Wild cherry bark (Prunus serotina) is a tree that is effective as an herbal remedy for coughs and congestion. The herb is believed to treat colds and suppress coughs, and as such is used in certain cough syrups, cough drops, and lozenges.
In addition, wild cherry bark is used as a natural treatment for certain health conditions, including whooping coughs, sore throat, fever, asthma, diarrhea, and bronchitis. Wild cherry bark is also said to prevent cancer, alleviate pain, stimulate hair growth, and boost the digestive system.
The herb contains therapeutic properties due to its beneficial constituents, which include caffeic acid, tannins, quercetin, p-coumaric acid, acetylcholine, kaempferol as well as benzaldehyde. It also possesses a number of minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Wild cherry bark is available in tea, syrup, and capsule form.
The Health Benefits of Wild Cherry Bark
Let’s take a closer look at the amazing health benefits of wild cherry bark.
Aids the Digestive System
In addition to its other impressive health benefits, wild cherry bark tea is commonly used by herbalists to aid digestion. In fact, sometimes, the herb is used to help treat common digestive problems like indigestion, bloating, diarrhea, and, gas.
In addition, wild cherry bark tea can immediately provide relief after eating a heavy meal, which can help lower the risk of indigestion. The astringent properties of the herb also help to relieve cases of colitis and diarrhea.
Treats Respiratory Conditions
Traditionally, wild cherry bark has been used as a treatment for coughs and other respiratory issues. It contains natural expectorant properties that can help to loosen up and expel phlegm or mucus from the respiratory system. Wild cherry bark tea or syrups can help free up the bronchial tubes to ease breathing.
Apart from coughs and colds, the herb is also used to treat a range of other respiratory conditions, including catarrh, tuberculosis, bronchitis, scrofula, and asthma. In addition to its expectorant abilities, wild cherry bark contains antitussive qualities, which makes it effective for suppressing coughs. The herb can help relieve chronic coughs as well as nervous coughs. Owing to its amazing natural abilities, wild cherry bark is commonly used as an ingredient in the making of commercial cough syrups, drops, and lozenges.
Wild cherry bark tea may prove helpful in protecting against several types of cancer. However, it important to note that there is currently little to no scientific evidence to establish this claim.
According to some studies, wild cherry bark extract can help halt the growth and multiplication of colorectal cancer cells. Further research is, however, needed before wild cherry bark tea is recommended as a treatment for chronic health conditions, including cancer.
Has Sedative Effects
Wild cherry bark acts as a sedative and is a natural remedy for calming the nerves. It can also help treat the symptoms of anxiety, including indigestion and insomnia. According to studies, the herb may also help regulate the heartbeat. While it is believed in some quarters that wild cherry bark can lower high blood pressure, there is no scientific backing for the claim.
Wild cherry bark tea is thought to be a safe and natural remedy for mild anxiety and stress. Similar to several other herbal teas, the herb is a good remedy for calming the nerves without the side effects associated with conventional sedatives.
The soothing effects of wild cherry bark tea can also help relieve headaches, muscular tensions, and cramps. According to some herbal experts, the herb makes a soothing tea for women experiencing painful menstruation.
Alleviates Skin Conditions
Wild cherry bark is also effective for internal use. It can be applied topically to help treat certain chronic skin conditions such as rashes, eczema, acne, and psoriasis. It is also effective as an eyewash to help reduce inflammation and puffiness in the eyes.
Destroys Parasitic Worms
Traditionally, wild cherry bark has been used to help treat infections caused by certain worms and parasites. The bark has antibacterial, antiviral, and anthelmintic properties, giving it the ability to kill parasitic worms.
Side Effects and Precautions
There aren’t enough studies on the safety of wild cherry bark supplements. Therefore, it is important to note that:
- A compound known as prunasin in wild cherry bark breaks down to produce the chemicals hydrocyanic acid and benzaldehyde. These chemicals can be toxic when taken orally, especially if ingested in larger amounts or for longer periods.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should steer clear of wild cherry bark.
- Wild cherry bark may be harmful to people with kidney or liver disorders.
- The herb may contain sedative effects.
- Since dietary supplements are not tested for safety and are largely unregulated, keep in mind that they may be contaminated with substances like metals.
- While wild cherry bark can ease coughs, colds, and other health conditions, it is advisable to remember that there is not enough research to establish the safety of its use.
The Bottom Line
Wild cherry is a tree whose bark and fruit are used for medicinal purposes. The herb is effective for the treatment of lung inflammation or bronchitis, colds, whooping cough, as well as other lung disorders. In addition, wild cherry bark is also used for treating pain, gout, diarrhea, digestive problems, and even cancer. Also, the herb is also used in treating cough syrups due to its expectorant effects (which clears out mucus and phlegm), sedative properties (which induces sleep), and cough-suppressing abilities.
Wild cherry is also used as a flavoring agent in foods and beverages. The seeds can be eaten as snacks and its fruit is used in jams, syrups, alcohol, and can be eaten fresh. Wild cherry bark possesses chemicals that might help reduce swelling or inflammation.
However, using wild cherry for a long-term or in large amounts can be harmful to health. This is because the herb contains chemicals that are poisonous when taken in large amounts. For people considering using it, it is essential to talk with a doctor first to check if it is safe for use.