Herbal & Medicinal Uses
(Euonymus europaeus LINN.)
Synonyms: Fusanum. Fusoria. Skewerwood. Prickwood. Gatter. Gatten. Gadrose. Pigwood. Dogwood. Indian Arrowroot. Burning Bush. Wahoo.
(French) Fusain. Bonnet-de-prêtre.(German) Spindelbaume.Parts Used: Root, bark, berries.Contains Bitter principle, a resin (euonymin), euonic acid, a crystalline glucoside, asparagine, resins, fat, dulcitol, culvitol and 14% ash, plus some resins.
ALL PARTS, especially the fruits and seeds, are POISONOUS.This herb is NOT recommended for home use.Leaves and fruit can cause various symptoms of poisoning.A decoction of the fruit has been used to treat mange in horses and cattle. Contains a resin called euonymin, which stimulates appetite and the liver. The baked fruits were powdered and rubbed into hair as a remedy for headlice.Constituents: Little is definitely known of the chemical constituents of Euonymus Bark. Its chief constituent is a nearly colourless intensely bitter principle, a resin called Euonymin. There are also present euonic acid, a crystalline glucoside, asparagine, resins, fat, dulcitol, and 14 per cent of ash. Commercial Euonymin is a powdered extract.
Medicinal Action and Uses: Tonic, alterative, cholagogue, laxative and hepatic stimulant.
In small doses, Euonymin stimulates the appetite and the flow of the gastric juice. In larger doses, it is irritant to the intestine and is cathartic. It has slight diuretic and expectorant effects, but its only use is as a purgative in cases of constipation in which the liver is disordered, and for which it is particularly efficacious. It is specially valuable in liver disorders which follow or accompany fever. It is mildly aperient and causes no nausea, at the same time stimulating the liver somewhat freely, and promoting a free flow of bile.
To make the decoction, add an ounce to a pint of water and boil together slowly. A small wineglassful to be given, when cold, for a dose, two or three times a day.
Of the tincture made with spirit from the bark, 5 to 10 drops may be taken in water or on sugar.Euonymin is generally given in pill form and in combination with other tonics, laxatives, etc.Preparations: Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Powdered extract, B.P. and U.S.P., 2 grains. Euonymin, 1 to 4 grains.
Other Species: The green leaves of one species of Euonymus are said to be eaten by the Arabs to produce watchfulness, and a sprig of it is believed to be – to the person who carries it – protection from the plague. Another species is said to inflict painful wounds.Parts Used: The variety of Spindle Tree (Euonymus atropurpureus), common in the eastern United States, is known there as Wahoo, Burning Bush, or Indian Arrowwood. This is the kind generally used in medicine. It is a shrub about 6 feet high, with smooth ash-coloured bark, and has small dark purple flowers and leaves purple-tinged at the serrated edges. Wahoo bark, as it is called commercially, is the dried root-bark of this species. The root-bark is alone official, but the stem-bark is also collected and used as a substitute. The root-bark, when dried, is in quilled or curved pieces, 1/12 to 1/6 inch thick, ash-grey, with blackish ridges or patches, outer surface whitish, or slightly tawny and quite smooth. Fracture friable, smooth, whitish, the inner layer appearing tangentially striated. The taste is sweetish, bitter and acrid. It has a very faint, characteristic odour, resembling liquorice. The stem-bark is in longer quills, with a smooth outer surface, with lichens usually present on it, and a greenish layer under the epidermis.
Alterative; Cholagogue; Hepatic; Laxative; Purgative; Stimulant; Tonic.
The bark is alterative, cholagogue, hepatic, laxative, stimulant and tonic. The root bark is the part normally used, though bark from the stems is sometimes employed as a substitute. In small doses it stimulates the appetite, in larger doses, it irritates the intestines. The bark is especially useful in the treatment of liver disorders which follow or accompany fevers. The seeds are strongly emetic and purgative. The fresh leaves, and the dried fruit and seeds, are used externally to treat scabies, lice (head, body or pubic), ticks and other skin parasites.
The sister to the European version in the US, the Arrow Wood ‘…was employed by Native Americans for a number of ailments. It was a popular diuretic drug during the 19th century. Early in this century, it was discovered to have digitalis-like effects.’
Euonymous europaeus: … Known commonly as Lousewood and deriving that name from the practice of baking, powdering and sprinkling the fruits on the heads of children with lice. The berries are emetic and purgative and have proved fatal to sheep.
The American variety E. atropurpurea is the medicinal variety, but in folk medicine, E. europus has been used as well. Three or 4 berries were taken as a purgative.
Also, a decoction made with the addition of vinegar was used for mange in horses and cattle.
Euonymous americanus: Was used in much the same manner as E. atropurpurea. The root tea was used for uterine prolapse, vomiting of blood, stomachaches, painful urination, and a wash for swellings. The tea has also been used for malaria, indigestion, liver congestion, constipation, lung afflictions. The powdered bark applied to the scalp was believed to eliminate dandruff.
How to use the Spindle Tree is described as follows:
Harvest: The root and stem barks are usually harvested from wild stock in the autumn and dried. The root bark is dried in quilled pieces 1/12th to 1/6th inch thick. There is a very faint liquorice-type odour.Solvent: Water and alcohol.