The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

Black Cherry


Common Names | Parts Usually Used | Plant(s) & Culture | Where Found | Medicinal Properties
Legends, Myths and Stories | Uses | Formulas or Dosages | Nutrient Content | How Sold | Warning | Resource Links | Bibliography

Scientific Names

Black Cherry
  • Prunus serotina L.
  • Rosaceae
  • Rose family

Common Names

  • Ajamoda (Sanskrit name)
  • Black cherry
  • Black choke
  • Caban cherry
  • Choke cherry
  • Padmaka (Sanskrit name)
  • Rub cherry
  • Rum cherry
  • Virginia prune
  • Wild cherry

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Parts Usually Used

Dried inner bark. (Leaves and seeds are poisonous)
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Black Cherry Leaves

A deciduous tree that grows 40-90 feet tall. The bark is rough, dark gray fissured to expose inner reddish bark beneath. The leaves are oval to lance-shaped, blunt-toothed margins; smooth above, pale beneath, with whitish brown hairs on the prominent midrib. The flowers are in dense drooping slender racemes or spikes, blooms April to June. Fruits are strings of small, juicy cherries, dark red turning black, at times nearly black cherries.

Best known for its highly valued and beautiful wood.
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Where Found

Dry woods. Nova Scotia to Florida; Texas to North Dakota; Minnesota.

The cherry tree is a native of Asia and was brought to Italy in the first century BC.
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Medicinal Properties

Alterative, astringent, sedative, anti-tussive, digestive, expectorant, carminative, antispasmodic, diuretic
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Black Cherries

Wild Cherry bark is an aromatic bitter, popular both in the form of a decoction or steeped in whiskey, brandy or wine. As an infusion, the bark should NOT be boiled, as it destroys much of the virtues.
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Aromatic inner bark traditionally used in tea or syrup for coughs, “blood tonic”, fevers, colds, flu, laryngitis, cough, whooping cough, bronchial spasms, bronchitis, sore throats, asthma, high blood pressure, colic, edema, arthritis, diarrhea, lung ailments, eye inflammation, swollen lymph glands, tuberculosis, pneumonia, inflammatory fever diseases, and dyspepsia. Useful for general debility with persistent cough, poor circulation, lack of appetite, mild sedative, and expectorant. Fruits used as “poor man’s” cherry substitute.
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Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: steep 1 oz. of the bark in 1 pint of water. Allow to stand over night. Add honey, if desired. Dose: 1/2 wineglassful 3 times a day.
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Nutrient Content

Vitamin C
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How Sold

Supermarket (fruits)
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Bark, leaves, and seeds contain a cyanide-like glycoside, puransin, which converts (when digested) to the Highly Toxic hydrocyanic acid. Toxins are most abundant in bark harvested in the fall.

Should be used only under medical supervision.
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Resource Links Fruits and vegetables protect against the genotoxicity of heterocyclic aromatic amines activated by human xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes expressed in immortal mammalian cells. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study. Tart cherry juice decreases oxidative stress in healthy older men and women.

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Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! An Instant Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Pamela Forey and Ruth Lindsay, Crescent Books (January 27, 1992).

Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

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