Xanthoxylum americanum. N.O. Rutaceae.
Synonym ► Toothache Bush or Suterberry.
Habitat ► Flourishes in moist places throughout the United States, from which country the medicinal berries and bark are imported.
Features ► A shrub varying between ten and fifteen feet in height with alternate branches covered with strong, sharp prickles, the leaves are pinnate, with lanceolate leaflets, the flowers green and white. Small, blue-black berries enclosed in a grey shell grow in clusters on the top of the branches. The bark is about one- twelfth of an inch thick, and has corky, conical spines nearly one inch in height. Fractures show green in the outer part and yellow in the inner. The taste is very pungent, causing salivation, and there is little odour.
Part used ► Berries and bark, the berries being considered the more effective. Action ► Stimulant, alterative, nervine and diaphoretic.
An infusion of the berries, or the crushed or powdered bark, is made in the proportion of 1/2 ounce to 1 pint of boiling water, the dose being one tablespoonful four times daily. The infusion should be allowed to stand in a covered vessel for two hours before use.
In the treatment of chronic rheumatic trouble this medicine is given a prominent place, and it is also widely used wherever a general stimulant is needed. The powdered bark is applied directly to indolent ulcers. As an external application for rheumatism. Coffin recommends 1 ounce of the pulverised bark to 4 ounces of Olive oil, heated, the part to be well rubbed with this liniment night and morning.