Wild Cherry Bark
Veterinarian Reviewed on June 7, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Wild Cherry Bark
Cherry trees are popular because of their beauty especially when at their fullest bloom. But only a few people know of the cherry tree’s significant contributions to both ancient and contemporary medicine.
Origin and History
The cherry tree is a huge, deciduous plant with a rough bark and dark green pointy leaves. It is characterized by tiny but still showy white flowers during spring. Its fruits are, of course, the staple of many homes – the small and round fruits with colors ranging from the reddest red to the darkest purple.
Most people think that the cherry tree originated from North America since it is present in large groves in many areas of the United States and Canada. The truth, however, is that the cherry tree is a native of Asian countries like Japan but was only imported to North America and Europe.
In ancient times, the cherry tree served many functions including symbolic, aesthetic and medicinal values. Buddhists believe that the cherry tree symbolized virginity and purity although it was also associated with fertility, which explains its strong association with the health of pregnant women. Other symbolic meanings included education and disguises.
Its medicinal values were mainly for lung disorders. Ancient peoples used the bark of the cherry tree to treat a wide variety of ailments. Cherokees used it to ease the pains of childbirth, the Mohegans treated dysentery with it and the Meskwakis used it as a sedative.
Other effective uses for the bark of the cherry tree are as an anti-tussive and anti-asthma. The tea from its bark was used to treat Coughs and to expel mucus from the lungs. Such is its efficacy in these respects that the cherry tree was included in the Pharmacopoeia list of the United States from 1820 to 1975, thus, proving the anecdotal evidence suggested by the Native Americans.
Of course, the cherry tree was also valued for its beautiful appearance and its delicious fruits. With such a wide variety of uses, it’s no wonder that man is attracted to the tree.
In modern times, the cherry tree still has a good reputation as the source of effective herbal medicine. Herbal supplements that come in the form of teas and capsules have been developed with the cherry tree as the main component for the treatment of similar ailments as in ancient times. Many herbal supplements also boast of cherry tree as a secondary ingredient because of its antiseptic properties.
In Germany and Mexico, the cherry tree is also being studied for its anti-cancer properties. Although the study itself is highly controversial, the initial results appear to be promising. For now, we suggest taking fresh cherries and taking in cherry supplements to take advantage of its rich antioxidant content.
Of course, cherry trees are also popular choices for furniture pieces because of their durability, beauty and easy availability. Cherries can also be eaten raw or enjoyed as jams, candies, syrups and even wine the whole year-round.
Like most supplements, certain precautions must be made when using cherry tree supplements. First, children less than two years of age must not take any cherry-related medications like herbal preparations. Second, pregnant women and lactating mothers must avoid taking cherry supplements, too. Third, even in relatively healthy individuals, care must be taken so that big doses can be avoided. Take note that the entire tree is composed of hydrocyanic acid, which can be poisonous in large amounts.
The wild cherry tree bark is, indeed, very useful in the field of medicine. Its contributions to herbal medicine and in other fields of human interest are worth noting.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan