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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

Herbs
ASH TREE

(Fraxinus Americana / Fraxinus Excelsior)


"For Informational Use Only"
For more detailed information contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.





  • Ash Description
  • Ash Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Ash Dosage Information
  • Ash Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Ash Supplements & Products




  • white ash tree


    ASH TREE DESCRIPTION

    ASH TREE COMPARISONS

    The Ash tree is also known as Fraxinus americana, Fraxinus excelsior, American Ash, Biltmore Ash, American Biltmore, Cane Ash, Common Ash, European Ash, Weeping Asha and White Ash.

    Sometimes called American Ash or White Ash, this tree is widely known for the variety of goods that are made from its high quality, tough, and durable wood. It not only provides the wood for baseball bats, it is also the most common shade tree in over half of the United States. The timber is tough and pliant and is used in making everything from church pews to bowling alleys. The American White Ash derives its common name from the glaucous undersides of its leaves. It is very similar in appearance to Green Ash (Fraxinus pensylvanica), often making identification quite difficult. The key to differentiating these two species is to closely examine the leaf scars. White Ash leaf scars are deeply notched and take the shape of a horseshoe, while Green Ash leaf scars, which are flat against the bud, are shield-shaped. Additionally, the bottom surface of the White Ash leaf is white or gray in color, while that of the Green Ash is more greenish. Site can also be used as a good indicator.

    white ash and green ash leaf comparison


    HABITAT & RANGE

    The White Ash is most commonly found on moist, rich, well-drained soils in association with other hardwoods. It is also found in bottomlands near streams and often on low slopes. This tree has a vast range, occurring from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Canada south to northern Florida and west to eastern Texas.

    WILDLIFE USE

    The seeds of the White Ash are an important food source for a variety of birds including red-winged blackbird, evening grosbeak, pine grosbeak, and purple finch. Additionally, beavers often use young white ash for food.

    HUMAN USE

    This Ash tree is most famous for being the best wood for baseball bats and other sports equipment such as tennis racquets, hockey sticks, polo mallets, and playground structures. The reasons for white ash being the most popular wood for these items is that it is tough and does not break under large amounts of strain. This wood can be bent into different shapes without losing its strength and is quite light. There are numerous other uses for white ash wood including church pews, bowling alley flooring, garden and porch furniture, and cabinets. White ash is also planted as an ornamental because it is attractive, hardy and relatively free of diseases.

    white ash bark


    WHITE ASH IDENTIFYING CHARACTERISTICS
    Size & Form
    White ash is a large tree that reaches 70 to 80 feet in height, 2 to 3 feet in diameter. This tree has been known to reach 125 feet in rare instances. In the forest it has a clear, straight bole, supporting a narrow, pyramidal crown. Open-grown trees produce branches within a few feet of the ground and form a broad, round-topped, symmetrical crown.
    Leaves
    Leaves are odd-pinnately compound, opposite, and deciduous. They are 8 to 13 inches long, with 5 to 9 stalked leaflets per leaf. The leaflets are oval to elliptical-shaped, 2 to 4 inches long, 1 to 3 inches wide. Leaflet apices are acute and leaflet bases are rounded or wedge-shaped. Leaflet margins are toothed or entire. Leaf surfaces are dark green and glabrous above, paler below and more or less pubescent. The rachis is stout and grooved.
    Flowers
    The light green to purplish flowers are dioecious and lack petals. Male flowers occur in tight clusters and female flowers grow in loose panicles.
    Twigs
    The twigs are stout and green to greenish-brown. The pith is white and homogeneous.
    Fruit
    The fruit is a light-brown samara, about 1 inch long. They are often produced in clumps of 10 to 100 samaras.
    Bark
    This light gray-brown bark is characterized by having deep, narrow ridges that form a diamond-shaped pattern.


    american white ash leaves


    MEDICINAL QUALITIES

    Ash has also been used medicinally for hundreds of years. Early settlers learned from Native American Indians the many medicinal qualities of Ash. They used the sap externally for treating cancerous growths. The leaves were used as an antiseptic for cleansing women after childbirth. A tea made from the bark was used externally for itchy scalp and sores, and internally for expelling worms from the body. Ash seeds were thought to have aphrodisiac, diuretic, and digestive stimulant properties. The bark is tonic and astringent. The leaves have laxative, astringent, and diuretic properties and contains vitamin C, sugar, coumarin, iron, copper, potassium, and bioflavonoids.





    white ash seed


    ASH USES, HEALTH BENEFITS & SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE

    MEDICINAL USES

    The British native species of Ash, Fraxinus excelsior has had numerous uses in folk medicine and folklore.

    Ash tea made from the bark is used to help stop minor bleeding, and acts as an emetic. It is also used for itchy scalp. Teas made from the leaves are used to reduce fevers and water retention. The seeds are used to reduce fever and stimulate the appetite. Ash tincture is used to enhance sexual desire in men, but must be used in moderation as the libido enhancing effect is very strong. Ash leaves have been used as a substitute for senna.

    In the Scottish Highlands, Ash sap was traditionally given to a newborn baby as its first nourishment - a practice that it has been suggested, could originate in Persia, where the sweet sap of the so-called Manna Ash (Fraxinus ornus) was dried and eaten for its food value and its action as a gentle laxative. Ash sap has been used to treat earache in Ireland, and also in England right up to the present day. This remedy can be traced back to Saxon Britain. In the Scottish Highlands, burned Ash bark was used as a treatment for toothache. Other folk medicinal uses for the native British Ash include a poultice of the leaves to treat snake bites. Both Pliny and Gerard claimed that there was such a strong antipathy between the Ash and the snake that a snake would pass through fire to avoid the tree. A Somerset proverb recorded in 1912 reflects this belief. In West Somerset, there was a custom of hanging a wreath of flowers on an Ash tree near a farm to protect the animals and people against snake bites. Smoke from burning Ash was used to treat ringworm.

    Folk uses of the Ash involve some clear examples of the transference of disease. One custom, made famous by Gilbert White in the eighteenth century, was to make a so-called Shrew-Ash, by imprisoning a live shrew in a hole bored in an Ash tree. This tree then maintained its medicinal virtue for its lifetime. Such trees were used as cures for a variety of ailments, including whooping cough and paralysis. Warts were "transferred" to Ash trees in a variety of ways. In one method, a pin was stuck in each wart and afterward in the Ash tree, where it was left. Hernia in children was thought to be curable by splitting open a growing ash sapling and passing the child through the opening. The tree was then bound up, and as it healed, so would the child. This custom has been recorded in use in Sussex as recently as the 1920s.

    In North American folk medicine, as in British and Irish, Ash sap was used to treat earache. Another use for the Ash was as an aid to weight reduction; for this purpose, the dried leaves were used as a tea. A preparation of Ash bark tea was used in the treatment of snake bite, again reflecting the claim of an antipathy between snakes and Ash. There is an echo of the British folk remedy for hernia in a report from Burlington County, New Jersey, of children being treated for ruptures by being passed through a split in a tree, but the type of tree is not specified. A child could be passed through a split Holly, Oak, or Ash, for the cure of hernia. Other uses of Ash in North American folk medicine include wound treatment. Fraxinus americana was also used as an emmenagogue. In Native American medicine there were numerous uses for various species of Ash. Ash sap was widely used to treat earache, and the method of obtaining the sap is identical to that described for Scotland. White ash (Fraxinus americana) was used to provoke menstruation and as an abortifacient by the Abnaki. Both roots and flowers of this species have been used in snake bite treatment. Black Ash (Fraxinus nigra) has been used as a tonic and an antirheumatic.



    TREE MEDICINE, MAGIC & LORE: ASH

    By Ellen Evert Hopman

    In ancient Europe Ash trees were used to make spear shafts, household crafts, and bows. The proto Indo-European word for Ash gave us the words for spear, lance and javelin in several European languages.

    Ash was an important fodder tree for Neolithic farmers. The tender tips and leaves of the European Ash were used as a tea for gout, jaundice, and rheumatism. In winter the branch bark or the bark of the root was employed. Spring gathered leaves were dried for later use as a gentle laxative (the American White Ash is used similarly).

    In Greek tradition it was said that Zeus created humans from Ash trees. Yggdrasil was the Cosmic Ash upon which Odin hung for nine days until He discovered the runes. It was also the horse of Odin, who like the mare of Muhammad, bore him to the skies for a glimpse of heaven. On-Niona was the Gaulish Goddess of the Ash groves. The Irish word for Ash, Nion, was also the word for heaven, Nionon. The Icelandic word Aske meant "blaze of great fire", Ash being one of the best fire woods (especially when burned green!) as well as leading to the fires of enlightenment. Considered a Solar tree, its wood is used for the Yule Log. Druids carved charms from its wood. Ashen divining rods were cut on Summer Solstice. A Druidic Ash wand decorated with spirals was found on Anglesey.

    Eating red Ash buds at Midsummer brings protection from sorcery. Witch's brooms, used for flying, are traditionally made of an Ash pole with Birch twigs and Willow bindings. Ash "draws the flash" and so is used in rain magic.

    In Scotland it was believed that carrying the keys, or seeds, brought protection from evil sorcery. Ash sticks were preferred for herding cattle for they were sure not to injure an animal. Snakes were said to avoid Ash trees and their fallen leaves, an adder could be killed by a single blow from an Ashen stick. A circlet of Ash twigs was worn around the neck to heal snake bite. Ash sticks were carried in snake infested woods and according to Pliny, drawing a circle with an Ash wand around a snake would cause it to die.

    Ash trees were used in weather forecasting. If the Oak leafed first dry weather would follow. If the Ash leafed first wet weather was forecast. In Lincolnshire, England, it was said that the female Ash, the Sheder, could be used to overpower a male Witch and the male Ash, the Heder, could be used to overpower a female Witch.

    In Leicestershire a child with warts was carried to an Ash tree in April or May. A pin would be stuck into the tree then into the child's wart until pain was felt and then into the tree again and left in the bark. The rhyme "Ashen tree, ashen tree. Pray buy this wart of me" was recited. In the Highlands of Scotland at the birth of a child a branch of Ash was placed in the fire. The sap which was forced out at the ends was collected in a spoon and fed to the infant.

    Children with hernias, weakness, or rickets were passed through a cleft in an Ash sapling, before sunrise, while fasting. The slit in the tree was then bound and as the tree healed, so did the child. If the tree was later cut down the child would be re-injured and so woodcutter's often found these trees full of nails. In Herefordshire a lock of a child's hair was pinned to an Ash to cure a bad cough.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ellen Evert Hopman is a Druid Priestess, herbalist and author of "Priestess of the Forest: A Druid Journey", "A Druids Herbal - Of Sacred Tree Medicine", "Walking the World in Wonder - A Children's Herbal" and other volumes. Visit her website for more information.





    ASH DOSAGE INFORMATION

    SUPPLEMENTS

    Ash comes in various forms and is an ingredient in many products.

    Due to its strong actions, it is important to read and follow product label directions. If you are unsure how much to use for the treatment of your condition, please seek the advice of your health care practitioner or a qualified herbalist.





    ASH SAFETY, CAUTIONS & INTERACTIONS

    Due to Ash's emetic property it does cause vomiting, and therefore, caution should be used when taking it internally. Also due to Ash's strong actions, if you are on other medications, it is best to consult with your health care practitioner before using this herb for the treatment of your condition. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease is not known.




    ASH TREE SUPPLEMENTS & RELATED PRODUCTS

  • Ash Tree Herbal Products


  • QUALITY PRODUCTS & SUPPLEMENTS



    ASH TREE HERBAL PRODUCTS

    KALYX PRODUCTS

    Kalyx: Ash Tree Bark Powder (Fraxinus excelsior), Kalyx, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): RF
    Kalyx: Ash Tree Bark Powder Extract 4:1 (Fraxinus excelsior), Kalyx, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): RF
    Kalyx: King Bio Homeopathic Gout Symptom Reliever, Glandular Support, 2 fl. oz: HF
    For fast relief of pain in the great toe, heel, foot, joints - including swelling, burning, itching, tingling, tearing pains, throbbing, cramps, shooting pains. Ingredients include Ammonium phosphoricum, belladonna, colchicum autumnale, formicum acidum, fraxinus excelsior, ledum palustre, natrum carbonicum, nux vomica, urtica urens. each ingredient is in equal volumes of 10x, 30x, and lm1 potencies in a pure water base.


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