The Physiomedical Dispensatory by William Cook, M.D., 1869
FLOWERING ASH, MANNA-TREE
Description: This is a species of the genus Fraxinus that is found in Southern Europe along the slopes of mountain ranges. It is sometimes called Ornus Europoea; and one variety is the F. rotundifolia. The generic characters are the same as in the preceding article, though the flowers are polygamous instead of being distinctly dioecious. The specific characters are as follows: A small tree, fifteen to twenty-five feet high. Leaves opposite, large, unequally pinnate; leaflets seven to nine pairs, large, sub-petiolate, lance-oval, entire at the base, serrate toward the apex. Flowers small, with yellowish-white corollas, growing in large and crowded panicles, which are not so long as the leaf. Fruit a flat, linear-lanceolate samara, with but a single brown seed. The variety rotundifolia has smooth and roundish leaflets, often of but four pairs.
This tree yields a rather abundant exudation from its stems; and this dries into concrete masses, often an inch or more in length, yellowish-white in color, and abounding in a peculiar sugar combined with some extractive matter. The masses are of irregular shapeusually flattened, (whence the name flake manna,) and have an insipid kind of sweetness, but leave at last a slightly pungent taste. A variety known in commerce as fatty manna, is in small and soft masses, of a dirty yellowish-brown color, and a rather nauseating sweetness. It is impure; and so also is the variety known as sorts, which is also dark colored. The manna sugar (mannite) constitutes about seventy percent of the flake article; and may be obtained in needle-shaped crystals by boiling in alcohol. It is white, without smell, and quite sweet; soluble in five parts of cold water and three of boiling water; soluble in boiling alcohol, but only sparingly in cold alcohol. In this latter peculiarity it differs from cane and grape sugars. The medical properties seem to reside wholly in the extractive matter, and not in the sugar; but both are soluble in water.
Properties and Uses: The exudation manna is a very mild laxative, acting slowly without stimulation, and commendable on account of its unusual sweetness. It seems more like a condiment than a medicine, on which account it is quite acceptable to young children. It is not, however, easy of solution in the stomach; hence large quantities may be followed by some flatulence, and even by griping. This is readily obviated by combining it with a little anise or fennel. The commoner qualities are often quite griping. It is mostly used for children and delicate women. An adult may use an ounce or more, and a child one or two drachms, daily. It may be eaten, or dissolved in milk or water. It is usually prescribed in infusion with such cathartics as senna and magnesia. It enters into the Sirup of Senna.
Medical Herbalism journal and medherb.com