Prickly ash, Xanthoxylum americanum, is a shrub native to North America, being somewhat abundant in localities where it is found, between the Mississippi River and the Western States. Long a domestic remedy, it became a favorite in the Eclectic school of medicine by reason of its use during the prevalence of the Asiatic cholera in Cincinnati, 1849, in which it was employed by them with great satisfaction. It had, however, as stated, a domestic as well as a seemingly professional record preceding that date, the same reaching back to the primitive medication of the Indians. Barton's Collection (43), Zollickoffer's (706) Materia Medica (1826), and other authorities on the domestic remedies of North America mention it conspicuously, the latter writer stating that the berries were used to relieve the toothache, a decoction of the bark in the treatment of rheumatic affections, whilst the country people employed an infusion of the berries in colic. It was therefore a popular remedy, possessed of marked carminative qualities, that, impressing such men as Barton (43), Thacher (631), King 356-357), Zollickoffer (706), and others, brought it into professional recognition. Prickly ash berries are used in large amount in some of the American proprietary remedies.
The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.