Manna of commerce is supplied by the manna ash, Fraxinus ornus, of the Southern Tyrol, Italy, Switzerland, Asia Minor, and the mountainous islands of the Mediterranean and countries adjacent. In Central Europe it grows as an ornamental tree, the foliage being in great variation in shape of leaflets, and the fruit diverse in form. According to Flückiger and Hanbury (240), previous to the fifteenth century the manna of Europe was imported from the East, and was not derived from the manna ash. In early days manna was a natural exudation, much scarcer than at present, and much more expensive, the increase in the production being now artificially increased and also marked by a decrease in quality. During the sixteenth century the plan referred to above was devised of incising the trunk and branches to produce a more copious supply of the gum, thus largely increasing the amount of the market supply, although the method was strenuously opposed by legislative enactments. The name Gibelmanna, manna-mountain, by which an eminence of the Madonia range of mountains in Sicily is known, indicates that this mountain furnished manna during the days of the Saracens in Sicily. Manna has been used as a domestic remedy from all time as a gentle laxative, and, as mentioned in our article on Spigelia, is supposed, in domestic medicine in this country, to modify the griping qualities of a mixture of senna and jalap. Its domestic use in America came through European home medication.
Professor Flückiger (see Preface) arranged with this writer to give unitedly the record of the American drugs and plants. One substance considered was "American Manna," the article being printed in the Am. Journ. Pharm., 1897, pp. 1 to 10.
The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.