The health benefits from Ailanthus have long been known in the annals of Chinese traditional medicine as potent for clearing heat and stopping bleeding. A tea from the roots, leaves and bark of this plant is still used today in many parts of China primarily as an astringent.
Ailanthus refers to a type of fast-growing deciduous tree that is native to China and other parts of East Asia. It has since grown in other parts of that continent and even other continents.
One of the more popular types of ailanthus is the ailanthus altissima, the name is derived from the Ambonese term which means ‘tree of heaven’. This tends to grow in more temperate areas. It grows up to a height of about 35 meters and has spreading branches and pinnate leaves. It has greenish to yellowish flowers that ultimately turns brown with time. Some of these flowers emit a foul smell that is said to be akin to that of cat’s urine.
The ailanthus tree or ‘tree of heaven’ has often been mentioned in ancient Chinese literature. The Erya, the oldest extant Chinese dictionary, lists the ailanthus tree along with other trees. It was written in the 3rd century BC. It was again mentioned in a materia medica that was compiled during the Tang Dynasty in 656 AD.
The ailanthus tree is considered to be a intrusive plant, and is known to break into gardens and cracking walls in the process. As such, it has largely been used in many places as an ornamental plant that helps improve the appearance of gardens and parks.
Herbal remedies from the bark, flowers and roots of the ailanthus tree have long been used for a variety of ailments and diseases. The ailanthus bark has bitter, astringent and cooling properties. In traditional Chinese medicine, the bark is associated with the meridians governing the large intestines, the stomach and liver. Its main functions are said to be to clear heat and stop bleeding. The main constituents of the ailanthus bark include quassin, saponin and ailanthone.
For its part, the flowers have also been used mainly as treatment for lower types of infectious diseases. However, there have been anecdotal evidence that suggest the flowers and some other parts of the plant may be mildly toxic. The foul smell of the flowers and even the leaves have been associated with nausea and headaches, as well as with contact dermatitis reported in both humans and sheep, that have also developed weakness and paralysis. As such, it is strongly recommended that individuals who plan to take ailanthus tea consult with their physicians before doing so.
The following are the ailanthus tea benefits attributed to this brew:
- Tea brewed from its bark may help fight diarrhea.
- Tea from the bark may help fight malaria.
- Tea from the bark is believed to help fight asthma.
- Tea from the bark is said to help in the treatment of uterine bleeding or menorrhagia.
- Tea made brewed its flowers is said to help fight scarlet fever.
- Tea from the flowers is believed to help fight diphtheria.
- Tea from the flowers may help fight typhoid fever.
- Tea from the flowers may help fight glandular fever.
- Tea from the flowers may help counter blood poisoning brought on by a host of ailments and other circumstances.
- Tea or tincture from the root-bark is believed to help in fighting palpitations, asthma and epilepsy.