Wild cherry trees are sun-loving deciduous trees, native to the central and northern parts of the United States. Full-grown trees will be between 50 and 80 feet tall. They have distinctive dark grey to black bark when mature, but start out with a smooth, banded greenish bark. The bark on mature trees appears very rough and broken and comes off of the tree easily. The leaves are dark green and shiny on top and lighter green and slightly fuzzy on the bottom. They are about 3 inches long and lightly serrated. Small white flowers appear in early spring before the leaves. These develop into bitter, pea-sized purple-black fruits that ripen by late summer. Wild Cherry Bark was used in Traditional Chinese medicine as a cough suppressant for dry, unproductive coughs.
History and Folklore:
According to Buddhist legend, Maya, the virgin mother of Buddha was supported by a holy cherry tree during pregnancy.
Cultivation and Harvest:
Harvest the bark during the dormant season, before the buds appear. Prune large branches from the tree, or take broken branches. It is the inner bark you want. If there is a lot of the scaly bark, break that off and discard. Use a knife or potato peeler to scrape away the thin layer of inner bark. It will be a different color than the heart wood. Dry the bark immediately after peeling. This should not take long. Once dried, it can be ground for use in teas and tinctures.
Do not use if pregnant or nursing.
Traditional Herbal Actions:
Astringent, Antispasmodic, Anti-inflammatory, Bitter
Black Cherry, Rum Cherry, Choke Cherry
Tincture Ingredients: Cherry Bark (Prunus serotina)
*These statements have not been verified by the FDA and is only referenced here as a fun fact and/or for historical commentary, is not to be used as medical advice in any way. Consult your doctor before ingesting any herbal product.
None of these items or statements are approved by FDA. Consult your physician before taking any supplement. Do not take herbs or tinctures during pregnancy without consulting your healthcare provider. This product is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. All information here is for entertainment and educational purposes only.