Sunday, July 27, 2008

Vitex is Blooming!

Late each summer the stately Vitex (agnus castus) in my gardens comes into bloom. The flowers are an exquisite blue-purple, and cover the top with a soft haze. At dusk each day, the flowers emit a sweet scent, that travels a great distance. I know rationally that the flowers are luring the pollinators in the garden, but I always feel like I'm being called outside from the kitchen. I keep a bench positioned underneath the Vitex, so I can meditate there. Often, I send women who are struggling with irregular menstrual cycles to sit on that bench and commune with the Vitex. Once the flowers are finished blooming, a small seed will begin to set where each tiny flower was. Once the seeds are fully formed & dry, we harvest the seed heads. The seeds are used in teas and tinctures to help normalize hormone fluctuations. Centuries ago, the seeds were called Monk's Pepper, and it was believed that they could suppress sexual urges in men. Hence it's common name, Chaste Tree.

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