Indigenous to eastern North America and the mountainous areas of Central America, the wild cherry (also called black cherry or rum cherry) was first recorded in Europe in the mid-19th century when it was imported and planted as a hardy species for pavements and open areas. The wild cherry’s seeds are dispersed by birds and as the tree grows rapidly and has a dense canopy, it is spreading widely across Europe, outcompeting indigenous species. However, in its home areas, the bark and root of the tree were known to native American peoples for their ability to relieve disorders of the chest and lungs, as an expectorant, to treat diarrhoea and to ease pain during labour.
Bark of the root, trunk and branches.
Wild cherry contains a volatile oil associated with hydrocyanic acid along with calcium salts, gallic acid, iron salts, lignin, potassium salts, starch and tannins.
Modern practitioners recommend wild cherry to:
- Soothe coughs caused by conditions that affect the respiratory system, such as colds, allergy and hayfever.
- Soothe and calm the nervous system.
- Promote the flow of gastric juices, helping with dyspepsia and other digestive disorders.
Flora Force Products containing Wild Cherry
Domestic & culinary uses
Wild cherry is used as a flavouring agent in foods and beverages. The fully ripened fruits can be used to make jams.
Prunus serotina is a deciduous tree that can reach 30 metres in height. The lance-shaped leaves are glossy and the tree bears clusters of white, fragrant blossoms. The ripened cherries are a very dark red. In South Africa, as in many parts of Europe, it has been declared an invasive alien.
- By Rasbak (Own work)