Vitex, or Prutniak (lat. Vítex) – a genus of deciduous or evergreen trees and shrubs of the family Iasnotkovye (previously referred to the Verbena family). Some species are used in medicine.
Chinese rod or Vitex Chinese – Vítex negúndo L. (negundo – English-Indian. Name of rod). Deciduous tree or shrub up to 10 m high.
Shoots are 4-faced, sulphurous. The leaves are opposite, palmate-complex, from 3-5 lanceolate, from the bottom of sulphurous leaves with serrated margin.
The flowers are small, lilac, collected in panicles. Calyx is bell-shaped, five-toothed; corolla five-lobed, almost two-lipped; stamens 4, two of which are longer, protruding from the corolla; the ovary is upper, four-celled.
The fruit is a small spherical coenocarp drupus with 4 seeds, surrounded by the remaining calyx.
Prutniak grows along the banks of rivers, streams, in moist and open places in China, India, and the Philippines. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant.
Various parts of the plant contain essential oil (cineole, pinene), flavonoids, iridoid glycosides.
The leaves and roots of Chinese Prutnyak are used in Asian and Western European medicine as anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, expectorant, diuretic, and anthelmintic.
Common thistle (sacred thistle, Abraham tree) – Vítex ágnus-cástus L. (Latin agnus castus – innocent lamb). Deciduous tree or shrub with a strong pungent aroma. It differs from the previous species by palm-complex leaves of 5-7 whole-leaf leaves.
Distributed in the Mediterranean, Western Asia, Crimea and the Caucasus. It grows in humid places, along the shores of the seas, rivers, streams. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant, including in the south of Russia.
The fruits of the common Prutnyak contain up to 0.63% of essential oil, in which α- and β-pinenes (39.7%), cineole (25.2%), limonene (14.8%), sabinen; flavonoids (flavonol derivatives – casticin, quercetagetin, kempferol); coumarins, alkaloids (viticin), resinous substances, up to 1.3% organic acids (formic, acetic, propionic, valerian).
In Western European and Asian medicine, the fruits of Prunus vulgaris are traditionally used for menstrual disorders associated with deficiency of the corpus luteum, with insufficient lactation, as a diuretic and irritant, and are also a spice – a substitute for allspice. The plant is used in homeopathy.