The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

Bird’s Tongue

Scientific Names

Bird's Tongue

  • Fraxinus excelsior L.
  • Oleaceae
  • Olive family

Common Names

  • American white ash
  • European ash
  • Weeping ash

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Parts Usually Used

Bark, leaves
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Bird's Tongue

Bird’s tongue is a European tree, 100-130 feet in height; the leaves are opposite and odd pinnate, consisting of 7-11 ovate, acute, sessile, toothed leaflets. The small flowers appear before or with the leaves in spring and are borne in small, crowded panicles. The fruit is a one-seeded, flat samara that is winged at the top.

Another variety: American ash (F. americana) also called the white ash.
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Where Found

Commonly planted in parks and along streets and found wild in woods and along riverbanks and streams. North America, Europe, Asia and extending south into Mexico and Java.
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Medicinal Properties

Bark: diuretic, febrifuge, stimulant, laxative

Leaves: cathartic
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Legends, Myths and Stories

The ash was a sacred tree of Scandinavian and Germanic tribes of northern Europe. According to their mythology a mighty ash tree, called Yggdrasill, served as a representative of the cosmos. The tree’s roots were the underworld, the earth or Midgard (meaning middle ground) was where the people lived, a disk surrounded by a ring of water. This disk and its circular ocean covered the tree’s lower branches, supported by the trunk. In the upper branches, Valhalla, the heaven of the gods, was located, along with the land of the giants and the land of the frozen north.

According to this same mythology, the universe, the gods, and the giants came into being first. After that, vegetation sprouted forth; then the gods created the first human couple out of two trees. The first man, who was called Ask, sprang from an ash tree; and the woman, Embla, was thought to have come from the elm or alder tree. The name ash is derived from Ask.

Pliny thought that the ash tree repelled snakes. According to him, if a snake had the choice of entering a ring of fire or going near the ash tree, the snake would jump into the fire.
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The bark is used to reduce fever, ague, and expel intestinal worms. The leaf tea (popular in Europe) is used as a purgative and for rheumatism, gout, arthritis, dropsy.

The old herbalists thought that 3-4 leaves of the Ash tree taken in wine each morning from time to time makes those lean that are fat, snakebites, and keep them from eating too much. Many years ago, the decoction of leaves was used for leprosy, burns, scalds, scabby conditions.
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Formulas or Dosages

Use the bark of young branches and twigs.

Infusion: use 1 to 2 tsp. leaves and 1/2 cup hot water. Steep 2 to 3 minutes, then strain. Take 1 to 1 1/2 cups a day, unsweetened, a mouthful at a time.

Decoction: use 1 tsp. bark to 1/2 cup water. Boil briefly, steep for 2-3 minutes. Take 1/2 to 1 cup per day, unsweetened, a mouthful at a time. Improve the taste, if desired, by adding some peppermint or sweet marjoram.
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Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Herbal Recipes, by David C. Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1978, seventh printing, August 1996

Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! Indian Uses of Native Plants, by Edith Van Allen Murphey, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1958, print 1990

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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