prickly ash(redirected from toothache tree)
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prickly ash, name for two deciduous shrubs or small trees (Zanthoxylum americanum and Z. clava-herculis) of the family Rutaceae (rue family). They are native to E North America and have prickly twigs and foliage similar to that of the unrelated ash tree. A pungent aromatic principle in the bark has been used as a home remedy for various ailments including rheumatism and toothaches (hence the local name toothache tree). Z. clava-herculis, of more southerly distribution, is also known as Hercules'-club. Both Hercules'-club and prickly ash are names sometimes used for an unrelated plant of the family Araliaceae (ginseng family). Other Zanthoxylum species are the sources of Sichuan and Sansho peppercorns (Z. simulans and Z. piperitum, respectively) and of satinwood (Z. flavum). Prickly ash of the genus Zanthoxylum is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Sapindales, family Rutaceae. The family Araliaceae belongs to the order Apiales.
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These are trees in the Rue family, with sharp thorns sticking out of branches and even the trunk. Northern (30ft,10m) and Southern (45ft, 15m) Prickly Ash are examples. Anti-fungal bark is used as a stimulant, to prevent constriction of blood vessels by insulin. Provides magnoflorine for proper blood flow and xanthoxyclin for circulation. Also used for mouth, throat, stomach, pancreas, digestive system, kidneys, gas, cramping, bloating, pain. Berries used as mouthwash for toothache or powdered as toothpaste. Historically used for dysentery, colic, eruptive diseases, and as a nervous system stimulant for paralysis etc. Berries have stronger effect, but bark is more bitter, which is better for digestion, bile, stomach, liver and gallbladder. Constituents and compounds are strong, so take it easy.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz