Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Pyrus americana

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It has similar properties to the bark of the European species and was formerly used as a tonic in fevers of supposed malarial type, where it was often substituted for cinchona bark.

All parts of the tree are astringent and may be used in tanning and dyeing black. When cut, the Mountain Ash yields poles and hoops for barrels.

Both the bark and fruit have medicinal properties.
The fruit is rather globose, with teeth at the apex and two to three seeded cells. They are used medicinally in either the fresh or the dried state.

Medicinal Action and Uses---In herbal medicine, a decoction of the bark is given for diarrhoea and used as a vaginal injection in leucorrhoea, etc.

The ripe berries furnish an acidulous and astringent gargle for sore throats and inflamed tonsils. For their anti-scorbutic properties, they have been used in scurvy. The astringent infusion is used as a remedy in hemorrhoids and strangury.

The fruit is a favorite food of birds. A delicious jelly is made from the berries, which is excellent with cold game or wild fowl, and a  wholesome kind of berry or cider can also be made from them.

In Northern Europe they are dried for flour, and when fermented yield a strong spirit. The Welsh used to brew an ale from the berries, the secret of which is now lost.

It has similar properties to the bark of the European species and was formerly used as a tonic in fevers of supposed malarial type, where it was often substituted for cinchona bark.

No analysis of the bark of the American species has been made, though the fruit has been found to yield 4.92 to 6.6 of malic acid.

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—The ripe fruit of sorbus, when infused with water, furnishes an acidulous and astringent gargle for acute diseases of the pharyngeal vault and tonsils, with excessive secretion. The bark and the unripe fruit are employed in infusion, or decoction in scurvy and diarrhoea, and topically to relaxations of the anal or vaginal walls and throat, all with profuse secretion. The very astringent qualities of sorbus render it a good agent for poultices when one of such a character is desired.


The rowan's wood is strong and resillient, making excellent walking sticks, and is suitable for carving. It was often used for tool handles, and spindles and spinning wheels were traditionally made of rowan wood. Druids used the bark and berries to dye the garments worn during lunar ceremonies black, and the bark was also used in the tanning process. Rowan twigs were used for divining, particularly for metals.

The berries can be made into or added to a variety of alcoholic drinks, and different Celtic peoples each seem to have had their favourites. As well as the popular wine still made in the Highlands, the Scots made a strong spirit from the berries, the Welsh brewed an ale, the Irish used them to flavour Mead, and even a cider can be made from them. Today rowan berry jelly is still made in Scotland and is traditionally eaten with game.