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Prickly Ash

Parts Used & Where Grown

The bark and sometimes the berries of these two American trees are used as medicine. There are many other trees in this genus that grow on other continents, including Chinese prickly ash (Zanthoxylum bungeanum), which grows in Asia.

How It Works

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.1 Herculin, an alkamide in the plant, produces a localized numbing effect on the tongue when consumed.2 Whether this explains the historical use of prickly ash for toothaches remains to be confirmed in clinical trials.

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.