European ash contains many substances known for their medicinal benefits. The leaves, bark and young twigs contain coumarins (fraxin, esculin, and related substances) that inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi, as well as
These properties could make the ash beneficial as a treatment for healing wounds and sores and to reduce swelling.
The substance fraxin found in the leaves has diuretic properties and may increase the excretion of uric acid. Due to these properties it could help treat gout in the elderly and may also be beneficial for other rheumatic disorders, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Because of the same diuretic effect it is used to treat ailments associated with the bladder and kidneys and to remove stones in the urinary tract.
The bark and the leaves of the ash tree may act as a mild laxative due to the presence of mannitol and can, therefore, be used as an herbal remedy for constipation and to eliminate intestinal parasites. It would be good to mix it with other herbs that have a laxative effect (like senna, peppermint, ginger, dandelion, chamomile, marshmallow and licorice root).
Tea prepared from the ash leaves is employed to augment sexual desire or libido in men.
There’s a very long historical tradition of using European ash as a medicine. Its uses as a medicinal herb were already known by the Greek physician Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.).
The Vikings considered the ash a sacred tree. In Norse mythology, the ash Yggdrasil was an immense tree that was the center of the world and spread its crown over the whole earth. It was said it was the world tree around which the nine worlds existed.
If we take a look at the root meaning of the word, “ash” actually isn’t related to what’s left after a fire. It comes from old English “æsc”, which shares common ancestry with the German word “Esche” for this tree. The latin name “Fraxinus” means “light-colored” and refers to the color of the bark.
Ash tree leaves were considered to work as an antidote against snake bites. It is said to counter the venom’s activity. Legends even reminisce that snakes even avoided crawling near the tree, to the point of trying to avoid the shade it projected on the ground!
Today, many are named after the ash tree, either as first names or as last names as well: Ashley, Ash, Ashlyn, Ashton…
For the names of places, there are a great many in England: Ashby, Ashford, Ashbourne, Ashburton…
Habitat: The European ash is found in most parts of Europe from the Mediterranean Sea in the south to Norway in the north and to the Caucasus and western Russia in the east.
Description: European ash is a large tree that can grow up to 40 meters. The ash is long-lived with the normal age around 200 years, but there are some trees that are older than 500 years.
The leaves appear very late in the spring, sometimes after the beginning of June and fall again in the early autumn.
The small flowers are reddish-brown to black and lack normal petals. The ash does not flower until it has reached 30 years. Some trees have female flowers while others have male flowers or even both. The ash is also known to change its sex from year to year.
Other Common Names: Ash, common ash, weeping ash, bird’s tongue.
Preparation: Put a teaspoon of european ash leaves into a 200ml cup of boiled water. Cover it and let it steep for 10 minutes. Strain and drink a cup three times per day.
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