Ash Tree Uses
Tree Healing Therapy
Botanical name Fraxinus excelsior / Family Oleaceae
The European or common ash is a large, handsome deciduous tree, found in Europe, North Africa and Asia, with a lofty, domed crown. The sturdy shoots are light greenish-grey, with jet-black buds, and the pale grey bark of young trees becomes fissured into deep grooves in older specimens. The dark-purple, wind-pollinated female flowers, rather longer than the male flowers, open before the leaves. The fruit or 'ash key' often hangs in bunches throughout the winter.
History, mystery and spiritual healing Ash wood is the sorcerer's favourite for a magic wand, and is thought to have been used by the Druids and others to direct positive healing energies and aid communication and wisdom. Traditionally it is the wood of the writer, poet and scholar.
To the Vikings' ancestors, the ash was Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life, its branches spreading over the entire world; atop it sat an eagle, and coiled among its roots in the Underworld was a dragon or serpent. Anciently, it was believed that the first human was created from the ash tree. In Norse mythology the ash was the tree of the god Odin, who in order to receive the important divination tool of the Futhark runes of prophecy put himself into a trance by hanging himself on Yggdrasil, during which act he lost an eye to ravens.
healing In sympathetic magic, a cure for children's rickets was to pass the body of the sick child three times at sunrise through an ash sapling that had been split lengthways; the sapling would then be tightly bound and, if it healed, the child would be cured.
Both the ash bark and leaves have medicinal uses. The decocted leaves were traditionally used internally for constipation, dropsy, cystitis, feverish conditions, arthritis and rheumatic pain; externally they were applied in compresses for suppurating cuts and sores. The bark is collected from both the trunk and root - but preferably the root, which scientific investigation now shows to contain the glycoside fraxin, a colourless crystalline substance, as well as fraxin-related chemicals that are antioxidant. Polish research shows that ash used in medicine for degenerative rheumatics is successful in reducing the intake of non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs, and the effect of the herb's performance in Moroccan animal studies bodes well for its future use in treating diabetes.
At the time of writing there are no known contraindications for the correct use of this plant.