Szechuan Pepper (Zanthoxylum simulans)

Shrub
Z. bungei.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Szechuan Pepper
Zanthoxylum simulans
Rutaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    Astringent, diaphoretic, emmenagogue[116, 178].

    The pericarp is anaesthetic, diuretic, parasiticide and vasodilator[176]. It is used in the treatment of gastralgia and dyspepsia due to cold with vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, ascariasis and dermal diseases[176]. It has a local anaesthetic action and is parasiticide against the pork tapeworm (Taenia solium)[176].

    The pericarp contains geraniol. In small doses this has a mild diuretic action, though large doses will inhibit the excretion of urine[176]. There is a persistent increase in peristalsis at low concentration, but inhibition at high concentration[176].

    The leaves are carminative, stimulant and sudorific[147, 218].

    The fruit is carminative, diuretic, stimulant, stomachic and tonic[147, 218].

    The seed is antiphlogistic and diuretic[218].

    A decoction of the root is digestive and also used in the treatment of snakebites[218].

    The resin contained in the bark, and especially in that of the roots, is powerfully stimulant and tonic[82].

  • Edible Use

    The fruit is dried and used as a condiment[46, 61, 105, 177]. A pepper flavour, it is stronger and more pungent than black pepper[183]. It can be used whole or ground into a powder and used as a table seasoning[183]. A light roasting brings out more of the flavour[206]. It is an ingredient of the famous Chinese ‘five spice’ mixture[206].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help[113]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage[78]. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions[113].
Easily grown in loamy soils in most positions, but prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade[1, 11, 200]. A plant has been growing well for many years in deep woodland shade at Cambridge Botanical gardens, it was fruiting heavily in autumn 1996[K]. Cultivated for its seed, which is used as a condiment in China[46, 61]. Flowers are formed on the old wood[206]. The bruised leaves are strongly aromatic[245]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
E. Asia – China.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.