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Home » Plant infomation

Zanthoxylum clava-herculis  L.


Botanical Name


Zanthoxylum clava-herculis L.

English Name


Hercules' club, Toothache tree, Tingle-tongue, Pepperwood, Southern prickly ash



Zanthoxylum macrophyllum Oliv.





General Info


Small tree to 10 m (30 ft) tall and 15 cm (6 in) in diameter. Bark light gray, smooth, thin, with large thick spines partially enclosed by corky warts. Twigs thick, brown, hairy when young, with short thick spines often in pairs. Leaves pinnately compound, 15-25 cm (6-10 in) long; leaflets 7-17, paired except at end, often with small paired spines at base, narrowly ovate, 4-7.5 cm (1.6-3 in) long, undulate margined, shiny dark green above, paler below. Flowers small, greenish-white, numerous in large cymes at ends of leafy twigs in early Spring. Fruits numerous small follicles, maturing in early Summer. Seeds shiny-black.

Herb Effects

Irritant, odontalgic and antirheumatic (bark and roots); diaphoretic, stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic and antirheumatic (fruits).


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Medicinal Use

Used in the treatment of arthritic and rheumatic conditions, digestive problems and leg ulcers (bark and roots); to ease the pain of toothache (pulverized root and bark); chewed to induce salivation (bark); in the treatment of rheumatism, dyspepsia, dysentery, heart and kidney troubles (tea or tincture of the bark); to treat itchy skin (a tea made from the inner bark); in the treatment of fevers, ague, poor circulation etc and as an useful tonic in debilitated conditions of the stomach and digestive organs (fruits).



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