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Nutritional Supplement

Prickly Ash

  • Digestive Support

    Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity

    Prickly ash acts as a digestive stimulant and may be helpful for indigestion.
    Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity
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    Bitter herbs are thought to stimulate digestive function by increasing saliva production and promoting both stomach acid and digestive enzyme production.3 As a result, they are particularly used when there is low stomach acid but not in heartburn (where too much stomach acid could initially exacerbate the situation). These herbs literally taste bitter. Some examples of bitter herbs include greater celandine, wormwood, gentian,dandelion, blessed thistle, yarrow, devil’s claw, bitter orange, bitter melon, juniper, andrographis, prickly ash, and centaury.4. Bitters are generally taken either by mixing 1–3 ml tincture into water and sipping slowly 10–30 minutes before eating, or by making tea, which is also sipped slowly before eating.

  • Oral Health

    Toothache

    Prickly ash bark contains alkaloids and a volatile oil. Herculin, an alkamide in the plant, produces a localized numbing effect on the tongue when consumed, which may explain the historical use of prickly ash for toothaches.
    Toothache
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    Prickly ash bark contains alkaloids and a volatile oil. The fruit is rich in the volatile oil. Little research has been done specifically on the constituents or actions of American prickly ash. Preliminary Chinese trials have reportedly found that oral use of Chinese prickly ash berries can alleviate pain due to indigestion, gallbladder disease, or ulcers, as well as eliminating pinworms.5 Herculin, an alkamide in the plant, produces a localized numbing effect on the tongue when consumed.6 Whether this explains the historical use of prickly ash for toothaches remains to be confirmed in clinical trials.
  • Joint Health

    Rheumatism

    The bark was also widely used by herbalists to treat rheumatic conditions.
    Rheumatism
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    The bark was also widely used by herbalists to treat rheumatic conditions.7
What Are Star Ratings?
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Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

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Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Many eastern Native American tribes valued prickly ash as a remedy for upset stomach, sore throats, aching muscles, skin infections, to stimulate saliva flow, and various other conditions.8 Eclectic physicians (doctors who recommended herbal medicines) in the United States at the end of the 19th century continued the traditional uses of prickly ash, primarily as a digestive aid, to strengthen the nervous system, and for cholera.9 The bark was also widely used by herbalists to treat rheumatic conditions.10 Prickly ash is also considered an alterative in traditional herbalism, meaning it enhances the body’s ability to fight against and recover from all manner of difficulties.11 Chinese prickly ash (Zanthoxylum simulans) is used for similar indications as its American relative as well as for killing parasites.12

References

1. Bensky D, Gamble A, Kaptchuk T. Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica, rev ed. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993, 304-5.

2. Foster S. 101 Medicinal Herbs. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1998, 160-1.

3. Schulz V, Hänsel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine. 3rd ed, Berlin: Springer, 1998, 168-73.

4. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 425-6.

5. Bensky D, Gamble A, Kaptchuk T. Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica, rev ed. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993, 304-5.

6. Foster S. 101 Medicinal Herbs. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1998, 160-1.

7. Foster S. 101 Medicinal Herbs. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1998, 160-1.

8. Vogel VJ. American Indian Medicine. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970, 352-4.

9. Felter HW. Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1922, 1998, 697-8.

10. Foster S. 101 Medicinal Herbs. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1998, 160-1.

11. Hoffmann D. The New Holistic Herbal, 3rd ed. Shaftesbury, Dorset, UK: Element, 1990, 225.

12. Bensky D, Gamble A, Kaptchuk T. Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica, rev ed. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993, 304-5.

13. Hoffmann D. The New Holistic Herbal, 3rd ed. Shaftesbury, Dorset, UK: Element, 1990, 225.

14. Vogel VJ. American Indian Medicine. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970, 352-4.

15. Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1998, 113.

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.

Copyright © 2020 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.