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Herb Reference Guide

Wild Cherry

History

Wild Cherry, black cherry, or sometimes called chokecherry is a common sight growing over much of the eastern United States. This species grows to maturity at a height of 50 to 60 feet but can reach up to 100 feet tall. The wood is highly sought after in furniture making, and the bitter-sweet fruits have been used in making jams, jellies, wine, and of course cough drops. The white fragrant blossoms foretell of spring, and give way to the tart fruits in August to September. Most Native American tribes have made use of the whole tree for building as well as using the fruits and bark as food and medicine. Wild Cherry Bark was officially listed in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1820 through 1975.

Function

Since most people have tasted a Cherry cough drop and experienced some form of relief, it comes as no surprise that the use and function of Wild Cherry bark relates strongly to the respiratory tract. The lungs excrete the various chemicals, namely Prussic acid which is a byproduct of the digestive breakdown of cyanogenic glycosides found in Wild Cherry bark. Upon their excretion these and other chemicals in Wild Cherry support a healthy cough response and also support normal production and movement of mucosal secretions. The function also includes the ability to calm bronchial and respiratory muscles tension.

Uses of Wild Cherry

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

starch, resins, tannins, lignins, essential oils, benzaldehyde, caffeic acid, kaempferol, p-coumaric acid, quercetin, scopoletin, ursolic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc

Parts Used

  • Bark

Important precautions

Not for use during pregnancy. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.

Additional Resources

MacDermot, J.H.; Food and Medicinal Plants used by the Indians of British Columbia
Can Med Assoc J. 1949 August; 61(2): 177ľ183.
Hoffmann, D. 1990 The New Holistic Herbal, Second Edition, Element, Shaftesbury