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Wild Cherry – (Prunus serotina)

Wild Cherry

Wild cherry is native to North America's east coast, although it is now grown in many places around the world. It prefers lots of sun and room to spread its roots. The tree can grow up to 80 feet tall and blooms profusely in the spring. The bark is harvested in the fall and dried carefully. Cherry has been used by Native Americans for many generations. It is a natural expectorant that is even safe to give to children.


Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Cherry has traditionally been used to relieve coughs of all sorts. It can also aid indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome. Cherry has been used for bronchitis and whooping cough, and it can be combined with other herbs to ease asthma. It is also mildly sedative. Cherry stimulates the flow of gastric juices and aids a poor appetite.

Externally – Cherry bark can be soaked in water for a few days in partial sun to create an eye wash that is effective for pink eye and other eye infections.

Other Uses – Cherry timber is used to make furniture, veneers and tool handles. It also makes beautiful cabinets. The fruit is used to make brandy, wine and jelly. They are also eaten fresh and are a favorite of wildlife and songbirds. The tree can also be used to make a green dye.

Herbs to Combine/Supplement

Wild cherry can be mixed with coltsfoot to treat asthma and whooping cough.

Combine with red alder and cedar to stimulate the appetite.

Added to white oak, goldenseal, sarsaparilla, wahoo bark and boneset, cherry can help build your health and aid the complexion.

For a spring tonic, add to hickory bark, prickly ash bark and mullein.

Parts Used

Bark – The inner bark of the cherry tree is used medicinally.


Excessive amounts of wild cherry can theoretically cause poisoning due to cyanide, since cherry contains hydrocyanic acid. Pregnant women should avoid wild cherry. There are no known drug interactions with the herb.

Never eat or make herbal tea from the leaves – they are poisonous.

Preparation and Dosage

Wild cherry is normally taken as a tincture or as a syrup. For these two methods, take 2 to 4 ml up to four times per day for coughs.

Wild cherry can also be taken as an infusion by pouring a cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried bark. Let this solution steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain it and drink up to three times per day.

Wild Cherry Herbal Remedies Top