Cold and flu season is officially here, and it’s a sure bet that someone in my family will come down with a cough. Wild cherry bark syrup is a wonderful remedy that works for all types of coughs and chest congestion and one that I keep on hand during this season.
Most herbal syrups are made using the boil-down method, however, wild cherry bark syrup should be made a bit differently for reasons we’ll discuss below.
Find out how to make your own wild cherry bark cough syrup to soothe coughs and congestion and help keep you and your family healthy this season.
Benefits of Wild Cherry Bark
Wild cherry (Prunus serotina), otherwise known as black cherry, is a native tree of North America and a common herbal remedy for coughs and congestion. Wild cherry bark soothes and tones the respiratory tract, loosens phlegm in the throat and chest, and aids in all types of coughs, including whooping and spasmodic cough (Kloss, 1939). It is a slight sedative, expectorant, demulcent (soothing to irritated tissues), and calms the respiratory nerves (Hoffman, 2003). Wild cherry bark syrup is soothing and restorative for all respiratory ailments. It can also be a tasty remedy that even your child will love!
Harvesting and Preparing Wild Cherry Bark
The inner bark of the wild cherry tree should be collected in the fall when cyanogenic properties are at their lowest and dried right away to avoid fermenting. Fermented bark is toxic so be sure you harvest from branches still attached to the tree. It’s best to harvest bark from smaller branches to avoid harming the trunk of the tree as well.
The health benefits of wild cherry bark are best extracted in cool water via a cold water infusion. Boiling wild cherry bark diminishes its cough suppressing properties.
How To Make Wild Cherry Bark Cough Syrup
Wild Cherry Bark Cough Syrup
(Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar)
- 2 parts wild cherry bark
- 1 part licorice root
- 1 part ginger root
- 1 part cinnamon bark
- 1 part fennel seeds
- 1 part elecampane
- 1/8 part orange peel
- Sweetener – raw honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup
- Mix all herbs except the wild cherry bark and cover completely with water. Simmer gently until the liquid is reduced by half. Next, turn the heat off and add the wild cherry bark. Allow the mixture to infuse for 4 – 12 hours.
- When the infusion time is over, strain and compost the herbs.
- Measure the amount of liquid you have and allow it to cool. Double your liquid amount to know how much honey to use. For example, if you have 1/2 cup of liquid, use 1 cup of honey.
- You can also add a bit of black cherry juice concentrate at this point for flavor. This syrup will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.
Knowing how to prepare herbs correctly ensures that we are getting the maximum benefits from them. Now you know the best way to prepare wild cherry bark in order to effectively soothe coughs this season!
- Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
- Kloss, J. (1939). Back to eden. Loma Linda, CA: Back to Eden Publishing Co.
- Tierra, M. (1980). The way of herbs. New York, NY: Pocket Books.
- Gladstar, R. (1993). Herbal healing for women. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.