Herb-Drug Interactions: Prickly ash

Zanthoxylum amehcanum Mill., Zanthoxylum clavaherculis L. (Rutaceae)

Synonym(s) and related species

Toothache tree, Xanthoxylum, Yellow wood, Zanthoxylum.


The main constituents of prickly ash bark include the isoquinoline alkaloids magnoflorine, laurifoline, nitidine, chelerythrine, tambetarine and candicine. Various natural coumarins, tannins, lignans, including sesamin and asarinin, resins and volatile oil are also present.

Use and indications

Prickly ash is traditionally used for cramps and Raynaud’s syndrome. The bark is mainly used as an antirheumatic, analgesic and carminative, and is believed to possess cardioprotective effects. It is also used to treat toothache and fevers, and is used as a flavouring agent in food and drink. It is also used as a fish poison. Because of doubts about the toxicity of the alkaloids that it contains (which are said to have hypotensive, anti-inflammatory and neuromuscular blocking activity), some sources do not recommend its use.


No relevant pharmacokinetic data found.

Interactions overview

No interactions with prickly ash found.