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What is Prickly Ash Used for Today?
There are no documented medical uses of prickly ash bark.
In test-tube studies , substances called furanocoumarins in prickly ash have shown anti-fungal properties. 1 Another prickly ash constituent, chelerythrine, has shown activity against antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria. 2 However, it is a long way from studies like these to actual evidence of efficacy. Only double-blind , placebo-controlled studies can actually show that a treatment works, and none have been performed on prickly ash. (For information on why such studies are essential, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies?)
- Bafi-Yeboa NF, Arnason JT, Baker J, et al. Antifungal constituents of northern prickly ash, Zanthoxylumamericanum mill. Phytomedicine. 2005;12:370–7.
- Gibbons S, Leimkugel J, Oluwatuyi M, et al. Activity of Zanthoxylum clava-herculis extracts against multi-drug resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (mdr-MRSA). Phytother Res. 2003;17:274–5.