Wild Cherry Bark

I’m having a hard time sourcing wild cherry bark. I’m wondering if my domestic cherry tree bark is ok to use for cough syrup and tea blends?

Comments

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    I think so... I have plenty of choke cherries and such that grow around me. But, I also used to live on a property with a big, legit fruit cherry tree. Wow, that was nice! I think cherries really are my favorite fruit. I always used the bark interchangeably. Perhaps though, if a tree is putting all its energy into the fruit, the bark could be less flavorful? But, I usually use twigs, really.

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    I have many black cherry trees on my property we also call them choke cherries. Is that the same tree you are looking for?

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    @VickiP possibly.

    I can order it through Mountain Rose herbs, but would love it if I could grow/harvest my own. In Oregon (where I live) the native wild cherry is Prunus emarginata.

    The variety MRH use is :  Prunus serotina.

    There are many common names like black cherry, choke cherry and bitter cherry.

    Im growing a domestic dwarf cherry “Northstar pie cherry” and an ornamental weeping cherry “snow fountain” which DOES produce tiny little cherries that are a sweet punch in the mouth but mostly seed. Both trees are very young and I’m not ready to scrape the bark on them, but it would be great if these could be my source in the future.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin
    edited December 2020

    @herbantherapy We have 3 varieties of wild cherry here in BC. Bitter Cherry (P. emarginata), Choke Cherry (P. virginiana) and Pin Cherry (P. pennsylvanica). There are also some stands of Black Cherry (P. serotina) that have escaped from planting in the extreme southwest of the province. These are the species generally used in making wild cherry bark medicines. Being in Oregon you should also have all three of the native species, although Pin Cherry might be harder to locate.

    This is a link to the Eflora BC page for plant identification. It will take you directly to the Prunus section and you can click on any of the varieties to get species information and an interactive location map. Just click on the tab that says View Atlas Page. You should be able to find wild cherry bark somewhere in your area. https://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/DB_Query/QueryForm.aspx?hfl=1&f=1&Genus=Prunus&lifeform=0&Thumbs=Y

    As far as I know, the bark from sweet cherries is not used in herbal medicine but I just learned that the stems from sweet cherries are quite often used as an astringent. (YARFA, Yet Another Rose Family Astringent) :) Not sure about the sour pie cherry varieties like Northstar or Montmorency. I have a Montmorency and a couple of other non-identified black pie cherries. The black ones are not on grafted stock and put out suckers which will grow into producing plants. They are heritage trees brought in by the first settlers in the area but no record of what they are. I will continue to do some research to see if the sour cherry bark can be used similarly to the wild cherries.

    This is a link to an article from the East West School of Planetary Herbology. https://planetherbs.com/blogs/lesleys-blog/wild-cherry-bark-and-sweet-cherry-stems-as-medicine/

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin
    edited December 2020

    I'm going to go "out on a limb" and say that I think you should be able to tell by the smell and taste. If the bark or twigs smells and tastes like wild cherry, than it is probably similar. But, like I said before, if the tree is bred to put its energy mostly into the fruit then the bark probably won't be as strong medicinally. That is what I noticed with my fruit tree - it was similar but not as strong.... but they are all prunus ________.

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    According to the Missouri Dept of Conservation the tree we call "Black Cherry" or "Choke Cherry" is Prunus serotina

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    My Grandma always made a medicinal syrup out of the fruit. My mother would make a jelly out of it. Nobody used the bark that I am aware of.

  • marcy_northlightsfarm
    marcy_northlightsfarm Posts: 103 ✭✭✭

    The correct varieties to use for a hot infusion or cough syrup are Prunus serotina and Prunus virginiana. Here's a handy article to see how it's made.

    https://joybileefarm.com/wild-cherry-bark-stop-coughing/