The Cayce Herbal 
 A Comprehensive Guide to the  
Botanical Medicine of Edgar Cayce
Prickly Ash

Botanical Name: Xanthoxylum americana

Common Names and Synonyms: Toothache Tree

Background: Native American Indians chewed prickly ash bark for toothache.  Traditionally, it has also been used for rheumatism and circulatory problems.  Today, herbalists use prickly ash bark as a stimulant for the central nervous system and general circulation.  It is also used to improve digestion and treat colic and stomach cramps.  The prickly ash can grow to 25 feet high.  In the spring the tree bears small, fragrant, yellow-green flowers before the leaves appear.  These are followed by  round, red berries.  The berries are gathered in the late summer.  The bark is stripped from the stems and gathered in the spring.
Prickly Ash in the Cayce Readings

  • Edgar Cayce recommended prickly ash bark as a digestive aid and stimulant to the hepatic system.  It was also frequently recommended in formulas for tooth and gum care.
  • Various amounts of prickly ash bark were recommended with the following frequency:
      2 ounces 41 readings
      1/2 ounce 28 readings
      1 ounce 20 readings
      1/4/ ounce 8 readings
      6 ounces 1 reading
      4 drams 1 reading
      6 drams 1 reading
  • Essence of prickly ash bark was recommended in 2 readings (1/4 ounce and 20 minims).
  • Prickly ash bark was typically recommended with other substances in a compound.  Although a wide diversity of  formulas were given, the most common substances in mentioned in the same readings as prickly ash are as follows:
      Tolu 89 readings
      Yellow Dock 73 readings
      Wild Cherry 63 readings
      Sarsaparilla 62 readings
      Burdock Root 49 readings
      Elder Flower 47 readings
      Buchu Leaves 41 readings
      Mandrake 34 readings
      Dogwood 32 readings
      Calisaya 25 readings
Cayce Quotes on Prickly Ash

    The Prickly Ash Bark acts directly with the activative forces in the liver itself, in the gall duct, and as a stimulant to the pancreas and spleen's activity.

    The prickly ash bark is for the blood supply, as acted upon in the emunctory forces of the liver itself, proper.

    The Prickly Ash Bark is for the lacteal ducts and their activity in dissemination throughout the system.

    There must be some local treatment by the dentist, then there must be used, the application of the same ingredients as we have given of a tea from toothache or Prickly Ash bark.  We would make a thin paste with this tea and salt and rinse and wash the mouth with this once every week.  The cause of the condition arises more from the stomach.  When we correct the condition in the stomach, we will correct the condition of the teeth, also use the local treatment.  We are through.

(Q)  What should be done with the teeth, Mr. Cayce?
(A)  There is a combination here:  Tooth-ache bark [Prickly Ash Bark] made into a very strong solution, enough of common powdered salt added to make a very thin paste, and that be applied to the gums, you see?

(Q)  What is the reaction of the Prickly Ash Bark on the gums?
(A)  It is nature's preservative for STRENGTHENING the tissue about the teeth themselves.  The very NATURE of it, from its name as given by the aborigines - that toothache bark indicates its very nature!

    We would first use that in the mouth as a wash for the teeth and a gargle for the throat, a strong solution of prickly ash bark made of this: To one pint of water, we would add one ounce of the bark, simmer or steep until reduced to half the quantity, strain and add thirty grains of common salt - gargle the throat with this.

    Make a weak solution of Prickly Ash bark, that is, one to 20 parts, steep well, make the tea and add three parts of salt. Use this as a wash and rinse the mouth once or twice a week. We would relieve the gums and give to the glands in the throat, the inside of the mouth and the tonsils, a new vibratory force.  Do that as we have given.

    The condition of the organs themselves:  Through the larynx and upper portion of the circulation at the head and neck, we find some of the condition showing from where the condition has produced in the blood, that is the antrum to the left side, especially to all of that in the part where pus forms.
    Some of these need local treatment and this we will find will be assisted by using for this the wash for the mouth and the gargle for the throat made of a strong tea made from prickly ash bark, ten parts or nine parts, to one part salt, as a gargle, to use as that to rub on the gums, we would add more salt, common table salt, but powdered very fine.

(Q)  Mr. Cayce, should the teeth in this body be drawn?
(A)  No, only those of the second molars, upper and lower on one side, you see, need to be removed.  Those conditions produced by this bacilli in the system.  For the specific condition use this:
    To three ounces of distilled water add one ounce of bark of prickly ash, reduce by simmering to two gills, and strain. Heat common salt and add until a thin mixture is made.  Wash or rinse the mouth with this every third day for three to five treatments.  Then those that need correction where exposed nerves are shown in the ones as given, remove those.

(Q)  Do the gums of this body need immediate attention from a dentist?
(A)  Some of the teeth need immediate attention from a dentist.  Would be well to uss for a wash this [Ipsab] for the gums:  To 6 ounces of distilled water, add 2 ounces Prickly Ash Bark.  Reduce by simmering (not boiling) to 2 ounces.  Strain and add Powdered Common Salt until we have a very thin paste.  Rinse or rub gums with this once every two days until this trouble in the mouth and gums has subsided.


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