Mountain Rose Herbs

Prickly Ash Bark

Also known as

Zanthoxylum spp (clava-herculis and americanum), Szechuan pepper, chuan jiao, Northern Prickly Ash, Ache Tree, Tooth Ache Tree, and Yellow Wood.

Introduction

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.

Constituents

Volatile oil containing geraniol.

Parts Used

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.

Typical Preparations

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.

Precautions

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.

These pages are best viewed while sipping tea