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Common Name : Chaste Tree

Hindi Name : निर्गुंडी | Scientific Name : Vitex negundo
Family : Lamiaceae
Uses : All parts including leaves, flowers, twigs, roots, and seeds, have been commonly used for various applications in folk medicine. Both leaves and seeds have also been claimed to possess edible purposes, being occasionally used as a condiment and tea, and even as a famine food when all else fails. The essential oils from its leaves and seeds have fantastic insecticide and antibacterial effects against food infestation and bacteria contamination, making oil an ideal food protectant to facilitate food preservation. This species is widely used in Chinese herbal medicine; it is the second most important treatment for chronic bronchitis. The leaves are astringent, febrifuge, sedative, tonic and vermifuge. They are useful in dispersing swellings of the joints from acute rheumatism, and of the testes from suppressed gonorrhoea. The juice of the leaves is used for removing foetid discharges and worms from ulcers, whilst oil prepared with the leaf juice is applied to sinuses and scrofulous sores. The fruit is also used in the treatment of angina, colds, coughs, rheumatic difficulties etc. The fresh berries are pounded to a pulp and used in the form of a tincture for the relief of paralysis, pains in the limbs, weakness etc. The root is expectorant, febrifuge and tonic. It is used in the treatment of colds and rheumatic ailments.
Native: S. Somalia to Mozambique, W. Indian Ocean, Iran to Japan and Marianas
General Description:

Shrubs or small trees; purple pubescent all over, aromatic, bark pale. Leaves 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 deep purple to violet in colour, c. 7 mm across, hypocrateriform; tube 3-5 mm long, puberulent without, upper lipd 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.