Wild cherry - Prunus spp. (in the Rosaceae or Rose family)
Part used: Bark.
Taste/smell: Sweet, bitter, astringent, almond-like taste.
Tendencies: Neutral temperature, drying.
Dosage: Decoction: 1 teaspoon per cup of water; or 1:3.5 dry strength liquid extract: 10-40 drops 1-4 times per day.
Mental picture and specific indications: Wild cherry is indicated when there is need to nourish and tonify the digestive or respiratory system.
Use: (a) Stimulating astringent, (b) Tonifying expectorant, (c) Quiets nervous irritability.
Wild cherry is an astringent tonic to the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts with sedative actions on the nervous and circulatory systems. It is used as a nutritive tonic in pleurisy, pneumonia, whooping cough, nervous cough, acute inflammatory conditions and febrile diseases. It is useful in all irritations of mucous membranes in pulmonary, urinary and gastrointestinal tracts and indicated for chronic bronchitis, chronic diarrhea and coughs of a general nature. Wild cherry quiets nervous irritability associated with the heart also. In Chinese medicine, it is indicated when there is "heart fire blazing," consisting of palpitations, thirst, sores in the mouth and tongue, mental restlessness, agitation, feverishness, insomnia, rapid pulse, hot and dark urine and the swollen yellow-coated tongue has a red tip.
It contains amygdalin-like substance, starch, tannin, gallic acid, resin, hydrocyanic acid, prunasin, a cyanogenic glycoside that increases in green photosynthesizing bark, that is prevalent spring through fall.
Contraindications: Wild cherry contains cyanogenic glycosides that can be toxic in large doses or if used long term. It is contraindicated in pregnancy due to the teratogenic effects. The bark and leaves contain small amounts of cyanogenic glycosides and the seeds contain large amounts.