MANNA ASH TREE
WHITE OR AMERICAN ASH TREE
CHINESE OR KOREAN ASH TREE
There are more than 50 species of ash mainly in temperate or cold regions.
The European ash or common ash , Fraxinus excelsior, is very common in Europe, it is a fast growing tree that can reach a large size (25-30m), it is found in France in many biotopes.
It is not very sensitive to climatic conditions but appreciates rather humid soils and develops very well in French regions with severe winter conditions.
The manna ash or flower ash, Fraxinus ornus, is particularly well adapted to the dry and warm regions of Europe (Mediterranean rim) but can accomodate cooler and humid climatic conditions.
It is a tree of smaller size than the common ash, it reaches ten meters.
The white ash, Fraxinus americana, is present in eastern North America (including Canada), particularly in wetlands, and can reach 30m high.
Among Asian ash trees, Korean ash or Chinese ash (for Chinese populations), Fraxinus chinensis var rhynchophylla or Fraxinus rhynchophylla is the most widely used in Asia for its medicinal properties.
It is present in China, Korea and Japan and adapts to the same type of weather conditions as the European ash, it is also a large tree.
All these trees are deciduous, their foliage often blossoms late and falls early (most (except the manna ash) are adapted to cold climate).
Some species have male feet and others females.
The medicinal parts of ash trees are, buds, leaves, fruits (seeds), bark and sap.
COMMON ASH OR EUROPEAN ASH
This common tree in hedgerows and some mixed forests has been used for a very long time in Europe for medicinal purposes.
It is a tree associated with northern legends, a LONGEVITY tree, a PROTECTIVE TRE
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND PROPERTIES
FRAXINUS EXCELSIOR ASH TREE LEAVES AND BUDS
LEAVES AND BUDS contain many phenolic compounds or terpenic structure, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY, antibacterial and DIURETIC:
- FLAVONOIDS, especially glycosides of rutin (rutinoside) and quercitrine (quercitrinoside),
- coumarin compounds: FRAXOSIDE AND ESCULOSIDE,
- other pharmacologically active compounds such as iridoids,
- a little MANNITOL and POTASSIUM SALTS that increase diuresis (diuretic)
- mucilaginous substances.
This set of compounds with very low toxicity, both anti-inflammatory and diuretic, is therefore well suited to prolonged treatment of CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DISORDERS related to ARTHROSIS, inflammatory rheumatism or joint pain related to a metabolic overload (gout).
The ash leaves are sometimes parasitized by small insects, the leaf then secretes a sweet exudate that dries and mixes with the sweetened sugar of these aphids.
This particularity of the ash leaves is used traditionally to obtain a dietetic and slightly medicinal drink: the" FRENETTE "(see below for the recipe)
SEEDS OR FRUITS, BARK AND SAP OF FRAXINUS EXCELSIOR
FRUIT OR SEEDS OF ASH are not used traditionally but several recent studies have revealed their pharmacological potential related notably to the presence of glucosides of seco-iridoids.
These extracts of ash seeds that have been "patented" in the US seem to have an action on the metabolism of glucose and blood lipids interesting to mitigate type 2 diabetes and its consequences (metabolic syndrome) or to accompany dieting.
The composition of the ASH BARK is similar to that of the leaves, but with more tannin.
The ASH SAP contains mannitol and phenolic compounds but to my knowledge is not frequently used, in theory it would be laxative and depurative.
ASH TREE LEAVES
CHRONIC OR SUBAIGUES JOINT AND RHUMATISMAL PAIN:
Related to osteoarthritis, inflammatory rheumatism or gout) in combination with treatment with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or in combination with this treatment (which has harmful side effects especially digestive).
EXAMPLES OF DOSAGE:
- Infusion-decoction of dry leaves :
Proportions, 20 to 30 g of leaves in one liter of water, 5 minutes of boiling and 5 to 10 minutes of infusion, one cup twice a day. this preparation is kept cold for a day, but no more, the phenolic compounds oxidizing.
An infusion (without decoction) of 10 minutes of the dried leaves gives a preparation less concentrated in tannin and therefore easier to bear for people with lazy intestine.
- Homeopathic tincture (fresh leaves) or alcoholic tincture 1/10 (dry leaves) of ash Fraxinus excelsior :
50 drops 3 times a day in attack treatment then 1 to 2 times a day in maintenance treatment.
- Ash buds, Fraxinus excelsior, glycerine maceration :
5 to 15 drops a day,
or 50 drops 3 times daily of this glycerine maceration in 1D (dilution 1/10).
There are many pharmacy preparations that contain ash extract often in combination with other anti-inflammatory herbs (such as blackcurrant, poplar) or diuretics (such as meadowsweet)
In Europe (Germany, Switzerland) there is a preparation (PHYTODOLOR) which associates 3 alcoholic tinctures of medicinal plants: the trembling poplar (populus tremula), the ash (fraxinus excelsior) two anti-inflammatory plants and Solidago virga-aurea, depurative diuretic.
Clinical trials have shown that this preparation gives results similar to those of a classic "diclofenac" anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
URINARY INFECTIONS : ash leaf can be used to treat a common or recurrent urinary infection (cystitis) but it is less effective than extracts of ericaceae (cranberry, heather, blueberry).
SLIMMING REGIME : it is interesting to associate the ash leaf with a low calorie diet, it is slightly diuretic and depurative, it also seems to be able to modify in a good way the metabolism of sugar and blood lipids.
ACCORDING TO THE EUROPEAN TRADITIONAL PHYTOTHERAPY the ash leaf is "draining", depurative and protective, it promotes the elimination of "harmful substances" that accumulate in the body and thus allows to stay healthy longer (plant of the longevity).
The ash tea can be consumed every day, it is a real herbal health tea , nevertheless, some people can see their constipation increase.
ASH TREE FRUITS (SEEDS)
At the instigation of the company Naturex several studies have been conducted on the pharmacology of the seed extracts of Fraxinus excelsior.
It appears that certain fractions seem able to regulate the metabolism of blood glucose by activating its cellular penetration (hypoglycemic effect), moreover these extracts would limit the differentiation of the adipocytes (cells specialized in the storage of the fatty substances) and would not have noticeable toxicity .
A double use of these extracts of ash seed is therefore envisaged: CONTROL OF DIABETES TYPE 2 in association with a hypo-caloric diet and to facilitate a slimming.
Naturex extracts "fraxipure" and "glucevia" are generally marketed in combination with other plant extracts under various trade names.
ASH TREE LEAVES AND ASH BEER
"Frênette" is a French traditional drink made from ash leaves parasitized by aphids. The foliage exude a little sap containing sugars that add or mix with the sweet honeydew of aphids.
The naturally fermented leaves gave a slightly alcoholic and sparkling beverage, vitaminized and containing some of the anti-inflammatory and diuretic ash phenolic compounds, as well as mannitol.
Now people prefer to use sugar and controlled ferments to obtain a more standardized drink.
There are many "recipes" of "ash beer", some with the addition of other plants as for a craft beer (see on the internet).
Example "basic" of "frenette" :
10 l of non-chlorinated water,
5 to 10 g of dry ash leaves (or 20 to 40 g of fresh leaves),
500g of sugar,
10g of yeast (beer or wine),
if possible 3 to 5 g of tartaric acid.
- Make a prolonged infusion of the leaves in 1 liter of very hot water,
- Dilute the sugar in 3 liters of water,
- Dilute tartaric acid and yeast separately.
- Mix the whole with the infusion of the leaves, filtered and when it is cold; top up with water up to 10 l in a clean, unclosed container.
The fermentation starts more or less rapidly depending on the ambient temperature, stir a little each day and withdraw when fermentation stops (no more gaseous emission).
Bottles are kept in a cool place or consume immediately.
Well prepared, the "ash beer" is a pleasant, thirst-quenching drink that gives the body group B vitamins and protective natural compounds, it is a "health" drink.
Depending on the taste you can double the amount of leaves to get a more aromatic frenette or ash beer.
ASH TREE AS A WOOD PASTURE
The ash leaves are very popular with grazers, and it is still common to see medium altitude (especially in the central massif) whole hedges of pollard ash trees.
When the branches have reached their proper development, they are cut at the end of the summer and left in the field where animals (usually cows) clean them perfectly leaving only the bare branches.
The nutritional value of ash leaves is considered excellent and very palatable for cows.
FRAXINUS ORNUS, MANNA ASH TREE
The manna ash is native to the Mediterranean but can be grown in most temperate countries with mild winters.
It bears particularly well the summer drought of the Mediterranean climate.
It is spontaneous in Corsica but is also present in continental France, its foliage and abundant flowers in spring make it appreciate as an ornamental tree.
HARVESTING THE ASH MANNA RICH IN MANNITOL
Traditionally in the Mediterranean countries, in the middle of summer, when the air is very dry and hot, the manna ash trees that have reached a sufficient development are cut deeply to let flow the sap that solidifies by evaporation in the form of a whitish mass.
Successive incisions will collect several hundred grams of manna per tree.
This exudate is very rich in mannitol and also contains phenolic compounds.s.
MANNITOL, a sugar alcohol, is a sweetener with a sweetening power lower than sucrose (ordinary sugar) but has physical properties that make it a food additive or excipient in the pharmaceutical industry (it is most often synthesized industrially) .
It is a sugar that is not "digested", absorbed by the body, but which is eliminated very well in the urine.
- Mannitol and medicine
In emergency medicine mannitol solution is used as an infusion to reduce intracranial pressure following trauma for example and the internal pressure of the eye in case of acute glaucoma.
The infusion of mannitol is also one of the few treatments for intoxication by the flesh of some tropical fish (ciguatera) frequent in particular in the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.
- Mannitol as a laxative
Mannitol has a "mild" laxative power that is appreciated by children or pregnant women (it is not toxic).
It can nevertheless cause flatulence due to its fermentation by colonic bacteria, and people with irritable bowel should be cautious.
The MANNE of ash corresponds to this medicinal use: a mild and non-toxic laxative.
Example of dosage:
In case of CONSTIPATION, to ensure an early intestinal transit: one to 3 teaspoons of manna powder diluted in water at bedtime.
Ash manna powder is found in certain herbalists or specialty food stores, either pure or associated with other laxative substances.
ASH TREES IN TRADITIONAL ASIAN AND NORTHERN AMERICAN MEDICINES
FRAXINUS CHINENSIS RHYNCHOPHYLLA
This ash is the most used in Far Eastern medicines.
It is the bark that is often used in combination with other plants.
Traditionally in China, this ash bark (rich in tannin and phenolic substances similar to that of the European ash) treats diarrhea and other diseases that Chinese doctors link to the meridian of the liver and visual disorders (cataract).
This bark is used in certain respiratory disorders and as an anti-inflammatory analgesic (joint and muscular pain).
4 to 10 g per day
White ash was known to Native Americans and is part of the North American Pharmacopoeia for its anti-rheumatic, anti-diarrheal properties, to treat certain female genital diseases (dysmenorrhea) as well as to accelerate the return to the normal uterus after childbirth.
- Alcohol tincture of Fraxinus americana bark 1/10: 10 to 60 drops per day,
- The American ash bark can also be used as infusion or cold maceration:
30g of bark per liter of water,
1/4 liter (250 ml) to 1/3 liter (330 ml) distributed in the day in 3-4 times
ASH, DECORATIVE, USEFUL AND MEDICINAL TREES
The ash trees of Europe, Far East or America are often large trees whose leaves, bark, seeds and sap contain anti-inflammatory substances useful for treating rheumatism and chronic pain related to osteoarthritis. Plants diuretic and protective tissue, they help to stay healthy. The manna ash has a laxative sap.
Copyright 2019 : Dr Jean-Michel Hurtel