Vitex negundo L.
Family : Verbenaceae
Common Name : കരിനൊച്ചി (Mal)
: निर्गुंडी (Hin)
: Chaste tree (Eng)
IUCN Status : Least concern (LC) -
Chaste tree can be described as a cross between a shrub and a tree with a single woody stem (trunk). It can grow up to five meters tall. Chaste tree's distinctive feature are the pointed leaves with 3-5 leaflets. Small, lilac or violet flowers on new growth from June to September. Flowers are the smallest of the commonly grown Vitex species. The leaves are used as a mosquito repellent . leaves are burnt in a heap which proves very useful to get rid of Mosquitoes.
Shrubs or small trees; purple or pale white pubescent all over, aromatic. Leaves opposite, 3-5-foliolate; leaflets 6-13 x 2-5 cm, narrowly oblong or elliptic to lanceolate, base acute, apex acuminate. Panicles terminal, 10-25 cm long. Calyx 5-toothed obconic, c. 3 mm long, teeth triangular. Corolla pale purple to violet, ca. 7 mm across, hypocrateriform; tube 3-5 mm long, puberulent without, upper lip 2-lobed, lower 3-lobed with the middle lobe larger, obovate, undulate-margined, other lobes shorter, subequal, obtuse. Stamens 4, filaments purple. Ovary c. 1 mm long; style purple; stigma 2-fid. Drupe 3-5 mm across, globose, purple or black.
Use: It is an effective herbal medicine with proven therapeutic value. Chaste tree has been clinically tested to be effective in the treatment of colds, flu, asthma and pharyngitis. Studies have shown that it can prevent the body's production of leukotrienes which are released during an asthma attack. Chaste tree contains Chrysoplenol D, a substance with anti-histamine properties and muscle relaxant. The leaves, flowers, seeds and root of Chaste tree can all be used as herbal medicine. A decoction is made by boiling the parts of the plant and taken orally. Today, Chaste tree is available in capsule form and syrup for cough.
Distribution : Indo-Malesia and China, cultivated throughout the tropics
Flowering & Fruiting : February-July