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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.

(Fraxinus ornus)

CAUTION! Contact can cause skin or systemic allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

CONTAINS: 70% is a constituent which is peculiar, crystallizable and sweet and is called Mannite or Manna Sugar, a flurorescent body named Fraxin which is believed to provide the purgative action, some true sugar and a small quantity of mucilage. In Italy Mannite is prepared for sale in the shape of small cones and has been prescribed in medicine instead of manna.

An ornamental tree of southern Europe which grows mainly on plantations in Sicily since the 15th century. A sugary sap oozes from the bark when it is tapped and then granulates as "manna". It was sold under the name Dulcinol (mix of manna and salt) as a sweetening agent for diabetes.

PROPAGATION: By seed sown in autumn.
NEEDS: Well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil in an open position.
HARVEST: "Manna" is taken from the trees which are at least 8 years old and with a trunk diameter of at least 3 inches. A series of slanting incisions is made on alternate sides of the trunk during warm dry weather in summer and the exudate is scraped off when solidified.
SOLVENT: The best quality manna dissolves in 6 parts water forming a clear liquid.


Its primary use is as a mild sweet-tasting laxative. It is dissolved in water and used as a gentle laxative for children and pregnant women. It is also added to other laxatives.
Soothes irritated tissues.
The Codex of the British Pharmacoepaeia contains Syrup of Manna prescribed as a laxative for children in the proportion of 1 part manna to 10 parts water. The Compound Syrup of Manna is stronger and contains senna and fennel (a dose being 1 to 4 fluid drachms).

Used as a sweetener in sugar-free preparations and as an anti-caking agent.

©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH