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Wageningen University

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Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus)

Plant family

Verbenaceae (vervain family).

Botanical synonyms



The plant is of Mediterranean origin.

Used plant part


Sensoric quality

Aromatic, but weak aroma; slightly pungent and bitter taste.

Main constituents

The dried fruits contain only small amounts (0.5%) of essential oil, which is dominated by the monoterpene derivatives limonene, 1,8-cineol, bornyl acetate, a- and -pinene and sabinene. The bitter-adstringent taste is caused by flavonoids (castican, orientin and isovitexin) and iridoid glycosides (agnuside, aucubin).

Dried chaste tree fruits


Dried chaste tree berries have been used, in small scale, as a pepper substitute, but the taste is really rather weak. They might, though, have some merits in spice mixtures for barbecued or fried meat.

ource :

European Masters Degree in Food Studies - an Educational Journey

Master in Food Safety Law is an initiative of Wageningen University, The Netherlands