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Prickly Ash Bark

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 15, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Prickly Ash Bark


Prickly Ash Bark belongs to the Rutaceae plant family. It is a plant that is native to North America, specifically to the Eastern and Central parts of the US. Prickly Ash Bark also grows throughout certain areas of Nebraska, Virginia and Canada. This aromatic tree with pointed stalks can grow to a maximum height of twenty feet. The Prickly Ash tree has a peculiar bark with sharp projections that resemble horns. The leaves have a hairy-like surface covering and develop resins spots on the facing side once it has matured. When tasted, the leaf is bitter, but it has an aroma that is pleasing to smell. Prickly Ash Bark yields tiny flowers in yellow-green that form clusters as they grow during the months of April until June, just before the leaves start to appear. Eventually, small edible berries in red followed the series.

History and Origin

In earlier times, the Native American tribes used Prickly Ash Bark for the treatment of toothache, gonorrhea, rheumatism, sore throat, and itchy skin. When the Native Americans started sharing knowledge of herbal medicine with settlers, the Prickly Ash Bark became a popular remedy for many forms of body pains and ailments. This remarkable plant was included in the book entitled “American Medical Botany” and the author noted a great reliance to Prickly Ash Bark as a remedy for rheumatic conditions.

The U.S. Pharmacopoeia listed Prickly Ash Bank as an official treatment of physical conditions such as chronic rheumatism, diarrhea, and flatulence beginning the year 1820. In the 19th century, although Prickly Ash Bark was already a traditional remedy for rheumatism and toothache, it was further introduced to mainstream medicine as a treatment for cholera and typhus epidemics.

Ancient Uses

The prickly ash bark was used in treating many concerns related to various types of pains. Even before the settlers from Europe came to live in the United States, prickly ash bark was effective in providing relief from toothache pain. It earns the name “toothache tree” because of its contribution in improving toothache condition.

Modern Uses

Today, Prickly Ash Bark is not only accepted as a treatment for rheumatism, but is also recommended to improve circulation. Its fruits and bark are useful in herbal medicine. Prickly Ash Bark can steadily modify the course of a condition or ailment. It canalso help to enhance the nutrition process and bring back the normal bodily functions. Further, it acts in cleaning and stimulating the efficient removal of waste from the system. Prickly Ash Bark can be responsible in improving circulation within a person’s body. It provides help for the regulation in changes of body temperature that include abdominal chills and the necessary circulation involving hands and feet. This herb can produce capillary movement in order to provide comfort for cramping leg, varicose veins, and proper lymphatic circulation.

Side Effects

Pregnant women are discouraged to use Prickly Ash Bark. People with a sensitive stomach should also refrain from using this herb because of its effect on circulation. In the process, it can cause the user some sort of stomach upset. It is recommended to seek a proper medical diagnosis in the event of acute abdominal pain.

Read also: Cascara Sagrada Bark

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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