Part Used: Dried bark
Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) is a native North American shrub or tree, growing form 3-8m tall and inhabiting damp soils from Canada to Virginia and Nebraska. The bark contains alkaloids including chelerythrine, magnoflorine, nitidine and lauroflorine, zanthyletin, zanthoxyletin, resin, tannin, acrid and volatile oil. Many eastern Native American tribes valued Prickly Ash bark as a remedy for upset stomach, sore throats, aching muscles, skin infections, to stimulate saliva flow, and various other conditions. It may be used where there is poor circulation, for example, chilblains, leg cramps, varicose veins and varicose ulcers. It is indicated in intermittent claudication and Raynaud's syndrome. It also stimulates the salivary glands and mucous membranes, reduces colic and flatulence, and is strengthening to a debilitated digestion. It is used in the treatment of chronic skin diseases and is locally counter-irritant. A liniment may be used to treat rheumatism and fibrositis. The bark was chewed in the past to relieve toothache.
Prickly Ash enhances secretions and general metabolism. It stimulates flow of saliva and digestive juices, increases appetite and enhances digestion; carminative. It also enhances immune system function. Prickly Ash is a warming, stimulating herb that is beneficial for the circulation. It was highly regarded by the native North American Indians who used it especially to alleviate rheumatism and toothache. All parts of the plant, but especially the bark and roots, contain the aromatic bitter oil xanthoxylin. This has a number of applications in medicine, especially in the treatment of arthritic and rheumatic conditions, digestive problems and leg ulcer.
Purple Sage Botanicals. http://www.purplesage.org.uk/profiles/pricklyash.htm
Plants for a Future. http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Zanthoxylum+americanum&CAN=COMIND