Wild cherry tree belongs to the rose family and its scientific name is Prunus serotina. It is more commonly known by other names like black cherry, wild black cherry, rum cherry, etc. It is found in various parts of North America that includes the United States and Mexico. This tree is almost 30 meters tall and can be identified with its oblong shaped leaves, white flowers and round dark purple colored fruits. Another unique feature of this tree is that its bark has a rough texture. The wild cherry bark that we use for preparing the herbal tea is obtained from the root, trunk and branches of this tree.
The beneficial properties of wild cherry bark was known to the native Americans for centuries. It is also a part of traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Its medicinal properties are owing to a number of active ingredients that are present in it. They are scopoletin, p-coumaric acid, acetylcholine, kaempferol, quercetin and tannins. Among all these components, scopoletin is believed to have amazing healing qualities. Some key beneficial effects are listed below -
- Wild cherry bark tea is popularly used for cough treatment. Basically, cough is induced when the thick mucus build up causes irritation in the air passage. The components of wild cherry bark help in thinning up the mucus and relieve sinus and chest congestion. Moreover, it relaxes the muscles of the thoracic cavity that undergoes contraction due to persistent cough. Thus, it acts as a natural expectorant and cures cough, which is associated with various respiratory illnesses that include common cold, sinusitis, bronchitis, pertussis, etc.
- Traditionally, this tea is known to improve digestive health. It can release the tension in the abdominal muscles and provide relief from the stomach cramps caused by gas build up, diarrhea and other digestive problems. It can cure other symptoms associated with digestive problems that include nausea, vomiting, bloating, etc. Those who are suffering from chronic diarrhea for a long time can use wild cherry bark tea for a permanent relief from the problem.
- This tea has been proved to be highly effective for prevention of cancer. Research studies have found that regular intake of this tea can prevent formation of malignant cells in the body, and at the same time, it can suppress abnormal proliferation of existing cancerous cells. It is particularly good for controlling the growth of new cancerous cells in human colon.
- It works as an excellent anti-inflammatory agent and can be used for reducing various forms of inflammation in the body. When your eyes are swollen because of exposure to irritants, you can use wild cherry bark tea as an eyewash to get relief from it. Similarly, it can be applied topically on inflamed spots on skin to reduce inflammation.
- Those women who are bothered by menstrual cramps every month can have this tea to calm down the uterine muscles. They should start having this tea just a few days before the start of menstrual cycle to prevent the cramps. During labor, it can be given to pregnant women for pain relief.
- It has a relaxing effect on the body muscles and can be used to get rid of minor muscle spasms.
- The component, tannin, present in wild cherry bark can fight off bacterial and fungal infections in the body quite well.
- It has natural sedative properties and those who have insomnia should drink this tea before going to bed. Thus, it will enable them to fall asleep.
How to Prepare Wild Cherry Bark Tea?
Preparing wild cherry bark tea is not at all a difficult task. Take one cup of water in a pot and keep it on heat until it starts boiling. Then remove the pot from the heat and add one teaspoon of finely ground wild cherry bark into it. Keep it untouched for the next 10 minutes and let it steep into the hot water properly. If you want the flavor to be strong, then you can steep it for a longer duration, say about 20 minutes. Strain out the liquid and the tea is ready. This tea has quite a strong flavor. So, you can mix a little honey and lemon to improve its taste. Three cups a day can be taken, but not more than that. Overdose of this tea can have adverse effects on health.
Those who have kidney problems or liver problems should avoid this tea. It should not be given to nursing mothers or children below the age of 2 years. Pregnant women should not take this tea unless their doctor recommends them to do so at the time of childbirth. In short, any person with some existing health disorder should consult their doctor first before taking this tea, rather than facing detrimental effects of it later on.