I remember spending hours during the summer as a child eating black cherries off a tree in our yard. It wasn’t until years later that I learned of the medicinal and nutritive benefits of this plant that is also known as wild cherry. The juice from the berries is a popular folk remedy for gout pain. Studies done on tart cherries confirm that they do help reduce the inflammation and pain associated with gout. Black cherries haven’t had similar studies yet, but there is enough anecdotal evidence for us to assume they have the same benefits. The black cherries are also very rich in antioxidants, especially those known as proanthocyanidins that are found in many purple foods and are gently tone to the lining of our blood vessels.
The bark of wild cherry trees is a popular addition to herbal cough formulas. It is used for all types of coughs particularly those that have been going on for a while. Wild cherry bark is an anti-tussive, meaning that it reduces coughing. It may also be useful for an allergic coughs since it has been shown to mildly reduce histamine reactions in the lungs. Wild cherry bark is astringent so it tones mucus membranes such as the linings of the respiratory, digestive, and urinary tracts. Wild cherry bark is a gentle herb that is most commonly used in conjunction with other herbs to enhance it effects. It is also very safe so it is frequently seen in children’s formulas. Occasionally, the fruit is also added to the formulas to improve the taste.