Sources and Chemical Composition

V. agnus-castus (L.), Agnolyt®, arbre chaste, chaste berry, chasteberry, chaste tree, chaste tree fruit, chastetree, chastetree berry, Cloister Pepper, Fructus Agni Casti, Fruit de Gattilier, Gattilier, Hemp Tree, Keuschlamm, Mönchspfeffer, Monk's Pepper, V. agnus castus, V. agnus castus fructus, Vitex.

The major constituents of V. agnus-castus include the following. Flavonoids: flavonol (kaempferol, quercetagetin) derivatives, the major constituent being casticin. Additional flavonoids found include penduletin, orientin, chrysophanol D, and apigenin. Water-soluble flavones: vitexin and isovitexin. Alkaloids: viticin. Diterpenes: rotundifuran (labdane-type); vitexilactone; 6-ß ,7- ß-diacetoxy-13-hydroxy-labda-8,14-diene; 8,13-dihydroxy-14-labden; X-hydroxy-y-keto-15,16-epoxy-13(16),14-labdadien;X-acetonxy- 13-hydroxy-labda-y,14-dien; cleroda-x,14-dien-13-ol; cleroda-x,y,14-trien-13-ol. Iridoid glycosides: In the leaf: 0.3% aucubin, 0.6% agnuside (the p-hydroxybenzoyl derivative of aucubin), and 0.07% unidentified glycosides. In the flowering stem (6'-O-foliamenthoylmussaenosidic acid [agnucastoside A], 6'O (6,7-dihydrofoliamenthoyl)mussaenosidic acid [agnucastoside B], and 7-O-trans-p-coumaroyl-6'-O-trans-caffeoyl-8-epiloganic acid [agnucastoside C], aucubin, agnuside, mussaenosidic acid, 6'-O-^-hydroxybenzoylmussaenosidic acid, and phenylbutanone glucoside [myzodendrone]. Essential oil of leaves and flowers: monoterpenes (major chemicals found: limonene, cineole, sabinene, and a-terpineol, linalool, citronellol, camphene, myrcene) and sesquiterpenes (major chemicals found: ß-caryophyllene, ß-gurjunene, cuparene, and globulol). Depending on the maturity of the fruits used and the distillation processes, the components of the essential oil can vary greatly. Other constituents: fatty acids (including stearic, oleic, linoleic, and palmitic acids), amino acids (glycine, ala-

nine, valine, leucine), castine (a bitter principle), vitamin C and carotene, and trace amounts of hormones from leaves and flowers (progesterone and 17 a-hydroxyprogesterone). Main components of the volatile oil 0.5%: mixtures of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, cineol, and pinene (4,8-11,17-23).

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