Photos of Aralia spinosa, Devil's Walkingstick, Hercules' Club, Angelica tree.
Aralia spinosa, Devil's Walkingstick, Hercules Club, Angelica tree is the largest North American member of the genus Aralia. Aralia spinosa grows into a small tree with a trunk up to 6 inches in diameter. Its bark was used in decoction by the Onodagas Indians as a blood purifier. Native groups also used it for fevers. African Americans used the bark of the fresh root, both internally and externally, as their primary remedy for snakebites. Early nineteenth century American physicians used the bark as a diaphoretic, anodyne, stimulant, and diuretic. The fresh bark is reportedly emetic and cathartic. A tincture of the berries was used for rheumatism and colic. The bark was utilized in rheumatism, cutaneous skin eruptions, toothache and syphilis. Its berries were made into a tincture for treating toothaches (hence the name toothache tree). Koreans in the Washington DC area reportedly have used the shoots as a folk remedy to lower insulin requirements of diabetics. Presumably they use it as a substitute for the closely related A. elata, which occurs in Korea, Japan and adjacent China.
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