Ash is a common tree in fresh woods and hedges. It is very easy to find in Europe.
The Ash, a tree that is easily identified.
Origins of ash
The High Ash (or Common Ash) is a tree native to Europe. Unfortunately, little is known about the history of the Ash, its discovery and its importation into the world.
From a historical and more realistic point of view, we know that Ash bark was used as a febrifuge before the 19th century. It was before the discovery of cinchona that the bark of ash branches was used for this purpose, thanks to its bitter and astringent properties. It is this use that gave the tree its popular name "European cinchona".
It is known that Ash was considered an effective treatment for injuries. The sap from the Ash leaves and its fruits were used to act against rheumatism. Ash was also used to cure umbilical hernias in infants.
Ash was first used in the treatment of gout disease in the 19th century. Due to an overload of uric acid in the body, often linked to the excesses of gourmands and gourmets, gout disease is nowadays treated by more specific treatments, but Ash leaves are still used as gemmotherapy for their beneficial diuretic properties.
Characteristics of ash
Name: Fraxinus excelsior
Species: tree of the genus Fraxinus
The Ash is a beautiful tree that can reach up to 35 metres in height. The Ash can live for 150 to 200 years. Some reach up to one metre in diameter. It is very frequently planted in Europe, Asia and North Africa. It is easily identified by its opposite branches, large black buds and leaves composed of acute and toothed leaflets. Its fruit is a hanging samara, containing an elongated seed.
The Ash blooms during April and May. The pollination of this species is done by wind, as is the dispersal of seeds. The Ash flowers have a beautiful reddish-brown colour and ripen in elongated bunches.
There are several species of Ash. The most common are those of the High Ash, also known as the "Common Ash". It is mainly found along riversides, on shaded fields, in forests, in plains, in valleys... The Elevated Ash is a very common species in Europe. It is even able to grow in mountain forests where the development of a tree that fears frost and cold is rare.
Ash needs a deep, fresh to moist soil rich in minerals. It is a tree that needs a lot of light.
Uses of ash
We have been making a pleasant sparkling drink based on Ash for a very long time in our French countryside. It is known as "Frênette". The recipe today consists of a mixture of lemonade and a few Ash leaves. Some people like to addChicory or roasted Barley to it. A few years ago, people did things a little differently to make the Frênette: they harvested the honeydew produced by aphids that collected on the Ash leaves that they fermented with water for a few days. This concentrated, gummy and sweet sap has a delicious malty taste. Ash leaves were therefore not always used in the original recipe.
Benefits of ash
Ash has several virtues, such as many plants. Ash is known for its diuretic properties.
Its anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic properties have also long been praised.