Five-leaved Chaste Tree or Lagundi – Vitex Negundo L.
Five-leaved Chaste Tree or Vitex Negundo is a medicinal shrub commonly found in tropical, subtropical and also warm temperate regions throughout the world, especially in the Philippines. The use of five-leaved chaste tree for medicinal purposes has been known for a long time in China, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines and other Asian countries. Today, pharmaceutical companies in Japan are importing wild vitex negundo from Philippines. The root is reported to be tonic, febrifuge, and expectorant. The root is also used in a great variety of diseases: dyspepsia, colic, rheumatism, worms, boils, and leprosy. The flowers are used in diarrhea, cholera, fever, and diseases of the liver, and are also recommended as a cardiac tonic. The seeds make a cooling medicine for skin diseases and leprosy, and for inflammation of the mouth. The leaves are used as a tea for conditions like coughs and asthma.
Common names of Vitex negundo in various languages
Arabic: habul fiqa, nigand, sarsa
Chinese: Huang Ping
English: chaste tree, cut-leaf chaste tree, five-leaved chaste tree, horseshoe vitex, Indian privet
Hindi: indrani, nilpushpi, nirgundi
Malayalam: lagundi, lemuning, lenggundi, vennocchi
Moldavian: legundi laut laki-laki
Sanskrit: nirgandhi, sephali
Thai: khonthi khemao, kunning
Urdu: atlaq, banna, danna, panjkasht, sanbhalo
Vietnamese: ngux traro
The Philippine Department of Health has certified Lagundi (five-leaved chaste tree) as a medicinal plant for treatment of cases like colds, flu, pharyngitis, and asthma.
These products are approved by the Bureau of Food and Drugs.
The Department of Science and Technology has performed numerous studies on Lagundi (five-leaved chaste tree). Phytochemical studies have revealed that chaste tree contains chrysoplenol D, a smooth muscle relaxant with anti-histamine properties. It also contains isoorientin, casticin, luteolin-7-0-glucoside, among other things, which exhibit an anti-histamine effect. Chaste tree also shows leukotriene release inhibition, an important mechanism in controlling asthma.
Also, recent study indicates that the chaste tree extract is one of promising cancer prevention substance. We are applying Lagundi tea to cancer patients and the result is remarkable. Reduced cancer cells are reported on some patients.
In USA, from California, especially in Texas, to the most part of Florida, you can find chaste trees around. It is a beautiful tree and one of tourist attraction during autumn season in Japan. Most vitex negundo trees are located within National Parks of Japan. Japanese pharmaceutical companies import tons of it from Philippines, because of its wild and non-cultivated quality.