270. Xanthoxylum. Prickly-ash bark.

Fig. 143. Xanthoxylum - Cross-section of bark. The bark of Xanthox'ylum america'num Miller, and of Fagara clava-her'culis Linné, known in commerce respectively as Northern Prickly-ash and Southern Prickly-ash.

BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS.—The northern prickly-ash, X. americanum, bears its leaves and flowers in sessile, axillary, umbellate clusters; leaflets 2 to 4 pairs, and an odd one, obovate-oblong, downy when young. The southern prickly-ash, F. clava-herculis, bears its flowers in an ample terminal cyme, appearing after the leaves; leaflets 3 to 8 pairs, and an odd one, ovate or ovate-lanceolate, oblique, shining above.

HABITAT.—United States.

DESCRIPTION OF DRUG.—Northern prickly-ash (X. americanum), as found in commerce, is in curved or quilled pieces about 1 mm. (1/25 in.) thick; the outer surface is of a brownish-gray color, longitudinally furrowed and showing a few yellowish-gray patches of foliaceous lichens, also numerous black dots and a few straight spines. Inner surface is light brown or yellowish; fracture uneven, short; inodorous; taste bitter, pungent, and acrid. Southern prickly-ash (F. clava-herculis) is somewhat thicker and has conical corky projections, with a few spines rising from corky bases. Inner surface free from acicular crystals.

Powder.—Characteristic elements: See Part iv, Chap. 1, B.

CONSTITUENTS.—An acrid green oil, a colorless crystalline resin, sugar, ash 11 to 12 per cent., tannin (small quantity), and a bitter principle which is turned brown by H2SO4

ACTION AND USES.—Alterative, sialagogue, stimulant, and tonic, its action being similar to that of guaiac and mezereum. The bark chewed is a popular remedy for toothache, giving rise to the synonym, toothachetree. The fluidextract is frequently combined with such alteratives as stillingia, lappa, etc. The berries are used in compound syrup of stillingia (see National Formulary). Dose: 15 to 45 gr. (1 to 3 Gm.).


Fluidextractum Xanthoxyli, Dose: 30 to 60 drops (2 to 4 mils)

271. XANTHOXYLI FRUCTUS, N.F.—PRICKLY-ASH FRUIT. Consists of brownish-red capsules about 4 to 5 mm. (⅕ to __ in.) in diameter, sessile on the thin receptacle (X. clava-herculis), or borne on short stalks (X. americanum); the two valves open when ripe and expose the one or two shining, more or less wrinkled, black seeds; odor aromatic; taste very pungent and somewhat bitter. Stimulant, tonic, and alterative; used in fluidextract of stillingia, N.F. Dose: 15 to 30 gr. (1 to 2 Gm.).

A Manual of Organic Materia Medica and Pharmacognosy, 1917, was written by Lucius E. Sayre, B.S. Ph. M.