Benefits Of Common Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) For Health

Benefits Of Common Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) For Health

Common Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior)

Common Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) is known as other name: Ash, American Ash, Biltmore Ash, Cane Ash, Common Ash, Bird’s Tongue, European Ash, Weeping Ash, White Ash...

Ash (botanical name Fraxinus excelsior) is a tall growing thin tree that often reaches the height of anything between 33 ft and 99 ft (10 meters and 30 meters). The branches of this tree do not have any hair or bristle and has a grayish-green hue. Ash produces bisexual flowers that are devoid of petals, but the reddish stamens of the flowers emerge prior to the opening of the leaves. The fruit (key fruit) of ash encloses a solitary seed.

It is easy to identify this variety of ash trees from other types of ashes growing in the campus, as they have comparatively elongated strings of samaras that are themselves long measuring approximately 1.5 inches each. A minute notch is present on the external terminal of the solitary wing. Ash bears about seven to 11 leaflets that are oval shaped and approximately four inches in length. These leaflets have a jagged margin and a shiny green on top, while underneath they are pale green having a few somewhat furriness along the midribs. When any leaf of the tree is pulled during summer, the leaflets coil firmly. The leaf buds of the ensuing season that are well-formed by the time it is summer have a blackish hue.

Benefits Of Common Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) For Health
Common Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) Tree Picture

Often known as the American ash, the majestic white ash may well be called the all-American tree. As a timber tree, the Ash is exceedingly valuable, not only on account of the quickness of its growth, but for the toughness and elasticity of its wood, in which quality it surpasses every European tree. The wood is heavy strong, stiff and hard and takes a high polish; it shrinks only moderately in seasoning and bends well when seasoned. It is the toughest and most elastic of our timbers (for which purpose it was used in olden days for spears and bows and is still used for otter-spears) and can be used for more purposes than the wood of other trees.

Ash is the second most important wood used in aeroplanes. The great bulk of the wood used in aeroplanes is Spruce from the Pacific Coast.

Ash bark is astringent and has been employed for tanning nets.

Both bark and the leaves have medicinal use and fetch prices which should repay the labour of collecting them, especially the bark.

The bark is collected from the trunk and the root, the latter being preferred.

Ash bark occurs in commerce in quills which are grey or greenish-grey externally, with numerous small grey or brownishwhite warts, the inner surface yellowish or yellowish brown and nearly smooth; fracture smooth, fibrous in the inner layer, odourslight; taste bitter and astringent.

Benefits Of Common Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) For Health

It is interesting to note that almost all parts of the ash tree possess therapeutic uses. This was first demonstrated to the early European settlers by the American Indians. In effect, the Connecticut Indians employed the sap of the tree for treating external cancerous developments, while in Maine, the Penobscot tribe held a decoction (actually an extract) prepared from the ash leaves in high esteem owing to its use as an antiseptic for internal cleansing of women following childbirth. 

Other North American tribes also prepared a specific tea from the bark of ash and drank it to cure sores and a prickly scalp. Another tea prepared from the ash leaves was used in the form of a vermifuge or a medication that helped to force out worms from the body. In effect, the seeds of the ash tree also possess a number of therapeutic properties and were employed by many American tribes in the form of a diuretic, an aphrodisiac, a tonic to enhance appetite and also cure fevers. During the 19th century, physicians in the United States prescribed medicinal preparations from white ash in the form of a styptic with a view to end small bleeding, in the form of an emetic to encourage vomiting and also for various different purposes.

Ash bark has been employed as a bitter tonic and astringent, and is said to be valuable as an antiperiodic. On account of its astringency, it has been used, in decoction, extensively in the treatment of intermittent fever and ague, as a substitute for Peruvian bark. The decoction is odourless, though its taste is fairly bitter. It has been considered useful to remove obstructions of the liver and spleen, and in rheumatism of an arthritic nature.

The ash leaves have diuretic, diaphoretic and purgative properties, and are employed in modern herbal medicine for their laxative action, especially in the treatment of gout and rheumatic complaints, proving a useful substitute for Senna, having a less griping effect.

Teas prepared from ash leaves are still used to cure fevers as well as alleviate water retention by the body. The seeds of ash are also used to bring down fever as well as augment the appetite. A tincture prepared from the ash leaves is employed to augment sexual desire or libido in men. However, this tincture should be used in restraint and only once in a day since it has extremely potent effects.

Benefits Of Common Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) For Health
Common Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) Leaves Picture

The distilled water of the ash leaves, taken every morning, was considered good for dropsy and obesity. A decoction of the ash leaves in white wine had the reputation of dissolving stone and curing jaundice.

The fruits of the different species of Ash are regarded as somewhat more active than the bark and leaves. Ash Keys were held in high reputation by the ancient physicians, being employed as a remedy for flatulence. They were also in more recent times preserved with salt and vinegar and sent to table as a pickle.

It may be noted that the white ash tree is among the most widely used trees for routine purposes and to meet the high demands for this variety of ash, it is cultivated roughly in all places where it can be grown. The timber of white ash is white in color and reasonably solid, tough and straight-grained. This timber is preferred for making baseball bats and handles of different tools, like axe and hammers. In addition, the wood of white ash is also preferred for making furniture as well as flooring.

Common Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) Side effects and cautions

People using therapeutic products prepared from ash ought to be aware of the side effects caused by the herb and take necessary precautions. For instance, owing to the emetic attribute of ash, it causes vomiting and, hence, people ought to exercise caution while taking this herb internally. Ash has very potent actions and, therefore, if you are taking any other medicines, it is advisable that you talk to your doctor prior to using this herb for treating your health conditions. The safety of using ash in infants, pregnant women and nursing mothers as well as people suffering from kidney or liver ailments is yet to be ascertained. Hence, it is advisable that such people should avoid using this herb for treating their problems.