Wild cherry bark (Prunus serotina) is a medicinal herb derived from the black cherry tree that has been used for hundreds of years due to its antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer properties. It is rich in minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium, and magnesium and phytochemicals such as quercetin and kaempferol. Wild cherry bark also contains vasorelaxant, expectorant, and decongestant properties and can significantly help to remove mucus from the lungs and increase lymphatic system function.
This is why wild cherry bark is a common ingredient found in cough syrups and is an effective remedy for respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, laryngitis, asthma, pertussis, colds, flu, and chronic lung congestion. Wild cherry bark is also an excellent digestive remedy and is known to help soothe digestive ailments such as gastritis, diarrhea, colitis, flatulence, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Wild cherry bark is also often used as a mild sedative to relax muscle spasms, reduce hypertension, ease cramping, and provide for a more restful night’s sleep. Wild cherry has been shown to help slow down cancer cell growth through its ability to help “switch off” cancer cells ability to duplicate and grow particularly in the colon area.
Topically, wild cherry bark is beneficial as an eyewash for inflamed, puffy eyes and or as a cream to help soothe skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, and rashes. Wild cherry bark tea can be made by simmering 2 teaspoons of dried bark in 2 cups of water for at least 30 minutes. Allow to cool, strain and sweeten with raw honey if desired. Wild cherry bark can be found in extract, syrup, tincture, tea, capsule, or cream form online or at your local health food store.
Make your own Wild Cherry Bark Cough Syrup
Wild Cherry Bark Cough Syrup
(Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar)
- 2 parts wild cherry bark
- 1 part licorice root
- 1 part ginger root
- 1 part cinnamon bark
- 1 part fennel seeds
- 1 part elecampane
- 1/8 part orange or lemon peel
- Sweetener – raw local honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup
- Mix all herbs except the wild cherry bark and cover completely with water. Simmer gently until the liquid is reduced by half. Next, turn the heat off and add the wild cherry bark. Allow the mixture to infuse for 4 – 12 hours.
- When the infusion time is over, strain and compost the herbs.
- Measure the amount of liquid you have and allow it to cool. Double your liquid amount to know how much honey to use. For example, if you have 1/2 cup of liquid, use 1 cup of honey.
- You can also add a bit of black cherry juice concentrate at this point for flavor. This syrup will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.
You may omit or add anything you wish.