White Ash : Ash as Tool and Medicine

White Ash B&W

A stately white ash. Shipp, E.S. (1932).

Various medicinal uses have been pioneered over the centuries, with boiled bark solutions being used as a laxative and diuretic by the Iroquois to the roots being utilized to treat snake bites. Some Native American tribes assigned it special medicinal value, with the Seneca believing it to be an increaser for the propensity of pregnancy.

From a practical standpoint, ash is quite versatile, securing uses that are ultimately very different from each other. Not only does it make excellent firewood, the high pliability of ash makes it an ideal choice in the production of things as varied as early airplanes and baseball bats. The wood is also valued in the making of instruments for the clear resonant tone it provides. More direct uses include use as dyes for clothing and the application of bark to the skin to reduce smell during a hunt. Another Native American tribe, the Wabanaki, is renowned for their intricate baskets woven from the wood of the black ash—but the use of the tree in their process is no small coincidence.