and deafness due to lucid yang
failing to rise. In addition, this herb can also be used largely in combination with notopterygium
root or rhizome (Radix seu Rhizoma Notopterygii), angelica root (Radix Angelicae Pubescentis), chuanxiong
(Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong
(Radix Ledebouriellae), etc., e.g., Qianghuo Shengshi Tang, for rheumatism and arthralgia by making use of its effects of dispelling wind and killing pains. Dosage and Administration:
Decoct the ingredients for drinking. Cautions on Use: Reference Materials: Shen Nong's Herbal Classic
: "It is indicated for wind-heat syndromes between bones and muscles and it improves eyesight and reinforces the teeth." Other Medical Records of Famous Physicians
: "It treats severe and migratory arthralgia, Tinnitus cranii and hyperdacryosis." Toxic or Side Effects: Modern Researches:
Chastetree fruit contains an essential oil (volatile oil) with such main ingredients as camphene, micro-alkaloids, vitamin A and casticin.
Chastetree fruit has certain tranquilizing, analgesic and antipyretic effects. The distilled extract of chastetree leaves can promote the microcirculation of the periphery and internal organs.
For self protection, the outer skin (bark) of many plants contains essential oil, which in turn has elements that serve as an immediate chemical defense against herbivores and pathogens. How? There is an element called hydroxynitrile glucoside in essential oil. This element will release toxic hydrogen cyanide by endogenous plant glucosidase upon tissue disruption (see Anne Vinther Morant, Kirsten Jorgensen, Charlotte Jorgensen, Suzanne Michelle Paquette, Raquel Sanchez-Perez, Birger Lindberg Moller, and Soren Bak, "beta-Glucosidases as Detonators of Plant Chemical Defense," Phytochemistry
Vol. 69, Issue 9 (June 2008), pp. 1,795-1,813).
Glucosidase is a catalyzing enzyme that improves healthy functions of our body. It is a lipase that decomposes fat; it can also check inflammation and improve memory (see Mikako Sakurai, Masayuki Sekiguchi, Ko Zushida, Kazuyuki Yamada, Satoshi Nagamine, Tomohiro Kabuta and Keiji Wada, "Reduction in memory in passive avoidance learning, exploratory behaviour and synaptic plasticity in mice with a spontaneous deletion in the ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 gene," European Journal of Neuroscience
Vol. 27, Issue 3 (February 2008), pp. 691-701).