Prickly AshZanthoxylum clava-herculis, Zanthoxylum americanum
• Dry Mouth,
The prickly ash tree has a long history of use in Native American medicine. The bark was used to treat intestinal cramps, dry mouth, muscle and joint pain, toothache, nervous disorders, arthritis, and leg ulcers. The berries were used for circulatory problems such as
What is Prickly Ash Used for Today?
There are no documented medical uses of prickly ash bark.
Prickly ash is often taken in the form of tea, made by boiling 5–10 grams of the bark in a cup of water for 10–15 minutes. For toothache, the pieces of the bark may be chewed. Tinctures are also available.
Prickly ash has not undergone any modern scientific safety evaluation. It contains potentially toxic alkaloids; whether or not these lead to any harmful effects remains unknown. 3,4 Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
2. Gibbons S, Leimkugel J, Oluwatuyi M, et al. Activity of Zanthoxylum clava-herculis extracts against multi-drug resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (mdr-MRSA). Phytother Res . 2003;17:274–5.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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