Ailantus altissima

Plant Name

Ailantus Altissima(Chinese ash) Swingle

Botanical Info

Large tree 30 m heigh, with broad lace crown and long pinnate compound leaves. Simaroubaceae family.


Native to China. Cultivated in the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Ukraine as an ornamental plant; it is common in warm climate countries.

Chemical Content

The mature and dried fruit contains bitter substances (quassin), quassinoids, and ailanthone derivatives.

Traditional Use and Activity

Ailanthus fruit tincture is in the anginol (echinor) drug, which has been used for different types of angina. The fruits are used in homeopathy for renal and cholelithiasis diseases, and as an anti-cancer agent. Flowers, fresh fruit, and young bark are used in traditional medicine for the treatment of scarlet fever and diphtheria. Bark contains astringents, antispasmodics, parasiticidals, narcotics, cardiac depressants. Leaves produce dermatitis, which accumulation in well-water can cause chronic gastritis. Many quassinoids and ailanthone derivatives are vermifuge and amoebicidal.

Constituents of the bark and stem, particularly ailanthone, have antimalarial activity in vitro against Plasmodium falciparum.