Prickly Ash Bark
The Many Benefits Of Prickly Ash Bark
The Prickly Ash Bark plant we are most familiar with is native to North America, and is found mostly in the western states. There is also a Prickly Ash Bark species in China which is a close relative to the North American species.
Medicinal Properties - The bark and berries of the Prickly Ash Bark plant have medicinal value, and the bark has long been known as an effective remedy for toothaches. In fact, the plant is known to many as the Toothache tree. There are other uses as well, and while some may suffer side effects, the medicinal value of the bark outweighs the potential problems. Long before the white man came, Native Americans used the Prickly Ash Bark not only for toothaches but for sore throats and upset stomachs as well. As the country became settled, the plant found use as a tonic for general disorders, effective in the treatment of some, and not much better than snake oil in the treatment of others. When marketing tonics during the latter part of the 19th century, some of the claims made were outlandish, and claims regarding the benefits of Prickly Ash Bark were no exception. Prickly Ash Bark is a stimulant, and as such can benefit the nervous system, or at the very least, seem to. The plant survived this particular kind of nonsense however, and remains highly regarded as an effective treatment for a number of ailments.
Herbalists will prescribe prickly ash bar as a means for improving circulation as well as for treating rheumatism. It is often recommended as a cleanser of waste products in our digestive and urinary tract systems, and as a means of preventing or lessening the effects associated with cramping, particularly leg cramping.
Side Effects - Probably the most common side effect of Prickly Ash Bark is nausea, and some who take it suffer irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. The danger in this case is if there are already gastrointestinal disorders of one kind or another, the irritation can cause them to worsen. Some people are allergic to Prickly Ash Bark, and others are subject to bouts of hypotension, or low blood pressure.
Ingestion of Prickly Ash Bark can result in it being easier to suffer bruises or bleeding, especially if the plant is taken together with aspirin, or warfarin. The plant may also increase the skin's photo sensitivity. Taking any herb or herbal supplement can at times interfere with prescribed medications, so if one is taking such medications it is always best to check to find out if a particular herb will interfere with that medication. Prickly Ash Bark should be avoided in those instances where medication is being taken to replenish iron in one's blood supply, as the herb will tend to interfere with the process.
The Tree Itself – In spite of its reputation as a medicinal plant, the Prickly Ash Bark is a very attractive tree, and although not a common landscaping or specimen tree, can nevertheless be quite beautiful to behold when growing along a riverbank, near an opening in dense forests, or among other trees in woodland areas. It grows in both sun and shade, and often reaches a height of 25 feet. The Prickly Ash Bark is a deciduous tree, bearing yellowish-green flowers, which are followed by red, edible berries, with both flowers and berries appearing in the early spring. When crushed, the berries have a citrus-like fragrance, which many compare to that of an orange. As far as near relatives are concerned, the closest relative to the Prickly Ash Bark appears to be the kumquat.