Scientic name: Fraxinus excelsior, Fraxinus oxyphylla

Common names: Common ash, European ash, English ash, Polish ash, Olive ash

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    نبات الرماد (nabaatu’rramaad)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Fabaceae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Whole herb, sprouts

Collection: Spring (bark), summer (leaves)

Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: 130 feet

Actions: Ash bark has been employed as a bitter tonic and astringent, and is valuable as an antiperiodic. On account of its astringency, it has been used, in decoction, extensively in the treatment of intermittent fever and ague. It has been considered useful to remove obstructions of the liver and spleen, and in rheumatism of an arthritic nature. 

Known Constituents: Usually >2.5% hydroycinnamic acid derivatives expressed as chlorogenic acid (C16, H18, O9), vitamins A, B, C, E, K and a variety of minerals and trace minerals.  

Constituents Explained:

Description:

The Ash is a common deciduous tree that thrives in lowlands and moorlands in most parts of Europe except the northern, southern, and eastern edges.  

It has pale gray bark, black conical leaf buds, and bright green leaves with seven to thirteen oval leaflets. 

Leaf is normally about 6cm long and 3cm wide.

Is famous for its high chlorophyll content. 

When in bloom it produces beautiful purple flowers.

Traditional Use:

Known as a nutritious plant, it is rich in carbohydrates and other nutrients. 

The leaves are used for arthritis(joint pain), gout, bladder complaints, as a laxative, a diuretic and for treating worm infestations. 

Externally, the leaves are used for lower leg ulcers and wounds.

The bark is a tonic occasionally taken for fever and the bark of the American White Ash has been used as a bitter tonic and astringent.

A wax deposited by an insect on the Chinese ash is used to coat pills. 

Several ash species exude a nutritious sap called “manna,” which is used as a laxative for children and pregnant women. Its laxative effect is also used for ailments such as anal fissures, hemorrhoids, and post-rectal or anal surgery.

It is good for obesity and dropsy. The leaves are used to cure jaundice and dissolve stones. You can gather, dry, and powder the leaves and mix them into a cup of tea. Ash trees can also be used to feed cattle, but the milk from the cow is not good when the cow is eating ash leaves and branches. Ash fruit can be used in salads and sauces as a substitute for capers.

Clinical Studies:

Fraxinus excelsior L. seeds are consumed as a food, condiment, and folk medicine. The seeds are traditionally used as a potent hypoglycemic agent, but no clinical evidence exists in as to this regard. A study assessed the clinical efficacy and safety of the seed extract (FraxiPure, Naturex), containing 6.8% of nuzhenide and 5.8% of GI3 (w/w), on plasma glucose and insulin levels against glucose (50 g) induced postprandial glycemia.

Preselected dose (1.0 g) was used in a double blind, randomized, crossover, placebo (wheat bran) controlled study on 16 healthy volunteers. Each treatment was given immediately after a fasting blood glucose sample (0 min). Postprandial plasma glucose levels were estimated at 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 min; and postprandial plasma insulin at 0, 30, 60, 90 and 120 min.

The extract lowered the incremental postprandial plasma glucose concentration as compared to placebo at 45 min and 120 min. It statistically reduced the glycemic area under the blood glucose curve. The seed, also, induced a significant secretion of insulin at 90 min after glucose administration. However, the insulinemic area under the blood insulin curve was not different than the placebo. No adverse events were reported.

The findings confirmed the hypoglycemic action of Fraxinus excelsior L. seed extract. These promising results, thus, encourage conducting long-term clinical studies to further evaluate the efficacy and safety of Fraxinus excelsior L. seed extract in healthy and diabetic volunteers and also to explore the possible mechanisms of action.

References:

Visen P, Saraswat B, Visen A, Roller M, Billy A, Mermet C, He K, Bai N, Lemaire B, Lafay S, Ibarra A. “Acute Effect Of Fraxinus Excelsior L. Seed Extract On Postprandial Glycemia And Insulin Secretion On Healthy Volunteers.” 2009 November. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19723572