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What Is Wild Cherry Bark?

Wild cherry bark is collected from the wild cherry tree, which also produces fruit.
Wild cherry bark may be used to suppress coughing.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2014
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Wild cherry bark is bark collected from the wild cherry tree. Cherries, found in the genus Prunus, are native to Europe and Asia, where cherry bark has been used for centuries in medical treatment. Bark collected from wild cherries continues to be a popular folk remedy for a range of conditions in much of the northern hemisphere. Many people are also fond of the fruit of the cherry tree, which comes into season during the summer and comes in sweet and sour varieties which can be used in an assortment of recipes.

The bark is typically collected from young trees, when the pharmacologically active components in wild cherry bark are present in the highest concentrations. People usually dry the bark for storage, and they may powder it to make it easier to store and utilize. Wild cherry bark can be prepared for consumption in a variety of ways. Some people use it to make tea, others create encapsulated medications with it, and others use it in syrupy suspensions.

One of the most common uses for cherry bark is in the treatment of coughs. Wild cherry bark can suppress coughing, easing the discomfort associated with a dry, unproductive cough. It can also act as an expectorant, helping people bring up mucus from their lungs. Wild cherry bark is also a mild sedative, and it acts as an astringent, which can make it beneficial for the skin in some situations.

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Coughing, asthma, and related lung conditions can integrate wild cherry bark into their treatment. While many people assume that herbal medicines are harmless, this is not in fact the case. Cherry bark contains trace amounts of prussic acid, which can make it dangerous when consumed in high qualities. Wild cherry bark is not recommended for use in people with liver and kidney problems because of the prussic acid, and it is also not recommended in people with low blood pressure, because of the sedative effects.

The safety of wild cherry bark for pregnant women is not fully known. For this reason, people usually recommend against using it during pregnancy. People who are interested in using wild cherry bark products such as wild cherry bark extract should ask their doctors or medical care providers about whether or not it is safe for them to use. Although dispensation of this product is controlled by prescription, people should not assume that it will be appropriate for their situation.

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