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Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus)
Verbenaceae (vervain family).
The plant is of Mediterranean origin.
Used plant part
Aromatic, but weak aroma; slightly pungent and bitter taste.
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 ß-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.
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