Munson Health
 
Prickly Ash

Back to Document

 

Uses

 

Principal Proposed Uses

  • None
 

Other Proposed Uses

The prickly ash tree has a long history of use in Native American medicine. The bark was used to treat intestinal cramps, dry mouth, muscle and joint pain, toothache, nervous disorders, arthritis, and leg ulcers. The berries were used for circulatory problems such as intermittent claudication and Raynaud’s syndrome .
 

What is Prickly Ash Used for Today?

There are no documented medical uses of prickly ash bark.
In test-tube studies , substances called furanocoumarins in prickly ash have shown anti-fungal properties. 1 Another prickly ash constituent, chelerythrine, has shown activity against antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria. 2 However, it is a long way from studies like these to actual evidence of efficacy. Only double-blind , placebo-controlled studies can actually show that a treatment works, and none have been performed on prickly ash. (For information on why such studies are essential, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies?)
 

References

1
Bafi-Yeboa NF, Arnason JT, Baker J, et al. Antifungal constituents of northern prickly ash, Zanthoxylumamericanum mill . Phytomedicine . 2005;12:370–7.

2
Gibbons S, Leimkugel J, Oluwatuyi M, et al. Activity of Zanthoxylum clava-herculis extracts against multi-drug resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (mdr-MRSA). Phytother Res . 2003;17:274–5.

3
Bowen JM, Cole RJ, Bedell D, et al. Neuromuscular effects of toxins isolated from southern prickly ash ( Zanthoxylum clava-herculis ) bark. Am J Vet Res . 1996;57:1239–44.

4
Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-CareProfessionals . London: The Pharmaceutical Press; 1996:219.

 

Revision Information