The natural range of Fraxinus Excelsior (European Ash) is mainly found in most part of Europe, from the Mediterranean Sea in the South to Norway in the North, except central and southern parts of the Iberian Peninsula. It is considered as one of the most important species of tree all over Europe.
Fraxinus Excelsior is a very large tree, mostly it grows up till it reaches 38 meters. The ash is a lived-long tree, approximately 200 years. Still, there are other trees which are older than 500 years.
The leaves begin to blossom lately in the spring, but sometimes after the beginning of June, and fall down again earlier in the autumn. The ash does not give flowers unless it reaches 30 years. Some of these trees have female flowers when others have male flowers. However, the female flowers are somehow longer compared to the male ones. Unisexual or bisexual (on the same or separate trees), in dense clusters, appearing before the leaves.
For many years, the Vikings considered the ash as a religious tree. For them, the ash tree was a great tree that was the center of the whole Universe and spread its crown over the earth.
Medicinal benefits of Fraxinus Excelsior (European Ash)
Historically speaking, Fraxinus Excelsior has been used as a medicinal herb so as to treat specific diseases since due to its chemical components: fraxin, the bitter substance Fraxetin, tannin, quercetin, mannite, a little volatile oil, gum, malic acid, free and combined with calcium. Aesculetin, esculin and fraxin have anti-inflammatory effects.
The parts used for medicinal uses are the leaves, bark, and buds.
Traditionally, the bark and the leaves have been used as herbal remedies against some illnesses such as diarrhea.
The substance fraxin included in the bark and the leaves have diuretic elements which may increase the excretion of uric acid that helps in gout and may be effective for rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
In addition, this remedy was used for earache, and warts.
The chemicals of European Ash make the ash an effective treatment for healing potential wounds and reduce swelling as well.
The bark is used to treat fever for a long time and has astringent properties. In the treatment of fever is indicated the tincture of ash (put 50 drops in a glass of water – it is recommended 3 times a day) and decoction (put 50 grams of dry bark to 1 liter of boiling water, boil 10 minutes, strain and drink 3-4 cups a day).
Another medicinal use of bark is the ability to dissolve the stones existed in the urinary tract.
The leaves and the bark of the ash tree can act like a mild laxative thanks to the presence of mannitol which can be used as an herbal remedy for constipation and to remove intestinal parasites. Compared to other laxative herbs apparently the effect will be rather weak.
Other uses of Fraxinus Excelsior
Fraxinus Excelsior can be used to produce wood that is elastic and strong. It is practically good at withstanding sudden shocks. Thus, it has been used for a variety of sporting goods, namely tennis racquets, and hockey sticks…
The following recipes are recommended by herbalists:
As an infusion – Add two teaspoons of crushed leaves to a cup of hot water. Steeped for 3 – 5 minutes, then strained. Make sure to drink three cups a day.
As a decoction – one teaspoon (50 grams) of bark powder to a cup of water. Boil the mixture for 4 minutes and let it steep for 10 minutes. Drink three cups daily. The decoction is very effective in gout, rheumatism, diarrhea.
You need to pick up leaves early in the summer when they are apparently glazed by a thin mucous membrane. Then, dry and store them in an airtight container.
It is also preferred to pick the bark in the springtime; dry it and crush it into small pieces. The seeds must be harvested while they are green.
Fraxinus Excelsior side effects and precautions
Fraxinus Excelsior is considered safe for most people when it is taken in the recommended dosage. In certain cases, ash can cause allergic reactions in some people. However, some cases have been reported, but they are considered very rare. It is advisable that you talk to your doctor prior to using this herb for treating your health conditions. For safety, infants, pregnant women and nursing mothers as well as people suffering from kidney or liver ailments should avoid using any herbal medicine without professional advice.