Standardized: southern prickly ash
Other: Hercule's club
Zanthoxylum clava-herculis L.
Plant Family: Rutaceae
About 1350, a book entitled the Ri Yong Ben Cao (Home Guide to Useful Medicines) first advised Chinese physicians of the medicinal benefits of prickly ash, also known as Szechuan pepper.
Before prickly ash was used medicinally, however, it was applied in the Imperial Court as the sole anesthetic for the operation by which the Emperor acquired his court eunuchs.
Volatile oil containing geraniol.
The bark or the fruit, dried and chopped. The powder is better for poultices than the chopped bark. The chopped bark is better for making teas and tinctures than the powdered bark.
Teas or tinctures. Prickly ash powder may be used as a poultice applied to the abdomen to treat abdominal pain (recommended over teas or tinctures for this purpose). Although rare, may also be taken as capsule.
Always seek a medical diagnosis when there is acute abdominal pain.
Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches that prickly ash should be avoided when there is fever with profuse sweating, and used with caution during pregnancy. Prickly ash can stop lactation, and should be avoided by mothers wishing to continue nursing.
Products made from the American prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) can cause sunlight sensitivity. This effect is likely to be a problem only if the user (1) takes prescription ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure or (2) eats large amounts of celery or celeriac or takes St. John?s wort. Sunburn can be avoided by avoidance of midday sun or by use of sun block.
For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.