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Prunus serotina

In the United States Wild Cherry is a common species. It has many close relations, all of which can be similarly used. The cherries themselves are edible and formed part of the original Native American 'power bar', made of dried ground meat, nuts, fat as well as dried berries and cherries. Wild Cherry has beautiful wood and a fine grain, which has earned it its marketing claim as 'North American Mahogany'. It has been cultivated in Central Europe as a superior timber tree for fine wood working.

Herbalists use the inner bark as an antispasmodic to soothe the smooth muscles of the upper respiratory tract. It calms the nerves and reduces the cough reflex, making it especially helpful in cases of asthma, whooping cough and bronchitis. However, Cherry Bark should be combined with other herbs that are better able to deal with the underlying infection. The soothing and relaxant properties make it a very helpful adjunct remedy in other cases of cramping, tension and irritability, especially where these stand in the way of recovery. The inner bark also has a mild bitter quality that aids sluggish digestion and dyspepsia. Cherokee women used it to alleviate labour pains. In combination with other herbs it can assist recovery from many conditions, such as hepatitis, urinary irritation, inflammatory febrile diseases, pleurisy, pneumonia and tuberculosis.

The wood can be used for making storage boxes for ritual tools or for carving ornaments. Cherry is a threshold plant. It helps one face unconscious fears and deal with whatever 'monsters' are lurking in the inner shadow world and prevent one from moving forward on their soul journey. Keywords: Acceptance, Letting go.

Not all herbs are suitable in pregnancy, breastfeeding or for young children, or if you are unwell, or taking any medication. If in doubt, please ask a medical herbalist or healthcare practitioner.