The benefits of the Wild Cherry Bark herb have been well-known to several civilizations since the days of old. The Native Americans used wild cherry bark tea made from the inner bark to relieve labor pains, lung problems and diarrhea. Meanwhile, Chinese physicians prescribed the tea for coughs.
The cherry tree is officially known as prunus serotina. It is a tree that reaches up to 30 meters tall. It has oblong or ovate leaves and small white flowers growing in lateral racemes. It has rough bark and has a spherical, dark purple fruit that ripens during the late summer and autumn.
Wild cherry bark is the part that is made into tea. The bark has the following active constituents: Acetylcholine, HCN, kaempferol, p-coumaric acid, prunasin, quercetin, scopoletin and tannins. Much of the healing activity of wild cherry bark is said to be associated with scopoletin.
The healing constituents of the wild cherry bark can be derived through infusion as tea. To make wild cherry bark tea, place one teaspoon of wild cherry bark in a cup of boiling water. Then steep for about ten minutes and strain. Honey, sugar or lemon can be added for better taste.
Do not give wild cherry bark tea to children under age two, nursing mothers, and pregnant women. Do not drink more than three cups of wild cherry bark tea a day. Wild cherry leaves, bark and fruit pits contain hydrocyanic acid, which can be harmful when taken long term and in large amounts.
Among some of the health benefits of this hebral tea include:
- Used to help fight cough, bronchitis, pertussis and other problems in the respiratory system. It is largely considered an expectorant and a cleaner of the air passages
- May assist in lowering blood sugar levels
- Believed to help relax the muscles
- May help fight bacteria and fungus
- Thought to help calm the uterus
- Known to be anti-inflammatory