GAELIC NAME: Caorthann
LATIN NAME: Sorbus
COMMON / FOLK NAMES:
MEDICINAL PART: Bark and berries. (berries must
be cooked before use)
PLACE OF ORIGIN:
Britain and Ireland. Also Europe, North
Africa and Asia Minor.
HABITAT: Prefers light, peaty soils with
good drainage, not too dry, likes open unshaded areas with plenty of sunshine
but not too hot. Likes temperate zones.
DESCRIPTION: A hardy deciduous tree which
produces a large number of berries in autumn. Can be coppiced, new growth
from planted twigs. Can grow up to a height of 18 metres and can live to
over a hundred years. Leaves alternate and pinnately compound, 13-23 cm
long, leaflets 2-6.5 cm long, serrate. Terminal buds, woolly, 13 mm long,
lateral buds have several scales. Fruit (6-9 mm diam.) yellow to red, in showy
FLOWERING PERIOD: May to June produces sprays
of white flowers. First fruits appear in September and are ripe by
Insects and Air
Grown from seed, dispersed by birds.
CONSTITUENTS: Bitter essence, Prussic
Acid, Carotene, Tannic Essence, Mineral, Organic Acid, Parasorbic Acid, Pectin,
Provitamin A, Sorbic Acid, Sorbitol, Sugar, Vitamin C.
The hard pale brown wood of the rowan was
used to make bows in the middle ages, also used for tool handles, bowls and
plates and for general woodcraft. The berries were used to make rowan
jelly which was eaten with meat and helped prevent gout.
berries from the Rowan were processed for jams, pies, and bittersweet
wines. They also made a tea to treat urinary tract problems, haemorhoids and
diarrhea. The fresh juice of the berries is a mild laxative, and helps to soothe
inflammed mucous membranes as a gargle. Containing high concentrations of
Vitamin C, the berries were also ingested to cure scurvy - a Vitamin C
today, one of the sugars in the fruit is sometimes given intravenously to reduce
pressure in an eyeball with glaucoma.
however, must be taken when using the berries. They are reported to contain a
cancer-causing compound, parasorbic acid. The poisonous elements are neutralized
by cooking the berries though.
bark was also employed for several medicinal purposes. A decoction of the
bark was considered a blood cleanser and was used to treat diarrhea, nausea, and
wood of European Mountain Ash is a tough, strong wood used in making tool
handles, cart-wheels, planks, and beams. The Rowan was once a tree of ill repute
in Northern Europe, where the Celtic Druids had venerated it. It was associated
with witchcraft in 15th-16th century England where it was a symbol of paganism
and the supernatural.
LORE: The name aucuparia is derived from
the latin word avis for bird, and capere to catch as the fruit
attracts birds so much.
tree is particularly good for all rituals associated with empowerment, it
represents the male (yang) essence, call on the gods Dagda, and Lugh for courage
and protection in difficult circumstances. In times of strife and war the
rowan is particularly good for protection and instilling courage. To
increase virility and male strength carry a small piece of rowan inscribed with
Used in all protection spells particularly from fire, or
lightning. In Ireland it was hung in
the house to prevent fire charming, hung around the necks of hounds to increase
their speed, and used to keep the dead from rising. It also had the power to
protect people and animals from evil spirits. The
held it in particular esteem, for its physical healing as well as its magical
Herb Gender :: Herb
Stories, Myths and Articles
associated with Rowan
Hostel of the Quicken Tree
and the Phantoms
Flight From Teamhair
House of the Quicken Trees