Information on Wild Cherry

Latin NamePrunus serotina
Other NamesWild Black Cherry
Part UsedBark
Herb FormsTincture, syrup, bulk herb.
AffectsNervous system, Respiratory system
CautionsAvoid large doses; not for long-term use.
Botanical InfoA large tree in the Rose family to 100 feet, four-five feet in diameter with white flowers; grows in the hardwood forests of the eastern U.S.
DescriptionWild cherry bark has a long history of use as an ingredient in cough syrups and is used particularly for dry, nonproductive, and irritating coughs and pleurisy. It is also beneficial for nervous dyspepsia and lack of appetite. Wild cherry contains prunasin, a cyanogenic glycoside, which gives it its antispasmodic and sedative properties, but might make it toxic in large amounts or when taken for longer than several weeks. The remedy is especially indicated for dry, chronic cough with deficiency or productive cough with yellow sputum.
The bark should be used as freshly dried as possible. Soak 4 ounces of the bark in 4 ounces of water for several hours, strain, sweeten with a little honey, and take 2-3 teaspoonfuls, 2-3 x daily. Make a decoction by simmering 4 grams of the bark in 4 ounces of water for a few minutes; let steep for 15 minutes, strain, sweeten to taste, and drink 1/2 cup, 2-3 x daily. As a tincture, put a teaspoon in a little water and sip on it throughout the day.

Wild Cherry has a taste of BITTER, SWEET and a temperature of COOL.


Decoction1/2 cup 2-3 x daily
Tincture1 teaspoon in 1 cup water taken in a day

Ailments Treated by Wild Cherry

AilmentTreatment SupportApplication
Cough, chronicantitussivetea, tincture
Pleurisyantitussivetea, syrup
Cough, acuteexpectorant, antitussivetea, syrups


McGuffin, M. et al. 1997. Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Wren, R.C. 1988. Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs. Essex: C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd.
Reynolds, J., ed. 1993. Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia. London: The Pharmaceutical Press.