This is a shrub or bush that grows in the Western country, and is well known by the people there. It grows from eight to twelve feet high, and bears a berry that grows close to the limbs; it has leaves like the white ash. The bark and the berries are used for medical purposes. The berries are very pungent, and are a powerful stimulent, as also the bark of the top and roots, though not so strong. It should be pounded to a powder and steeped in hot water, then put into wine or spirit, and it makes a very good hot bitters. Take half a glass two or three times a day; it is good for fever and ague, for which it is much used, and for lethargy or sleepiness, and for cold feet and hands, and other complaints caused by cold, (1) This agent is a decided stimulant, and in power rates about midway between ginger and Capsicum, although used more generally in sub-acute and chronic cases where persistent stimulation is needed. It enters into many standard preparations, and is much valued in rheumatism. The infusion is prepared by using about one-fourth of a teaspoonful of the powder to a large cup of boiling water. The fluid extract may be obtained, and is the best form used to add to syrups. Prickly ash will increase the flow of saliva and moisten the dry tongue found in liver troubles. An irritable stomach will not kindly receive prickly ash, which may even provoke vomiting in sensitive persons. (2)
The bark is a positive, diffusive stimulant, especially inducing a good, free capillary and arterial circulation. It is a valuable addition to alteratives and to diaphoretics. It warms the stomach, arouses the skin, and stimulates the salivary glands, the lymphatics and the serous and mucous membrane. It is a valuable addition in all chronic affections, rheumatism, neuralgia and wherever the skin and extremities are cold.
The seeds or berries are slightly more stimulating than the bark. In cases of a dry tongue and mucous surfaces use this agent and if need be add a little Lobelia. It is one of the best things in the world. It acts slower than Capsicum but its effects are more permanent. Give it in small and frequent doses. Dose of tincture of either bark or berries is from 10 to 30 minims.