Botanical Name : Zanthoxylum limonella
Common Names: Badrang , “prickly ash” and “Hercules club”
Habitat :Zanthoxylum limonella is native to the middle latitudes of North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. (found in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Indo-China, Peninsular Malaysia, Java, the Lesser Sunda Island, Moluccas (Wetar), Sulawesi, the Philippines and southern Papua New Guinea)
Zanthoxylum limonella is a deciduous, aromatic, medium-sized tree reaching a height of 35 meters . The green young bark is covered with spines while mature bark is grey with straight or ascending prickles of 2 – 3 cm . Small prickles occur on the twigs, and all parts of tree have a characteristic lemon-like smell. The leaves are paripinnate or imparipinnate, 30 – 40 cm long. The leaflets are opposite to sub opposite, ovate to elliptical, 7 – 13 cm long, 3 – 5 cm wide, pellucid dots, the margins entire to glandular crenate. Inflorescense panicles have a terminal or axillary, 8 – 14 cm long. The flowers are white or pale yellow, 2 – 3 mm long, 4 sepals and 4 petals. The male flowers have 4 stamina and 1 rudimentary carpel while female flowers with ovary 1 carpellate. The fruit is a follicle, subglobose, 6 – 7 mm in diameter, with 1 seed per carpel, green turning red when ripe. Seeds are hard and black in colour, 5 mm in diameter.
The different parts of Z. limonella have been used in Thai folk medicine. The bark contains febrifugal, sudorific, and diuretic properties, while the essential oil of fruit is used for treatment of dental caries . In India traditional medicine, the bark has been used to treat cardiac, respiratory diseases, tooth infection, stomach infection and rheumatism . The fruits are used as spice and the essential oil extracted from the fruits is known as “Mullilam oil” used as anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anticholera, diarrhoea, hypocholesterolemic, mosquito repellent and soothing agent for dental caries. The Kanikkars tribe prepare a paste of hard spines prepared by rubbing them against rock with water and apply the extract to the breast of a nursing mother to relief pain and also to increase milk supply. In the Phillippines, the pounded bark mixed with oil is a good formula to treat stomach ache. In addition, the bark decoction is also taken to treat chest pain and chewed bark applied as antidote for snake bites .
The bark and fruit are attributed with stomachic properties. Mullilam oil, an orange-scented, steam-distilled extract from the fruits, is reported to have a variety of medical applications. The methanolic extract of the Zanthoxylum rhetsa Roxb. stem bark, given by oral route to mice at doses of 250 and 500 mg/kg, significantly reduced the abdominal contraction induced by acetic acid and the diarrheal episodes induced by castor oil in mice.