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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

aka False Prickly Ash, Hercules Club, Prickly elder, Thorny Ash, Toothache Bush
(Aralia spinosa)

A small tree (8-12 feet) with prickly leaves, blackish berries and umbels of white flowers in August. The bark is thin and ash colored and is the official part used although other parts have medicinal uses as well. The fresh bark causes vomiting and purging but the dried bark is a stimulating alterative.

CONTAINS: Araliin (glucoside)

ARALIA VILLOSA (No Image Available): Same uses as A. spinosa.
ARALIA CHINENSIS image: Used in Chinese medicine as a warming, pain-killing herb for rheumatoid arthritis.

Stimulating alterative; powerful sialogogue (increases salivation and useful where mouth and throat get dry).
Has been used for sore throat, to relieve breathing difficulty, and to produce moisture when given in very small dosages of the powder (bark, berries and roots all used).
Berries have been used in an infusion in wine to relieve violent colic and for pain of rheumatism.
Tincture has been used for rheumatism, skin diseases and (formerly) for syphilis.
Has been used in cases of cholera when a violent cathartic is desired. The bark is infused in 1/2 pint boiling water and, when cold, taken in tablespoonful doses every 1/2 hour. Or else the following compounded recipe was used: 1 drachm compound powdered Jalap, 1 drachm Aralia spinosa, 2 drachms compound rhubarb powder.
The berries in tincture form have been used to ease pain in decayed teeth and in other parts of the body. Also used for violent colic and rheumatism.
Native Americans used a decoction of the bark and root as a purifier of blood and as a fever remedy.
Early African Americans used it for snakebite: the bark of the fresh root was taken in decoction and the powdered root was applied to the bite externally.
A decoction has been used for the same purposes as Sarsaparilla.
A. spinosa was included in the US Pharmacopeia 1820-82 as official for use as a stimulant and diuretic.

©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH