Szechuan Peppercorn Spice / Prickly Ash Berry
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The Prickly Ash is a small North American tree growing in the open air in this country. The bark and berries are used medicinally.
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Szechuan Peppercorns - actually the dried berry of the prickly ash tree.
The spice has a unique aroma and flavor that is not as pungent as black pepper and has slight lemony overtones. Szechuan peppercorns are one of the five spices in Chinese five-spice powder. Called sansho in Japan, they are used in the spice mixture shichimi togarashi, or Japanese seven-spice seasoning.
For stews: add them whole along with the other seasonings and remove before serving.
The leaves and berries have an aromatic odour similar to that of oil of Lemons, and the berries and bark have a hot, acrid taste.
It acts as a stimulant - resembling guaiacum resin and mezereon bark in its remedial action and is greatly recommended in the United States for chronic rheumatism, typhoid and skin diseases and impurity of the blood, administered either in the form of fluid extract or in doses of 10 grains to 1/2 drachm in the powdered form, three times daily.
The following formula has also become popular in herbal medicine: Take 1/2 oz. each of Prickly Ash Bark, Guaiacum Raspings and Buckbean Herb, with 6 Cayenne Pods. Boil in 1 1/2 pint of water down to 1 pint . Dose: a wineglassful three or four times daily.
The berries are considered even more active than the bark, being carminative and antispasmodic, and are used as an aperient and for dyspepsia and indigestion; a fluid extract of the berries being given, in doses of 10 to 30 drops.
References: A modern herbal, Recipezaar.
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