Botanical Name: Zanthoxylum americanum | Family: Rutaceae
Common name(s): Prickly Ash, Toothache Tree, Yellow Wood, Suterberry
- Shrub; perennial | Zone 3-7 | 8-15 feet tall | Small greenish flowers before leaves in April/May | Fruit grows in clusters at end of branches and is green to red to blue-black in color | Bark has scattered prickles
- Grows in wood, thickets, and on river banks
Berries are harvested in late summer. Bark is harvested in the spring. The bark is a stronger stimulant, and most of what I found refers to using the bark. The berries contain the essential oils, however.
PREPARATION / DOSAGE
Infusion: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1-2 teaspoon of finely chopped or powdered bark and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Drink 3x/day.
Tincture: 2-4ml 3x/day
External: can be applied as a poultice or compress to help promote healing. The powder can be applied directly to a toothache for pain relief or to treat receding gums.
Constituents: Alkaloids, Essential oil (in the berries), fagarine, coumarins, resin, tannin
Actions: Alterative, antidiarrheal, antipyretic, antirheumatic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine, rubefacient, sialagogue, stimulant.
Uses: Sluggish circulation, pyorrhea and toothache, arthritis and rheumatism, leg cramps, varicose veins
Cautions: Avoid during pregnancy and while nursing
Spicy, warm and infusing
- Herbal Remedies, Andrew Chevallier
- The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra
- Holistic Herbal, David Hoffmann
- Indian Herbalogy of North America, Alma R. Hutchens
- Photo credit: “zanthoxylum americanum” by Manuel is licensed under CC BY 2.0
I’ll be hunting my property for prickly ash this year!
In my studies, one reference says that Prickly Ash is similar to cayenne, only it works slower.