Wild Cherry

Scientific Name: Prunus Serotina

Family: Rosaceae

Other names: Black Cherry

Cautions: Seed contains cyanide-containing compounds

Herbarium Image: here

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Description

Native, flowering tree reaching up to 80ft in height. Fragrant white flowers flower in the spring in raceme clusters. Small red cherries ripen in the late summer to dark purple.

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Traditional Medicinal Use

Bark has been used to treat cough, colds/flu, fever, as well as to expel worms and treat diarreha by the Cherokee, Delaware, Iroquois and Lumbee. (1-2)

Health

Wild cherry is commonly used in Western Herbal medicine as a remedy for colds and coughs. It is also found as flavoring agent for many cough drops and syrups. Scientific evidence has shown that the bark extract inhibits the growth of oral bacteria (S. aureus). (3)

Nutrition

The Waccamaw Siouan and Haliwa-Saponi still enjoy eating the wild fruit during the summer months. Cherries a widely cultivated now and can be found in grocery stores in many forms (e.g, jellies, pies, etc.).

Citations

1. Boughman, A.L.a.O., L.O. , Herbal Remedies of the Lumbee Indians. 2003, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc.

2. Native American Ethnobotany Database: http://naeb.brit.org/uses/search/?string=prunus+serotina

3. S. Omar et al. 2000. Antimicrobial activity of extracts of eastern North American hardwood trees and relation to traditional medicine. J Ethnopharm 73: 161-170

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