The Prickly Ash is a shrub or small tree native to the Eastern and Central part of the United States and Canada. Known scientifically as Zanthoxylum Americanum, the berries, leaves and bark of this plant have been used medicinally for more than a century. A similar tree species, the southern prickly ash is Zanthoxylum clava-herculis.
In particular, its bark is the main source of its healing properties.The bark is used to make a tea, brew, or herbal tincture and may come in dried broken pieces or powder. They are commercially available, many times as dried extract powder, and are deemed by the FDA as generally safe.
Prickly Ash is also referred to as the Yellow tree. In different areas throughout the world, it is also called Toothache Bark, Pepper Wood, Clavalier, Common Pricklyash, Toothache Bark, Prickly elder and Angelica tree. While not native to Japan, many practitioners of alternative holistic herbal health in that country turn to this bark for it’s many and varied health benefits. Let’s discuss those further now and then later we’ll look at any potential side effects.
Health Benefits of Prickly Ash Bark
The bark is widely used in the field of medicine. Its essential medicinal uses and benefits are listed below.
- Supports blood circulation in the body
- Removes blood impurities
- Improves low blood pressure
- Energizes the body
- Cures leg cramps
- Soothes cold feeling of the body.
- Treats varicose veins.
- Relieves leg cramps
- Soothes arthritis and rheumatism
- Is helpful for muscle and joint pains
- Is used to ease stomach aches and cramps
- Treats ulcers
- Is helpful in digestion
- Prevents respiratory disorders
- Is beneficial for asthma
- Improves nervous system
- Cleanses and heals wounds
- Kills parasites and microbes
- Cleanses the body
- Eases joint pain
- Removes body toxins
- Acts as carminative
- Prevents muscle spasms
- Relieves chronic pain
- Is used for sore throats
- Treat mouth sores
- Helps in treating itchy skin
- Treats skin infections
- Treats skin chaps and cracks
- Improves nutrition
- Eases the pain caused by gonorrhoea and treats it
- Can be helpful in treating flatulence and diarrhea
- Is antifungal
- Soothes toothaches
- Benefits the teeth and gums by acting as an astringent
- Serves as an effective insect repellent and natural insecticide
The prickly ash bark’s main benefits revolve around its capability of improving blood circulation. Through this, it also improves the conditions which are related to poor blood flow.
It is beneficial for conditions like abdominal chills, leg cramping, varicose veins, and lymphatic circulation. It can even help in treating Raynaud’s syndrome. The pains and discomfort to muscles, bones and joints can also be relieved by Prickly Ash bark. As it improves the blood flow, it is also helpful in treating arthritis and rheumatism.
Prickly Ash bark is also proven to have helpful medicinal uses surrounding the chemical compound herculin on the mucus membranes, thus preventing and treating some respiratory disorders. It soothes the mucus linings and will help in better absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat.
Fatigue, anxiety, and weakness can likewise be treated with Prickly Ash bark. It boosts the functions of nervous system through easing the nerves throughout the body. It can also be useful as an energizer.
This herb is also proven to be beneficial in the digestive system. It can also help in treating gas formation on the intestine, and can protect the stomach. It is also believed to help in the removal of waste in the body. Moreover, it also eliminates worms and parasites.
Lastly, this bark has medicinal uses in making creams and ointments to treat various skin conditions. It can act as a soothing agent for some inflammations, cracks, and skin eruptions.
Prickly Ash bark has been used medicinally for more than 100 years and while medicinal properties have yet to be fully studied, anyone could start benefiting from this all-natural remedy.
Side Effects of Prickly Ash Bark
While this section deals specifically with the bark, please note that very little is known medically about the potential side effects of the berry.
Prickly Ash Bark raises blood pressure so should be avoided by anyone suffering from already high blood pressure and since it stimulates stomach acid, those already suffering from intestinal and digestive issues strictly related to overproduction of stomach acid should beware as it will further irritate stomach problems.
Further since not enough evidence exists, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid its use.