Ailanthus. Ailanthus glandulosa.

Botanical name: 

Synonym—Chinese Sumach, Tree of Heaven.


The powder is of greenish yellow color, strongly narcotic odor, nauseating, strongly bitter taste. The dose is from five to thirty grains.
Specific Medicine ailanthus, is prescribed twenty drops in four ounces of water; a teaspoonful every hour or two hours.
The extract is given in doses of from one to five grains.
The fluid extract in from five to twenty minims.

Physiological Action—In overdoses ailanthus causes vertigo, severe headache, pains in the back and limbs, together with great prostration, tingling and numbness; it reduces the pulse-beat and the respiration and causes great weakness, cold sweats and shivering. If it be given too frequently, or in too large doses, it causes death by paralyzing the respiratory center, its influence resembling that of tobacco. It is said that both quassia and gentian intensify its action, and that it should not be administered with either iron or lead compounds.

The presence of ailanthus in a malarial locality, like eucalyptus, will correct the malarial influence of that locality.

Specific Symptomatology—Its indications are similar to those of rhus tox. It is a valuable agent, but its therapeutic influence is not fully determined. It is yet in the experimental stage to a certain extent.

It is indicated in cases in which all the evidences of sepsis are quite pronounced or prominent, such as a dusky eruption, dirty, dry, cracked tongue malignant sore throat and tonsils, with sordes on the teeth, and excoriating discharges from the nose and mouth, bad respiration, and adynamic persistence of disagreeable symptoms telling of blood-poison; in atonic conditions of the nerves, or of the mucous membranes of the body, or great general weakness and prostration. It should be classed as an antiseptic, and in the same class with baptisia, echinacea, etc.

Therapy—It is of much service in scarlet fever, especially the malignant form, in typhoid, and other types of low fever and in low forms of acute inflammation. With special reference to the action of ailanthus as a tonic to the nervous system, it is efficient as a remedy in some cases of asthma as well as in epilepsy, and in many cases of epileptiform contraction of the muscles, etc. Frequently ailanthus will relieve nervous palpitations and severe cases of singultus, that for a long time have withstood other remedies.

With the Chinese, a decoction of ailanthus is a most favored remedy in tapeworm, dysentery and diarrhoea. Because of its special tonic effect on mucous membranes it is an excellent remedy in some cases of leucorrhea, etc. For the same reason it has been praised as a remedy in many dyspeptic troubles.

The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.