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!

Fringe Tree

Scientific Names

Fringe Tree

  • Chionanthus virginicus L.
  • Oleaceae
  • Olive family

Common Names

  • Gray beard tree
  • Old man’s beard
  • Poison ash
  • Snowdrop tree
  • Snowflower
  • White fringe

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Parts Usually Used

Root bark, trunk bark
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Description of Plant(s) and

Fringe tree reaches 8-25 feet in height; the leaves are opposite, smooth, and oblong to oval in shape, grow 8 inches long. In May and June, when the leaves are only partially developed, the fragrant, slender-petaled, white flowers, from whose fringe-like petals the tree derives its name, appear in dense, drooping, panicles. The fruit is an oval, purple drupe, resemble small olives.

Other varieties: Leaves of the Chinese species (C. retusus) have been used in Asia as a tea substitute.
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Where Found

Grows in the middle and southern United States and in New England. Cultivated in parks and gardens, dry slopes, and occurs wild along riverbanks and on higher ground. New Jersey to Florida; Texas, eastern Oklahoma, north to Missouri, southern Ohio.
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Medicinal Properties

Alterative, aperient, cholagogue, diuretic, febrifuge, hepatic, laxative, tonic
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Biochemical Information

Glycoside phyllirine, saponin
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Native Americans and early colonists were familiar with fringe tree’s healing virtues. Migraine sufferers were amazed at the results of treatment.
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Bark tea reduces fevers, relieves dyspepsia, and is beneficial for kidneys and liver inflammations including liver cirrhosis, acts as a cathartic, jaundice, gallstones, stimulates bile secretion, treats hepatitis, colic, headache, migraines, malaria, and used as a tonic. The bark made into a poultice is used externally on wounds, sores, infections, and skin irritations.
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Formulas or Dosages

Decoction: boil 1 tsp. bark in 1 cup water. Take 1 cup per day.

Tincture: take 7-10 drops in water, as indicated.

Physicians formerly used 10 drops every 3 hours, of tincture for jaundice. Prepare tincture: 1 part bark by weight in 5 parts 50% grain alcohol (not rubbing alcohol which is poisonous if taken internally) and water.
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Overdose may cause vomiting, frontal headaches, slow pulse.
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Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

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

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

Buy It! The Magic of Herbs in Daily Living, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Co. (1988).

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

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

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