Herb: Szechuan Pepper


Latin name: Zanthoxylum simulans


Synonyms: Zanthoxylum bungei


Family: Rutaceae (Rue Family, Citrus Family)



Medicinal use of Szechuan Pepper:

Astringent, diaphoretic, emmenagogue. The pericarp is anaesthetic, diuretic, parasiticide and vasodilator. It is used in the treatment of gastralgia and dyspepsia due to cold with vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, ascariasis and dermal diseases. It has a local anaesthetic action and is parasiticide against the pork tapeworm (Taenia solium). The pericarp contains geraniol. In small doses this has a mild diuretic action, though large doses will inhibit the excretion of urine. There is a persistent increase in peristalsis at low concentration, but inhibition at high concentration. The leaves are carminative, stimulant and sudorific. The fruit is carminative, diuretic, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. The seed is antiphlogistic and diuretic. A decoction of the root is digestive and also used in the treatment of snakebites. The resin contained in the bark, and especially in that of the roots, is powerfully stimulant and tonic.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Shrub

Height:
4 m
(13 feet)

Flovering:
June


Scent:
Scented
Shrub

Habitat of the herb:

Virgin wilds, hillsides and open woods.

Edible parts of Szechuan Pepper:

The fruit is dried and used as a condiment. A pepper flavour, it is stronger and more pungent than black pepper. It can be used whole or ground into a powder and used as a table seasoning. A light roasting brings out more of the flavour. It is an ingredient of the famous Chinese "five spice" mixture.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions.

Cultivation of Szechuan Pepper:

Virgin wilds, hillsides and open woods.

Known hazards of Zanthoxylum simulans:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.