Tree of Heaven-Ailanthus

Michael Moore hrbmoore at rt66.com
Thu Nov 9 20:13:29 EST 1995


In article <47omc0$kfj at dewey.csun.edu>, hfbio010 at csun.edu (roy vandehoek) wrote:

> Is anyone out there working on removing Tree of Heaven within state parks,
> national parks, national forests, or any other types of preserves?  What
> techniques are you using?  What types of habitats are you seeing Ailanthus
> in?  Is anybody seeing Ailanthus in riparian areas? 
> 
> Thanks in advance,
> Roy van de Hoek
> hfbio010 at huey.csun.edu

I don't know about eradication methods, but I have seen several
well-established colonies by waterways...the Big Ditch park in Silver
City, New Mexico has banks thickly covered by Ailanthus...they often refer
to it as "Cancer Tree" because it keeps on growing, no matter what you do
to it.  I have also seen extensive stands growing in waterways SW of
Prescott, Arizona. and along suburban creeks in Globe, Arizona.

In fact, I have come to expect it in ANY older mining town in the
southwest and California.  It has a long history of folk use in China as
an antiamoebic agent.  Professional Chinese practitioners seem to use it
very rarely...it seems rather to have been a homely remedy...like
Chamomile...ordinary folks used it, while learned practitioners used more
sophisticated remedies.  Since at least a million male Chinese nationals
were brought into the west in the 19th century for virtual slave labor,
and there were Chinese enclaves in virtually every western mining town, I
have come to presume that the many colonies that flourish in these old
mining and timbering towns were planted by these Chinese men, aggressively
kept both single AND ostracized by developer-barons of the era.  (I hope
their story is told SOMEWHERE...it sounds pretty damn depressing to me)

Since MOST folks traveling a long way from their home have various
difficulties with traveler's diarrhea, I have just come to presume these
Chinese men brought a few plants with them, such as Ailanthus, to help
with "White-Eye's Revenge".

Ailanthus is in the Simarubaceae Family, and, like most such taxa, are
heavily invested in the glycosides that are characteristic of the
family...and, like Quassia (Picraena/Picrasma spp.), Chaparro Amargosa
(Holacantha spp.) and Cascara Amarga (Castela spp. and others), is known
to have substantial anti-protozoal effects.

Are you aware of any research that validates or invalidates this
herbalist's casual observation?

Michael Moore (hrbmoore at rt66.com)
http://www.rt66.com/hrbmoore/HOMEPAGE/HomePage.html
All the SWSBM teaching and clinical manuals, JPEGs of Medicinal Plant
photographs and class announcements can be obtained at my web site.



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