Ailanthus. Ailanthus glandulosa Desf. Tree of Heaven. Chinese Sumach. Tree of the gods. Ailanto, Götterbaum, G.—This well-known shade-tree, belonging to the Fam. Simarubaceae in its general aspect and the character of its foliage, appears like a gigantic sumach, and was at one time considered to be a Rhus. In France it is cultivated for the sake of its leaves, upon which the Chinese silkworm is fed, and is known by the name of Japan varnish (vernis de Japan), from its having been mistaken for the true Japan varnish tree, which is a species of Sumach. (P. J., vii, 370.) The powdered bark is of a greenish-yellow color, possesses a strong, narcotic, nauseating odor, in the fresh condition, and has a strongly bitter taste. When chewed, it is said to produce a general uneasiness, a sense of increasing weakness, vertigo, cold sweats, with shivering and a sensation of nausea. It has been found to contain lignin, chlorophyll, a yellow coloring principle, a gelatinous substance (pectin), quassiin, an odorous resin, traces of a volatile oil, a nitrogenous fatty matter, and several salts. F. H. Davis detected traces of a crystallizable organic acid, but no alkaloid or glucoside. (A. J. P., 1885, 600.) By the action of alcohol, there is obtained from the bark an oleoresin which has the consistence of tar, a very dark greenish-brown color, and in a high degree the odor and taste of the bark. Hetet found the bark to produce in dogs copious stools and the discharge of worms. The resin purged, but rarely acted as an anthelmintic. The powdered bark has been used successfully against the tapeworm. In China the bark is very popular as a remedy in dysentery and other bowel complaints. (A. J. P., 1874, 276; P. J., vii, 372.) Dose, from seven to thirty grains (0.45-2.0 Gm.). The oleoresin produces the same effect in a somewhat smaller dose, and keeps better than the bark, which loses its powers with age. (J. P. C., March, 1859, 163.)
In India the bark of the Ailanthus excelsa Roxb. is used as a bitter tonic. It occurs in rough, dirty-green pieces. Narayan Daji found in it a bitter uncrystallizable principle and a bitter nitrogenous acid, ailanthic acid, to which he attributes medicinal virtues. (P. J., Aug., 1870, Oct., 1876, June, 1877.) This acid is not used medicinally in this country.
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.