Wild Cherry Bark for Cold + Flu Season

Your box that shipped in late October included an organic cough and cold syrup perfect for this chilly weather. Alexa’s Ayurveda prepared a blend of organic local Colorado honey, wild cherry bark, elderberry, star anise, allspice berries, cinnamon, ginger, licorice, and fennel seeds! It is perfect to take one teaspoon right before bed if you wake up coughing or with a dry mouth OR anytime during the day — especially when it’s chilly outside. Below is an adapted monograph from TheHerbalAcademy.com to tell you about all the HEALTH benefits of wild cherry bark, our star herb in this syrup!


“As a member of the rose family, wild cherry is an ally for the heart and sacral chakras, as it is sweet, loving, nurturing, and sensual. It helps open the heart, making space to lovingly communicate with and receive from others. It is nourishing, tonifying, and strengthening remedy for the heart, also alleviating cardiac irregularities and palpitations. Wild cherry’s nervine, sedative action helps slow circulation and heart rate, relieving palpitations and arrhythmia. By repairing irritation in the capillaries, the anti-inflammatory flavonoids in wild cherry eliminate circulatory congestion and heat, redness, tenderness, and rapid heartbeat; together with cyanogens, which reduce cellular heat, flavonoids exert a noticeable cooling effect (Wood, 2008). This temperature regulation action can also be helpful in the case of fever. Wild cherry has a dual nature in that it can also be warming to those with cold skin and poor circulation to the extremities (Wood, 2008).

Wild cherry is indicated for an “excited tissue state” (Wood, 2008), meaning heat, redness, inflammation, and tenderness. Wild cherry is considered a general restorative in the case of chronic illness such as bronchitis or during convalescence from illness. As Peter Holmes explains, “wild cherry can speed recovery by recouping lost forces, strengthening the heart, kindling the appetite, and clearing any remaining heat in the skin” (Holmes, 1997).


Wild cherry has expectorant, antitussive, astringent, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, bitter, and nervine actions. Native American tribes used wild cherry for a variety of ailments. The Cherokee used it for coughs, colds, fevers, indigestion, to ease labor pains, as a blood tonic, and as an astringent wash for sores and ulcers. The Chippewa use it to expel worms, disinfect and dress burns, cuts, wounds, and ulcers, and treat cholera and tuberculosis. The Delaware used it for diarrhea, coughs, and as a tonic for general debility. The Iroquois used it for coughs, colds, fevers, headaches, bronchitis, lung inflammation, sore throats, blood purification, sores caused by “bad blood,” and burns. The Ojibwa used it for chest pain and soreness (Moerman, 1998).

Wild cherry’s popular use is as a remedy for coughs and for opening the lower respiratory system. Its sedative action is helpful for easing the cough reflex and calming irritating coughs (Hoffmann, 2003). It is a great remedy for respiratory infections when there is a lot of mucus, coughing, and constricted airways that making breathing difficult. Due to its astringent, sedative, antispasmodic, and bronchodilator actions, it dries mucus, increases expectoration, eases coughing, and opens the airways. As Matthew Wood (2008) explains, “by soothing the respiratory apparatus it increases expectoration.” It is especially helpful for coughs that make it difficult to sleep through the night, and is nice in a cough syrup for this purpose. It can be used in the case of bronchitis, whooping cough, and croup. It is also helpful for relieving unproductive, irritating coughs that linger after an infection is over (Piorier, 2013). Its cooling and anti-inflammatory action is helpful for inflammatory conditions such as acute and chronic sinus inflammation and allergies. As a bronchodilator, it also helps relieve asthma, and “is appropriate for use in combination with other herbs to control asthma” (Hoffmann, 2003).

Wild cherry is also a remedy for digestive upset thanks to its antispasmodic action, ability to soothe irritated mucosal tissues, and its digestion-stimulating bitter taste. Herbalist Matthew Wood emphasizes its action on the small intestine, explaining, “it acts as a sedative in cases where there are food sensitivities and as a bitter where there is lack of secretion” and indicates wild cherry for digestive conditions related to nervous irritation of the stomach and intestines, indigestion, and diarrhea (Wood, 2008). Its sedative, anti-inflammatory, and astringent actions are helpful with these conditions as well, calming the digestive tract, reducing inflammation and irritation, and reducing water volume in stool (therefore helping diarrhea).

The cooling and anti-inflammatory action of wild cherry are also recommended as an external wash for sores, ulcers, herpes, and shingles. You can simply put some wild cherry bark into a mason jar with water and let it cold infuse overnight to use externally.”


Photo by Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash

Photo by Andrii Podilnyk on Unsplash


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