Maybe like me, as a girl, you enjoyed picking and eating cherries straight from the tree in the yard. But did you know there are more treasures in a cherry tree–like its bark? Wild cherry bark has been used medicinally for centuries. It can be a lifesaver for coughs and respiratory illnesses, as well as help with digestive issues, skin irritations, and as a mild sedative. Let’s dig into all the wild cherry bark health benefits.
What is Wild Cherry Bark?
Wild cherry bark is precisely what it sounds like—bark from the wild cherry tree. The trees can grow up to 100 feet and have a rough, reddish-brown bark with dark green oval leaves. Wild cherry trees grow throughout North America. Native Americans traditionally stripped the inside bark of young trees, then dried and ground it to use medicinally. They used wild cherry bark as a remedy for various ailments, including coughs, lung congestion, pain relief during childbirth, and digestive issues, and as an astringent wash for sores. It’s believed the settlers learned about wild cherry bark benefits from the Natives and began using it in the same ways. Even today, wild cherry bark is still commonly found in commercial cough syrup and lozenges.
Wild Cherry Bark Health Benefits
Wild cherry bark is considered a medicinal herb due to its antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer properties. It contains phytochemicals such as quercetin and kaempferol and is rich in multiple minerals, including calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
Wild cherry bark works so well for coughs and lung congestion due to its expectorant and decongestant attributes. Wild cherry bark syrup helps break up and expel mucus in the bronchial tubes so that you can breathe easier, plus it improves lymphatic system function.
Wild cherry bark syrup is excellent for coughs, colds, and flu, as well as other respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies, sinus congestion, pneumonia, whooping cough, croup, bronchitis, and laryngitis. Besides being a powerful expectorant, wild cherry bark also has antitussive properties, so it can quickly and effectively suppress coughs.
Thanks to its antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, wild cherry bark can also be used as a remedy to calm digestive complaints such as diarrhea, colitis, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, gas, and indigestion.
Thenervine (relaxing of the nervous system) characteristics found in wild cherry bark are often used as a mild sedative. It can relax muscle spasms, ease cramping, and relieve tense muscles and headaches. Many herbal practitioners swear by wild cherry bark to soothe menstrual cramps.
Wild cherry bark is also beneficial topically as it is soothing to irritated tissue thanks to its astringent, anti-inflammatory, and demulcent (soothes irritated tissue) attributes. It’s commonly used in creams to soothe chronic skin conditions like psoriasis, acne, and eczema and to ease the irritation of shingles and rashes. It’s also great to use as an eyewash for puffy, inflamed eyes.
Wild Cherry Bark Syrup Benefits
You just can’t go wrong with wild cherry bark syrup for coughs. As mentioned earlier, it has expectorant and decongestant attributes, which help break up and dry up mucus in the respiratory tract. In addition, it has astringent, antispasmodic, demulcent, and anti-inflammatory abilities, all of which make it more effective for easing coughing spells. Wild cherry bark syrup is excellent for persistent “wet” coughs and unproductive, irritating coughs that linger well after a cold or flu. Because of its nervine properties, it relaxes the whole body, helping you sleep through the night when congestion and coughing would usually keep you awake.
Wild Cherry Bark Syrup Recipe
If you have trouble getting your little ones to take their medicine, you won’t have to struggle with this recipe! My kids love it, making it much easier to get them strong and healthy again!
If you have trouble getting your little ones to take their medicine, you won’t have to struggle with this recipe!
- Combine water, herbs, and berries in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer and cook until liquid has reduced to approximately 1 cup (about 30-40 minutes).
- Strain the herbs through a coffee filter. If the liquid has boiled down to below 1 cup, add enough water to reach that level.
- Cool until the liquid is warm, and stir in honey. (Adding honey to hot liquid will destroy the live enzymes and degrade the natural health benefits.)
This wild cherry bark syrup will last a few weeks to months if you keep it in the refrigerator. Due to the honey in the recipe, do not give this syrup to children under one year of age.
- Adults can take a teaspoon up to once an hour.
- Children can take ½ teaspoon as needed, up to once an hour.
I add a couple of extra goodies into my wild cherry bark syrup for even more healing wholesomeness. First, mullein—because it naturally opens constricted airways and eases inflammation. Mullein is a must for any herbal lung blend, and this recipe gives wild cherry bark a little extra support in kicking coughs and congestion.
I also infuse elderberry into my wild cherry bark syrup recipe because its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties and high vitamin A, B, and C content boost the immune system to shorten the duration and severity of the illness. Plus, it gives the syrup more berry flavor, which my kids love! Check out my recipe for elderberry syrup recipe for immune support HERE.