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L'agnocasto è un ottimo alleato per le donne, utilizzato le alleviare la sindrome pre-mestruale, utile durante la menopausa. Adatto anche in caso di lievi palpitazioni, insonnia, spasmi intestinali.
Tra le curiosità scopriremo che in antichità si pensava che fosse un potente anafrodisiaco, da qui il nome: albero casto.FONTE:
Da Wikipedia, l'enciclopedia libera.
L'Agnocasto (Vitex agnus-castus) è un arbusto della famiglia delle Verbenacee, diffuso nelle regioni umide mediterranee.
Le informazioni qui riportate hanno solo un fine illustrativo: non costituiscono e non provengono da prescrizione né da consiglio medico. Wikipedia non dà consigli medici: leggi le avvertenze.
È molto utilizzato in erboristeria per le sue qualità terapeutiche. Usato per contrastare i dusturbi pre-mestruali e della menopausa. Diminuisce la secrezione di prolattina rilasciando le tensioni mammarie e inoltre contrasta i lievi sbalzi d'umore tipici del periodo.[senza fonte]
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vitex-agnus-castus-foliage.JPG
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vitex_agnus-castus_003.JPG?uselang=itFONTE:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vitex agnus-castus, also called Vitex, Chaste Tree, Chasteberry, Abraham's Balm or Monk's Pepper, is a native of the Mediterranean region. It is one of the few temperate-zone species of Vitex, which is on the whole a genus of tropical and sub-tropical flowering plants. Theophrastus mentioned the shrub several times, as agnos (άγνος) in Enquiry into Plants. Vitex, its name in Pliny the Elder, is derived from the Latin vieo, meaning to weave or to tie up, a reference to the use of Vitex agnus-castus in basketry. Its macaronic specific name repeats "chaste" in both Greek and Latin.
Confusion with Vitex on the part of early settlers in the West Indies gave to Ricinus communis the name "Castor-oil plant".
Vitex agnus-castus is widely cultivated in warm temperate and subtropical regions for its delicate-textured aromatic foliage and lavender flowers in late summer. It grows to a height of 1–5 meters. It requires full sun or partial shade along with well-drained soil. Under ideal conditions it is hardy to USDA Zone 7, on the south shore of Long Island and Nantucket on the East Coast of North America and in the southwest of England.
Vitex, also a traditional plant in Africa, is a little-known fruit plant that has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.
The leaves and tender stem growth of the upper 10 cm (4 inches), along with the flowers and ripening seeds, are harvested for medicinal purposes. The berries are harvested by gently rubbing the berries loose from the stem. The leaves, flowers, and/or berries may be consumed as a decoction, traditional tincture, cider vinegar tincture, syrup, elixir, or simply eaten straight off the plant as a medicinal food. A popular way of taking Vitex is on awakening as a simple 1:1 fluid extract, which is said to interact with hormonal circadian rhythms most effectively.
The berries are considered a tonic herb for both the male and female reproductive systems. The leaves are believed to have the same effect but to a lesser degree.
In ancient times it was believed to be an anaphrodisiac, hence the name chaste tree. Pliny, in his Historia Naturalis, reports the use of stems and leaves of this plant by women as bedding "to cool the heat of lust" during the time of the Thesmophoria, when Athenian women left their husband's beds to remain ritually chaste. At the end of the thirteenth century John Trevisa reports of it "the herbe agnus-castus is always grene, and the flowre therof is namly callyd Agnus Castus, for wyth smel and vse it maketh men chaste as a lombe". Chaucer, in "The Flower and the Leaf," refers to it as an attribute of the chaste Diana, and in the 16th century the English herbalist William Turner reports the same anaphrodisiac properties of the seed, both fried and not fried. More recently, this plant has been called monk's pepper in the thought that it was used as anti-libido medicine by monks to aid their attempts to remain chaste. There are disputed accounts regarding its actual action on libido, with some claims that it is anaphrodisiac and others that it is aphrodisiac. Because of the complex mechanism of action it can be probably both, depending on concentration of the extract and physiologic variables (see below).
Clinical studies have demonstrated effectivness of standardised and controlled medications produced from extract of the plant in the management of premenstrual stress syndrome (PMS), and cyclical breast pain (mastalgia). The medication is recommended in Germany.
Mechanism of action
The mechanism of action is not exactly understood but it is assumed that it has dopaminergic effects resulting in changes of prolactin secretion. At low doses, such as might have been used in previous centuries for suppression of sexual desire, it inhibits activation of dopamine 2 receptor by competitive binding, causing a slight increase in release of prolactin. In higher concentrations, as in modern extracts, the binding activity is sufficient to reduce the release of prolactin. A study has found that treatment of 20 healthy men with higher doses of Vitex agnus-castus was associated with a slight reduction of prolactin levels, whereas lower doses caused a slight increase as compared to doses of placebo. A decrease of prolactin will influence levels of Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen in women; and testosterone in men.
Flavonoids, alkaloids, diterpenoids, Vitexin, Casticin and steroidal hormone precursors have been isolated from the chemical analysis of Vitex agnus-castus. It is believed that some of these compounds work on the pituitary gland which would explain its effects on hormonal levels. A study has shown that extracts of the fruit of VAC can bind to opiate receptors; this could explain why intake of VAC reduces PMS discomforts.
Vitex agnus-castus is used to alleviate symptoms of various gynecological problems. All evidence is limited to standardised controlled extracts such as used in Germany, different extracts or herbal mixes may have significantly different properties and safety issues.
Good evidence and safety exists for this uses:
Luteal phase defect
No specific clinical studies but use partially supported by clinical evidence on symptoms and mechanism of action:
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), improvement of symptoms
Uterine fibroids, control of bleeding symptoms
Menopause, mechanism of action completely unclear.
Prostate disorders Rarely used, but given its mode of action theoretically intersting,
It is recommended that Vitex agnus-castus be avoided during pregnancy due to the possibility of complications.
Historical uses, uses outside the scope of medicine.
Galactagogue, historical usage in very low concentrations and not advisable today. However one recent study did find "Oral administration of 70 mg/kg/day of Vitex agnus - castus extract in lactation stages, significantly increased serum prolactin, compared with the control group of rats."
Potential use as an insect repellent
Used in supplements for male bodybuilders as a secondary component because of its effects on testosterone levels.
^ New English Dictionary, s.v. "Chaste-tree".
^ David J. Mabberley. 2008. Mabberley's Plant-Book third edition (2008). Cambridge University Press: UK.
^ Pliny reports that some Greeks called it lygos, others agnos.
^ Umberto Quattrocchi. 2000. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names volume I, page 91. CRC Press: Boca Raton; New York; Washington,DC;, USA. London, UK. ISBN 978-0-8493-2673-8 (set). (see External links below).
^ Coats (1964) 1992.
^ National Research Council (2008-01-25). "Chocolate Berries". Lost Crops of Africa: Volume III: Fruits. Lost Crops of Africa. 3. National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0-309-10596-5. Retrieved 2008-07-17.
^ a b Hartung, T., 2000. Growing 101 Herbs That Heal. Storey Books. ISBN 1-58017-215-6
^ a b Chevallier, A., 2000. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0-7894-6783-6
^ Trevisa, quoted in The New English Dictionary; the misconnection of agnus, for agnos with agnus "lamb" is misleading: "it has nothing to do with the Latin agnus, a lamb," Alice M. Coats notes (Coats, Garden Shrubs and Their Histories  1992, s.v. "Vitex").
^ a b Wuttke, W; Jarry H, Christoffel V, Spengler B, Seidlová-Wuttke D. (May 2003). "Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus)--pharmacology and clinical indications". Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 10 (4): 348–57. PMID 12809367.
^ a b Schellenberg, R. (20 January 2001). "Treatment for the premenstrual syndrome with agnus castus fruit extract: prospective, randomised, placebo controlled study". British Medical Journal 322 (7279): 134–7. doi:10.1136/bmj.322.7279.134. PMC 26589. PMID 11159568.
^ a b Berger, D; Schaffner W, Schrader E, Meier B, Brattström A (November 2000). "Efficacy of Vitex agnus castus L. extract Ze 440 in patients with pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)". Arch Gynecol Obstet. 264 (3): 150–3. doi:10.1007/s004040000123. PMID 11129515.
^ a b Carmichael, A.; Carmichael, (2008). "Can Vitex Agnus Castus be Used for the Treatment of Mastalgia? What is the Current Evidence?". Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM 5 (3): 247–250. doi:10.1093/ecam/nem074. PMC 2529385. PMID 18830450. edit
^ a b c Daniele, C.; Thompson Coon J, Pittler MH, Ernst E. (2005). "Vitex agnus castus: a systematic review of adverse events". Drug Safety 28 (4): 319–32. doi:10.2165/00002018-200528040-00004. PMID 15783241.
^ Axel Valet; Kay Goerke; Joachim Steller (2003). Klinikleitfaden Gynäkologie Geburtshilfe. Untersuchung. Diagnostik. Therapie. Notfall.. Urban & Fischer. ISBN 3-437-22211-2.
^ "Opioidergic mechanisms underlying the actions of Vitex agnus-castus L.", Biochemical Pharmacology. 2011 Jan 1;81(1):170-7 Authors: Webster DE, He Y, Chen SN, Pauli GF, Farnsworth NR, Wang ZJ
^ a b c Merz, PG; Gorkow C, Schrödter A, Rietbrock S, Sieder C, Loew D, Dericks-Tan JS, Taubert HD (1996). "The effects of a special Agnus castus extract (BP1095E1) on prolactin secretion in healthy male subjects". Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 04 (6): 447–53. doi:10.1055/s-0029-1211483. PMID 9021345.
^ Webster, D.E.; J. Lu, S.-N. Chen, N.R. Farnsworth and Z. Jim Wang (2006). "Activation of the μ-opiate receptor by Vitex agnus-castus methanol extracts: Implication for its use in PMS". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 106 (2): 216–221. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.12.025. PMID 16439081.
^ Kilicdag, E.; Tarim, E.; Bagis, T.; Erkanli, S.; Aslan, E.; Ozsahin, K.; Kuscu, E. (2004). "Fructus agni casti and bromocriptine for treatment of hyperprolactinemia and mastalgia". International journal of gynaecology and obstetrics: the official organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 85 (3): 292–293. doi:10.1016/j.ijgo.2004.01.001. PMID 15145274. edit
^ A Vitex agnus-castus extract inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis in prostate epithelial cell lines Weisskopf M., Schaffner W., Jundt G., Sulser T., Wyler S., Tullberg-Reinert H. Planta Medica 2005 71:10 (910-916)
^ Treatment of hot flushes in breast and prostate cancer Adelson K.B., Loprinzi C.L., Hershman D.L. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy 2005 6:7 (1095-1106)
^ New indication for Vitex agnus-castus extract? Ambrosius F. Zeitschrift fur Phytotherapie 2006 27:2 (95)
^ Phytotherapy of benign prostatic hyperplasia Goetz P. Phytotherapie 2009 7:5 (275-278)
^ "Chaste Tree". Drugs.com. Retrieved 2007-11-11.
^ Roemheld-Hamm, B. (1 September 2005). "Chasteberry". Am Fam Physician 72 (5): 821–4. PMID 16156340.
^ Effect of Vitex agnus - Castus L. leaf and fruit flavonoidal extracts on serum prolactin concentration Azadbakht M., Baheddini A., Shorideh S.M., Naserzadeh A. Journal of Medicinal Plants 2005 4:16 (56-61)
^ Mehlhorn, H.; Schmahl,-G; Schmidt,-J (2005). "Extract of the seeds of the plant Vitex agnus castus proven to be highly efficacious as a repellent against ticks, fleas, mosquitoes and biting flies". Parasitol-Res. 95 (5): 363–5. doi:10.1007/s00436-004-1297-z. PMID 15682335.
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vitex_agnus-castus_001.JPG?uselang=it