Fringe Tree

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Fringe Tree

Botanical Name: Chionanthus virginica (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Oleaceae

Synonyms: Old Man's Beard. Fringe Tree Bark. Chionathus. Snowdrop Tree. Poison Ash.
Part Used: The dried bark of the root.
Habitat: The United States, from Pennsylvania to Tennessee.

Description: A small tree, bearing in June white flowers like snowdrops, and with large leaves like those of Magnolia, it presents a charming appearance. The root-bark is found in single, transversely-curved pieces, often heavy enough (though small) to sink in water. The outside is reddish or greyish-brown, with root scars and whiter patches. The inner surface is a yellowishbrown. The fracture is short, coarsely granular, and yellowish-white. It is almost odourless, but very bitter in taste. The powder is light brown in colour.

Constituents: It is said that both saponin and a glucoside have been found, but neither appears to have been officially confirmed.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Aperient, diuretic. Some authorities regard it as tonic and slightly narcotic. It is used in typhoid, intermittent, or bilious fevers, and externally, as a poultice, for inflammations or wounds. Is useful in liver complaints.

Dosage: Of fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm two or three times a day. Of infusion, 1/2 to 2 fluid ounces two or three times a day. Chiomanthin, 1 to 3 grains.