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Medicinal Trees: Prunus (Plumb, Cherry, Peach, Apricot, Nectarine, Almond, Damson Sloe, etc.)

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This one is HUGE!

One hundred and twenty-four varieties of Prunus have been found useful in Herbal Medicine!!! Prunus alabamensis - Alabama Cherry, Prunus alleghaniensis - Allegheny Plum, Prunus americana - American Plum, Prunus americana lanata, Prunus andersonii - Desert Peach, Prunus angustifolia - Chickasaw Plum, Prunus angustifolia watsonii - Sand Plum, Prunus apetala - Clove Cherry, Prunus arabica, Prunus armeniaca – Apricot, Prunus avium - Wild Cherry, Prunus besseriana - Dwarf Almond, Prunus besseyi - Western Sand Cherry, Prunus bifrons, Prunus bokharensis - Bokhara Plum, Prunus brigantina - Briançon Apricot, Prunus buergeriana, Prunus campanulata - Taiwan Cherry, Prunus canescens - Greyleaf Cherry, Prunus capsica, Prunus caroliniana - American Cherry Laurel, Prunus cerasifera - Cherry Plum, Prunus cerasifera divaricate, Prunus cerasoides - Wild Himalayan Cherry, Prunus cerasus - Sour Cherry, Prunus cerasus austera - Morello Cherry, Prunus cerasus caproniana - Kentish Red Cherry, Prunus cerasus frutescens - Bush Sour Cherry, Prunus cerasus marasca - Maraschino Cherry, Prunus cocomilia, Prunus consociiflora - Chinese Wild Peach, Prunus cornuta - Himalayan Bird Cherry, Prunus cortapico, Prunus davidiana - Chinese Wild Peach, Prunus dawyckensis - Dawyck Cherry, Prunus dielsiana, Prunus domestica - Plum, Prunus dulcis – Almond, Prunus emarginata - Bitter Cherry, Prunus fasciculata - Desert Almond, Prunus fenzliana, Prunus fruticosa - Mongolian Cherry, Prunus glandulosa - Korean Cherry, Prunus gracilis - Sour Plum, Prunus grayana - Japanese Bird Cherry, Prunus gymnodonta, Prunus hortulana - Hog Plum, Prunus humilis - Bush Cherry, Prunus ilicifolia - Holly-Leaved Cherry, Prunus incana, Prunus incisa - Fuji Cherry, Prunus insititia – Damson, Prunus iranica, Prunus jamasakura – Yamazakura, Prunus japonica - Korean Cherry, Prunus japonica nakai - Japanese Plum, Prunus jenkinsii, Prunus kansuensis, Prunus korshinskyi, Prunus lannesiana - Oshima Cherry, Prunus laurocerasus - Cherry Laurel, Prunus lusitanica - Portugal Laurel, Prunus lyonii - Catalina Island Cherry, Prunus mahaleb - Mahaleb Cherry, Prunus mandschurica - Manchurian Apricot, Prunus maritima - Beach Plum, Prunus maximowiczii - Miyama Cherry, Prunus media, Prunus mexicana - Mexican Plum, Prunus macrocarpa, Prunus mira - Smoothpit Peach, Prunus mume - Japanese Apricot, Prunus munsoniana - Wild Goose Plum, Prunus napaulensis, Prunus nigra - Canadian Plum, Prunus nipponica - Japanese Alpine Cherry, Prunus orthosepala, Prunus padus - Bird Cherry, Prunus pedunculata, Prunus pensylvanica - Pin Cherry, Prunus persica – Peach, Prunus persica nucipersica – Nectarine, Prunus pilosiuscula, Prunus prostrata - Mountain Cherry, Prunus pseudocerasus - Cambridge Cherry, Prunus pumila - Dwarf American Cherry, Prunus pumila susquehanae - Dwarf American Cherry, Prunus rivularis - Creek Plum, Prunus rufa - Himalayan Cherry, Prunus salicifolia - Capulin Cherry, Prunus salicina - Japanese Plum, Prunus sargentii, Prunus serotina - Rum Cherry, Prunus serrula - Birch Bark Cherry, Prunus serrulata – Yamazakura, Prunus sibirica - Siberian Apricot, Prunus simonii - Apricot Plum, Prunus Sogdiana, Prunus spinosa – Sloe, Prunus ssiori - Japanese Bird Cherry, Prunus subcordata - Pacific Plum, Prunus subhirtella - Rosebud Cherry, Prunus takesimensis, Prunus tangutica, Prunus tenella - Dwarf Russian Almond, Prunus tomentosa - Nanking Cherry, Prunus triloba - Flowering Almond Synonym:, Prunus triloba simplex - Flowering Almond, Prunus umbellata - Black Sloe, Prunus undulata, Prunus ursina, Prunus ussuriensis, Prunus virens - Wild Cherry, Prunus virginiana – Chokecherry, Prunus virginiana demissa - Western Chokecherry, Prunus virginiana melanocarpa - Rocky Mountain Chokecherry, Prunus x cistena - Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry, Prunus x dasycarpa - Black Apricot, Prunus x eminens, Prunus x fontanesiana, Prunus x gondouinii - Duke Cherry, Prunus x sultana, Prunus x utahensis, Prunus x yedoensis - Tokyo Cherry

Although it would be wonderful to all that tasty fruit, I can honestly say that it is somewhat of a relief that we only have eight varieties of Prunus native to my region… I can’t imagine having to learn to identify them all! Native are: Prunus alleghaniensis var. alleghaniensis (Allegheny Plum), Prunus americana (American Plum), Prunus angustifolia (Chickasaw Plum), Prunus caroliniana (Carolina Laurelcherry), Prunus pensylvanica (Pin Cherry), Prunus serotina var. serotina (Black Cherry), Prunus umbellata (Hog Plum, Flatwoods Plum), Prunus virginiana var. virginiana (Chokecherry). Naturalized are: Prunus avium (Sweet Cherry), Prunus cerasus (Sour Cherry), Prunus glandulosa (Flowering Almond), Prunus mahaleb (Mahaleb Cherry), Prunus munsoniana (Wild Goose Plum), Prunus persica (Peach)

Among the Appalachian folks, wild Cherry bark is the most used of the Prunuses, as a medicinal herb. It is used for coughs, congestion and asthma. But, that is barely scratching the surface of these useful trees. I feel safe in saying that if you have access to any member of this family of trees, you will find an herbal use for it. So, let’s dig into the history of the Prunus, as best we can.

Dioscorides wrote of Almond Oil:

Amagdalinum oil or metopium is made as follows. Having picked and dried four quarts of bitter almonds beat them gently with a wooden pestle in a mortar until they are pulped. Pour on them one pint of hot water and let them absorb it for half an hour, from which time beat it strongly again. Then press it on a board, squeeze it out, and take that which sticks to your fingers into a spoon. Afterwards pour a half-pint of water into that which was squeezed out, and allow it to be absorbed, and repeat as before. Four quarts of seeds make one half-pint of oil. It is effective against womb pains,constriction, the womb turning around, and things that darken the same places, as well as headaches, ear problems, resonance, and tinnitus. It helps inflammation of the kidneys, illness meientes [urination], stones [urinary, kidney], asthma and splenitis. Furthermore it removes spots from the face, sunburn, and wrinkles on the skin mixed with honey, the root of lily and Cyprian rosewax. With wine it mends moisture of the pupils of the eye, and removes penetrative ulcers and dandruff.

The root of the bitter almond tree bruised and boiled takes away spots on the face caused by sunburn, as well as the almonds themselves, applied as a poultice. Applied to the forehead or temples with vinegar and rosaceum they drive out the menstrual flow and help headaches. They are good with wine for epinyctides [pustules which appear at night], rotten ulcers, and shingles [herpes], and with honey for dog bites. Almonds if eaten take away pains and soften the bowels, cause sleep and are diuretic. They are good for bloody vomit taken with amyl [starch] and mint. They are good for inflamed kidneys and pneumonia taken as a drink with water or as a linctus [syrup] with resina terminthos. Taken with passum [raisin wine] they help those troubled with painful urination and urinary stones. They help diseased livers, coughs, and inflation of the colon, the amount of a nut of the avellana [hazel] taken in a linctus [syrup] with milk and honey. They keep away drunkenness if five to seven of them are taken before indulging. It kills foxes when they eat it with something else. The gum of the tree is astringent and heats, and is taken in drink as a remedy for bloody vomit. Rubbed on with vinegar it takes away impetigo [skin infection] on the surface of the skin. Taken in a drink with diluted wine it cures old coughs, and it is good taken in a drink with passum [raisin wine] for those troubled with urinary stones. The sweet edible almond has a great deal less strength than the bitter, yet that also reduces symptoms and is diuretic. Green almonds eaten with their shells heal moistness of the stomach.

Of the Cherry or Sour Cherry, he wrote:

Cerasia that are eaten when fresh are good for the intestines, and dried they stop discharges of the bowels. The gum from cerasia heals an old cough taken with diluted wine. It causes a good colour, sharpness of sight and appetite. Taken in a drink with wine it is good for those troubled with kidney stones.

Of Peaches:

The fruit of persica are good for the stomach and for the intestines too if ripe, but the unripe are astringent in the intestines. Dried they are more astringent, and a decoction of them dried and taken stops a stomach and intestines troubled with excessive discharges.

Plum or Prune:

Coccymelia is a known tree whose fruit is edible and bad for the stomach, softening the bowels, especially fruit of those from Syria and those growing in Damascus. Dried, it is good for the stomach and therapeutic for the bowels. A decoction of the leaves (used or prepared in wine and gargled) stops the excessive discharge that falls on the uva [uvula], gingiva [gums] and tonsils. The fruit of wild plums dried when it is ripe does the same. Boiled with sapa [syruped new wine] it becomes better for the stomach and more astringent to the bowels. The gum of the plum tree closes open cuts and sores, and taken as a drink with wine breaks kidney stones. Rubbed on with vinegar it heals lichen [papular skin disease] on children

Cherry Laurel:

Chamaedaphne sends out single-branched rods a foot long — straight, thin and smooth; the leaves of this are similar to the [other] bay but much smoother, thinner and greener. The fruit is round and red, growing near to the leaves. The leaves of this (pounded into small pieces and smeared on) helps headaches and burning of the stomach. They cease griping, taken as a drink with wine. The juice (given to drink with wine) expels the menstrual flow and urine, and applied in a pes
sary it does the same. Some have called this alexandrina, daphnitis, or hydragogon, the Romans, laureola, some lactago, and the Gauls, ousubim.

Saint Hildegard von Bingen wrote of Almond:

The Almond Tree is very hot and has a bit of moisture in it. Its bark, leaves and sap are not much used in medicine, because all of its power is in the fruit. One whose brain is empty, and whose face has a bad color from a pain in the head, should frequently eat the inmost kernels of this fruit. They fill his brain and give him the correct color. Also, one who ails in his lungs, or whose liver is weak, should often eat of these kernels, either raw or cooked. They give strength to the lungs, since they in no way burden a person. Neither do they make a person dry, but render him strong.

Of Cherry:

Take the inmost kernels of this fruit, when raw, and pound them well. Dissolve bear fat in a small dish, and mix this with it, making an ungent. Use it often to anoint one whose body has bad ulcers, which are very like leprosy, but are not, and he will be cured.

One who has wretching pains in his belly, although not from worms, should often eat the kernels raw, and he will eb better. One who has worms in his belly should place the kernels in vinegar and often eat them on an empty stomach, and the worms will die.

One who has pains in his eyes, so that they are red from the pain and ulcerous, should take warm crumbs of rye bread and put the gum of a cherry tree ont hem. He should tie them with a band, so the gum is placed on the skin of the eyes. If he does this often, it will draw the drips from his eyes and he will be cured.

If some disease or bad humors fall upon one’s ears, so that he becomes deaf and his ears ring, he should take the forenamed gum and dissolve it in a small dish over the fire. He should pour it, thus warmed over crumbs of rye bread and place this in the openings of his ears at night. He should also cover his ears and temples with these crumbs smeared with the gum and tie a linen cloth over them. If he does this often, bad humors and ringing will be chased away, and he will be cured.


The medlar is very hot. It signifies sweetness. Its bark and leaves are not much good as medicine, because all of its strength is in its fruit. Nevertheless, a person who suffers from ague should, at the onset of this infirmity, pulverize its root and drink this powder in warm wine, before breakfast, with meals and at night. He should do this frequently and he will eb cured. The fruit of this tree is good and useful for healthy and sick people, however much they eat. It increases their flesh and cleanses their blood.


One who is in various illnesses, has any kind of spots on his body should take the inner bark of this tree before it fruit matures. He should pound the bark, express its sap, and add a little vinegar to it, and as much cooked honey as there is of the other two things. He should place this in a new clay jar, and frequently anoint his body where the bad spots are, until they are diminished.

When one’s breath stinks badly, he should take the fruits of the peach tree that are ripe. He should pound them, then take a handful of licorice, a bit of pepper and some honey, and cook these things in pure win, and so prepare a spiced wine. He should drink this often, with a meal and at night. It will make his breath fragrant and take rottenness away from his body and chest.

For one with worms in his stomach or belly, the root and leaves of betony should be pulverized. Add to this twice as much pulverized leaves of the peach tree, taken when it has just sent out flowers. Cook this in a new pot with good, pure wine. Drink it often, before breakfast and at night, and the worms will die.

Take also the raw, inmost kernels of the fruit and, having thrown away the shell, pound them to a milk and squeeze five spoonfuls through a cloth. Then pulverize three pennyweight of galingale, two of licorice, and half a pennyweight of spurge, and add this to the peach-kernel milk. Prepare a small cake of whole wheat flour and garden spurge, and dry it gently in the sun or a warm oven. Then mix this cake with a half pennyweight of the forenamed milk. Before sunrise, take spoonfuls of this – equal to the weight of two and a half pennies – after heating it on a fire. Then put yourself to bed for a short while. This checks the gicht and carries congestion away from your chest, and mucus away from your stomach. As a pleasant potion, it gently purges you. If you need to, take it twice a month, and on the day you take it, refrain from strong food, rye bread, peas and lentils. Eat soft foods and drink wine.

One who has pains in his chest, so that his throat is a bit constricted, either because some bad thing is growing on it or there is some bad vapor in it, with no ulcer or tumor, should take a paste of wheat flour and dissolve it in the gum of the peach tree. He should often place this, warm, over his throat for a little while, and he will eb better. If, however, there is pain in his throat from an ulcer or tumor, he should not place this on it, because it would be painful. If a person has glands on his neck that are contracted or more distinct than usual, and if there is no ulcer or tumor, he should place the same prepared paste on them. If the neck were ulcerated or tumescent, this paste would make it worse.

One who has pain in his head should take the wheat paste, dissolve it in the gum of the peach tree, and place it, warm, on the top of his head for some time, and he will be better.

For one whose eyes water, press gum from the peach tree, or from the shell of a walnut, and warm it a bit on a hot tile. Then place it around the eyes, until they grow warm. Do this once a day, every four days, lest in doing it too often the eyes are harmed. The gum of the peach tree has in it the first strength of the wood and draws to itself natural moisture.


If some worms are eating the flesh of a person, take the upper bark of that tree, down to the sap, and its leaves and pulverize them. Dry them in the sun or in a pot by the fire. Put this powder in the place where the worms are eating the person. When the worms begin to move from there, so that the person feels it, take vinegar mixed with a bit of honeyand pour it where the worms are, and they will die. When they have fallen from the wound, d ead, dip a linen cloth in wine and place it over the wounds. It will draw out the rotten matter, and the person will become well.

Also, make ashes from the bark of the leaves of this tree. From these ashes make lye, and if your head is either pockmarked or withered, wash it often with this lye. Your head will be cured and it will be beautiful, will produce much beautiful hair.

If someone through magic or by evil words is rendered insane, take the earth which is around the roots of this tree and warm it vigorously in the fire, until it burns a little bit. When it has burned a bit by the fire, place rue and a little less pennyroyal on it. Let it absorb their sap and odor. If you do nor have pennyroyal, place fresh fenugreek on it. If it is winter, place on it the seeds of these herbs, moderately warmed. After the person has eaten, place this, with the herbs, on his head, naked stomach, and naked sides, and tie it with a cloth. Put him in bed and cover him with clothing so that he might sweat a bit with that earth. Do this for three or five days, and he will be better. For when the ancient serpent hears magic and evil words, he takes them up and sets traps for the one for whom they were said, unless God stops him

Take the gum of this tree and, if someone’s lips swell up, or if he reports gicht springing up in them, heat this gum moderately and at night when he goes to bed tie it, with a cloth, on his lips where it hurts. Do this often and the pain will cease. One whose fingers and hands are always moving from the tremor of the gicht should tie this same gum, warmed, over his whole hand and the tremor will cease.

Whoever has a dry cough should take the inmost kernels of this fruit and, throwing away their covering, place them in wine. They should soak in the wine until they have swelled a bit. Then, he should eat them often and prepare a drink with good wine. He should consume this by sipping, and he will quickly be cured. Every id of plum tree has these powers in their bark and leaves, and the same nature in their fruit, except the trees which are larger and bring forth larger fruits with greater strength.

Gerard wrote of Almond:

A. Sweet almonds when they be dry be moderately hot; but the bitter ones are hot and dry in the second degree. There is in both of them a certain fat and oily substance, which is drawn out by pressing.

B. Sweet almonds being new gathered are pleasant to the taste, they yield some kind of nourishment, but the same gross and earthy, and grosser than those that be dry, and not as yet withered. These do likewise slowly descend, especially being eaten without their skins; for even as the husks or branny parts of corn do serve to drive down the gross excrements of the belly, so do likewise the skins or husks of the almonds: therefore those that be blanched do so slowly descend, as that they do withal bind the belly; whereupon they are given with good success to those that have the lask or the bloody flux.

C. There is drawn out of sweet almonds, with liquor added, a white juice like milk, which over and besides that it nourisheth, and is good for those that are troubled with the lask and bloody flux, it is profitable for those that have the pleurisy and spit up filthy matter, as Alexander Trallianus witnesseth: for there is likewise in the almonds an opening and concocting quality, with a certain cleansing faculty, by which they are medicinable to the chest and lungs, or lights, and serve for the raising up of phlegm and rotten humours.

D. Almonds taken before meat do stop the belly, and nourish but little; notwithstanding many excellent meats and medicines are therewith made for sundry griefs, yea very delicate and wholesome meats, as almond butter, cream of almonds, marchpane, and such like, which dry and stay the belly more than the extracted juice or milk; and they are also as good for the chest and lungs.

E. They do serve also to make the physical barley water, and barley cream, which are given in hot fevers, as also for other sick and feeble persons, for their further refreshing and nourishments.

F. The oil which is newly pressed out of the sweet almonds is a mitigator of pain and all manner of aches. It is given to those that have the pleurisy, being first let blood; but especially to those that are troubled with the stone of the kidneys; it slackens the passages of the urine, and maketh them glib or slippery, and more ready to suffer the stone to have free passage: it maketh the belly soluble, and therefore it is likewise used for the colic.

G. It is good for women that are newly delivered; for it quickly removeth the throes which remain after their delivery.

H. The oil of almonds makes smooth the hands and face of delicate persons, and cleanseth the skin from all spots, pimples, and lentils.

I. Bitter Almonds do make thin and open, they remove stoppings out of the liver and spleen, therefore they be good against pain in the sides: they make the body soluble, provoke urine, bring down the menses, help the strangury, and cleanse forth of the chest and lungs clammy humours: if they be mixed with some kind of lohoch or medicine to lick on: with starch they stay the spitting of blood.

L. And it is reported that five or six being taken fasting do keep a man from being drunk.

M. These also cleanse and take away spots and blemishes in the face, and in other parts of the body; they mundify and make clean foul eating ulcers.

N. With honey they are laid upon the biting of mad dogs; being applied to the temples with vinegar or oil of roses, they take away the headache, as Dioscorides writeth.

O. They are also good against the cough and shortness of wind.

P. They are likewise good for those that spit blood, if they be taken with the fine flour of Amylum.

Q. There is also pressed out of these an oil which provoketh urine, but especially if a few scorpions be drowned, and steeped therein.

R. With oil it it singular good for those that have the stone, and cannot easily make water: but with extremity of pain, if the share and place between the cods and fundament be anointed therewith.

S. Dioscorides saith, that the gum doth heat and bind, which qualities notwithstanding are not perceived in it.

T. It helpeth them that spit blood, not by a binding faculty, but through the clamminess of his substance, and that is by closing up of the passages and pores, and so may it also cure old coughs, and mitigate extreme pains that proceed of the stone, and especially take away the sharpness of urine, if it be drunk with bastard, or with any other sweet potion, as with the decoction of Liquorice, or of raisins of the sun. The same doth likewise kill tetters in the outward parts of the body (as Dioscorides addeth) if it be dissolved in vinegar.

Of Cherry:

A. The best and principal cherries be those that are somewhat sour: those little sweet ones which be wild and soonest ripe be the worst: they contain bad juice, they very soon putrefy, and do engender ill blood, by reason whereof they do not only breed worms in the belly, but troublesome agues, and often pestilent fevers: and therefore in well governed commonwealths it is carefully provided, that they should not be sold in the markets in the plague time.

B. Spanish cherries are like to these in faculties, but they do not so soon putrefy: they be likewise cold, and the juice they make is not good.

C. The Flanders or Kentish cherries that are thorough ripe, have a better juice, but watery, cold and moist: they quench thirst, they are good for an hot stomach, and profitable for those that have the ague: they easily descend and make the body soluble: they nourish nothing at all.

D. The late ripe cherries which the Frenchmen keep dried against winter, and are by them called Morelle, and we after the same name call them Morell cherries, are dry, and do somewhat bind; these being dried are pleasant to the taste, and wholesome for the stomach, like as prunes be, and do stop the belly.

E. Generally all the kinds of cherries are cold and moist of temperature, although some more cold and moist than others: the which being eaten before meat do soften the belly very gently, they are unwholesome either unto moist and rheumatic bodies, or for unhealthy and cold stomachs.

F. The common black cherries do strengthen the stomach, and are wholesomer than the red cherries, the which being dried do stop the lask.

G. The distilled water of cherries is good for those that are troubled with heat and inflammations in their stomachs, and prevaileth against the falling sickness given mixed with wine.

H. Many excellent Tarts and other pleasant meats are made with cherries, sugar, and other delicate spices, whereof to write were to small purpose.

I. The gum of the Cherry tree taken with wine and water, is reported to help the stone; it may do good by making the passages slippery, and by tempering & allaying the sharpness of the humours; and in this manner it is a remedy also for an old cough. Dioscorides addeth, that it maketh one well coloured, cleareth the sight, and causeth a good appetite to meat.


A. Peaches be cold and moist, and that in the second degree, they have a juice and also a substance, that doth easily putrefy, which yieldeth no nourishment, but bringeth hurt, especially if they be eaten after other meats; for then they cause the other meats to putrefy. But they are less hurtful if they be taken first; for by reason that they are moist and slippery, they easily and quickly descend; and by making the belly slippery, they cause other meats to slip down the sooner.

B. The kernels of the peaches be hot and dry, they open and cleanse; they are good for the stopB pings of the liver and spleen.

C. Peaches before they be ripe do stop the lask, but being ripe they loose the belly, and engender naughty humour, for they are soon corrupted in the stomach.

D. The leaves of the Peach tree do open the stopping of the liver, and do gently loosen the belly: and being applied plasterwise unto the navel of young children, they kill the worms, and drive them forth.

E. The same leaves boiled in milk, do kill the worms in children very speedily.

F. The same being dried, and cast upon green wounds, cure them.

G. The flowers of the Peach tree infused in warm water for the space of ten or twelve hours, and strained, and more flowers put to the said liquor to infuse after the same manner, and so iterated six or eight times, and strained again, then as much sugar as it will require added to the same liquor and boiled unto the consistence or thickness of a syrup, and two spoonfuls hereof taken, doth so singularly well purge the belly, that there is neither Rhubarb, Agaric, nor any other purger comparable unto it; for this purgeth down waterish humours mightily, and yet without grief or trouble, either to the stomach, or lower parts of the body.

H. The kernel within the peach stone stamped small, and boiled with vinegar until it be brought to the form of an ointment, is good to restore and bring again the hair of such as be troubled with the alopecia.

I. There is drawn forth of the kernels of peaches with Pennyroyal water, a juice like unto milk; which is good for those that have the apoplexy: if the same be oftentimes held in the mouth it draweth forth water and recovereth the speech.

K. The gum is of a mean temperature, but the substance thereof is tough and clammy, by reason whereof it dulleth the sharpness of thin humours: it serveth in a lohoch or licking medicine for those that be troubled with the cough, and have rotten lungs, and stoppeth the spitting and raising up of blood, and also stayeth other fluxes.


A. Plums that be ripe and new gathered from the tree, what sort soever they are of; do moisten and cool, and yield unto the body very little nourishment, and the same nothing good at all: for as Plums do very quickly rot, so is also the juice of them apt to putrefy in the body, and likewise to cause the meat to putrefy which is taken with them: only they are good for those that would keep their bodies soluble and cool; for by their moisture and slipperiness they do mollify the belly.

B. Dried plums, commonly called prunes, are wholesomer, and more pleasant to the stomach, they yield more nourishment, and better, and such as cannot easily putrefy. It is reported, saith Galen in his book Of the Faculties of Nourishments, that the best do grow in Damascus a city of Syria; and next to those, they that grow in Spain: but these do nothing at all bind, yet divers of the damask damson prunes very much; for damask damson prunes are more astringent, but they of Spain be sweeter. Dioscorides saith, that damask prunes dried do stay the belly; but Galen affirmth, in his books of the faculties of simple medicines, that they do manifestly loose the belly yet lesser than they that be brought out of Spain; being boiled with mead or honeyed water, which hath a good quantity of honey in it, they loose the belly very much (as the same author saith) although a man take them alone by themselves, and much more if the mead be supped after them. We most commend those of Hungary being long and sweet; yet more those of Moravia the chief and principal city in times past of the Province of the Marcomans: for these after they be dried, that the watery humour may be consumed away, be most pleasant to the taste, and do easily without any trouble so mollify the belly, as that in that respect they go beyond Cassia and Manna, as Thomas Iordanus affirmeth.

C. The leaves of the Plum tree are good against the swelling of the uvula, the throat, gums, & kernels under the throat and jaws; they stop the rheum and falling down of humours, if the decoction thereof be made in wine, and gargled in the mouth and throat.

D. The gum which cometh out of the Plum tree doth glue and fasten together, as Dioscorides saith.

E. Being drunk in wine it wasteth away the stone, and healeth lichens in infants and young children; if it be laid on with vinegar, it worketh the same effects that the gum of the Peach and Cherry tree doth.

F. The wild plums do stay and bind the belly, and so do the unripe plums of what sort soever, whiles they are sharp and sour, for then are they astringent.

G. The juice of sloes doth stop the belly, the lask and bloody flux, the inordinate course of women's terms, and all other issues of blood in man or woman, and may very well be used instead of Acatia, which is a thorny tree growing in Egypt, very hard to be gotten, and of a dear price, and therefore the better for wantons; albeit our plums of this country are equal unto it in virtues.

Culpepper wrote of Cherry:

It is a tree of Venus. Cherries, as they are of different tastes, so they are of different qualities. The sweet pass through the stomach and the belly more speedily, but are of little nourishment; the tart or sour are more pleasing to an hot stomach, procure appetite to meat, and help to cut tough phlegm and gross humours; but when these are dried, they are more binding to the belly than when they are fresh, being cooling in hot diseases, and welcome to the stomach, and provoke urine. The gum of the cherry-tree, dissolved in wine, is good for a cold, cough, and hoarseness of the throat; mendeth the colour in the face, sharpeneth the eyesight, provoketh appetite, and helpeth to break and expel the stone; the black cherries bruised with the sotnes, and dissolved, the water thereof is much used to break the stone, and to expel gravel and wind.

Of Peach:

Lady Venus owns this tree, and by it opposes the ill effects of Mars, and indeed for children and young people, nothing is better to purge choler and the jaundice, than the leaves or flowers of this tree being made into a syrup or conserve. Let such as delight to please their lust regard the fruit; but such as have lost their health, and their children's, let them regard what I say, they may safely give two spoonfuls of the syrup at a time; it is as gentle as Venus herself. The leaves of peaches bruised and laid on the belly, kill worms, and so they do also being boiled in ale and drank, and open the belly likewise; and, being dried, is a far safer medicine to discuss humours. The powder of them strewed upon fresh bleeding wounds stays their bleeding, and closes them up. The flowers steeped all night in a little wine standing warm, strained forth in the morning, and drank fasting, doth gently open the belly, and move it downward. A syrup made of them, as the syrup of roses is made, works more forcibly than that of roses, for it provokes vomiting, and spends waterish and hydropic humours by the continuance thereof. The flowers made into a conserve, work the same effect. The liquor that dropped from the tree, being wounded, is given in the decoction of Coltsfoot, to those that are troubled with a cough or shortness of breath, by adding thereunto some sweet wine, and putting some saffron also therein. It is good for those that are hoarse, or have lost their voice; helps all defects of the lungs, and those that vomit and spit blood. Two drams hereof given in the juice of lemons, or of radish, is good for them that are troubled with the stone, the kernels of the stones do wonderfully ease the pains and wringings of the belly through wind or sharp humours, and help to make an excellent medicine for the stone upon all occasions, in this manner: I take fifty kernels of peach-stones, and one hundred of the kernels of cherry-stones, a handful of elder flowers fresh or dried, and three pints of Muscadel; set them in a close pot into a bed of horse-dung for ten days, after which distil in a glass with a gentle fire , and keep it for your use. You may drink upon occasion three or four ounces at a time. The milk or cream of these kernels being drawn forth with some Vervain water and applied to the forehead and temples, doth much help to procure rest and sleep to sick persons wanting it. The oil drawn from the kernels, the temples being therewith anointed, doth the like. The said oil put into clysters, eases the pains of the wind cholic: and anointed on the lower part of the belly, doth the like, and dropped into the ears, eases pains in them; the juice of the leaves doth the like. Being also anointed on the forehead and temples, it helps the megrim, and all other pains in the head. If the kernels be bruised and boiled in vinegar, until they become thick, and applied to the head, it marvellously procures the hair to grow again upon bald places, or where it is too thin.


All plums are under Venus, and are, like women, some better, and some worse. As there is great diversity of kinds, so there is in the operation of Plums, for some that are sweet moistens the stomach, and make the belly soluble; those that are sour quench thirst more, and bind the belly; the moist and waterish do sooner corrupt in the stomach, but the firm do nourish more, and offend less. The dried fruit sold by the grocers under the names of Damask Prunes, do somewhat loosen the belly, and being stewed, are often used, both in health and sickness, to relish the mouth and stomach, to procure appetite, and a little to open the body, allay choler, and cool the stomach. Plum-tree leaves boiled in wine, are good to wash and gargle the mouth and throat, to dry the flux of rheum coming to the palate, gums, or almonds of the ear. The gum of the tree is good to break the stone. The gum or leaves boiled in vinegar, and applied, kills tetters and ringworms. Matthiolus saith, The oil preserved out of the kernels of the stones, as oil of almonds is made, is good against the inflamed piles, the tumours or swellings of ulcers, hoarseness of the voice, roughness of the tongue and throat, and likewise the pains in the ears. And that five ounces of the said oil taken with one ounce of muskadel, drives forth the stone, and helps the cholic.

Mrs. Grieves wrote of Almonds:

Fresh Sweet Almonds possess demulcent and nutrient properties, but as the outer brown skin sometimes causes irritation of the alimentary canal, they are blanched by removal of this skin when used for food. Though pleasant to the taste, their nutritive value is diminished unless well masticated, as they are difficult of digestion, and may in some cases induce nettlerash and feverishness. They have a special dietetic value, for besides containing about 20 per cent of proteids, they contain practically no starch, and are therefore often made into flour for cakes and biscuits for patients suffering from diabetes.

Sweet Almonds are used medicinally, the official preparations of the British Pharmacopoeia being Mistura Amygdalae, Pulvis Amygdalae Compositus and Almond Oil.

On expression they yield nearly half their weight in a bland fixed oil, which is employed medicinally for allaying acrid juices, softening and relaxing solids, and in bronchial diseases, in tickling coughs, hoarseness, costiveness, nephritic pains, etc.

When Almonds are pounded in water, the oil unites with the fluid, forming a milky juice - Almond Milk - a cooling, pleasant drink, which is prescribed as a diluent in acute diseases, and as a substitute for animal milk: an ounce of Almonds is sufficient for a quart of water, to which gum arabic is in most cases a useful addition. The pure oil mixed with a thick mucilage of gum arabic, forms a more permanent emulsion; one part of gum with an equal quantity of water being enough for four parts of oil. Almond emulsions possess in a certain degree the emollient qualities of the oil, and have this advantage over the pure oil, that they may be given in acute or inflammatory disorders without danger of the ill effects which the oil might sometimes produce by turning rancid. Sweet Almonds alone are employed in making emulsions, as the Bitter Almond imparts its peculiar taste when treated in this way.

Blanched and beaten into an emulsion with barley-water, Sweet Almonds are of great use in the stone, gravel, strangury and other disorders of the kidneys, bladder and biliary ducts.

By their oily character, Sweet Almonds sometimes give immediate relief in heartburn. For this, it is recommended to peel and eat six or eight Almonds.

Of Cherry:

Astringent tonic, pectoral, sedative. It has been used in the treatment of bronchitis of various types. Is valuable in catarrh, consumption nervous cough, whooping-cough, and dyspepsia.

Laurel Cherry:

Sedative, narcotic. The leaves possess qualities similar to those of hydrocyanic acid, and the water distilled from them is used for the same purpose as that medicine. Of value in coughs, whooping-cough, asthma, and in dyspepsia and indigestion.


The fruit is wholesome and seldom disagrees if eaten ripe, though the skin is indigestible. The quantity of sugar is only small.

All Peaches have in the kernel a flavour resembling that of noyau, which depends on the presence of prussic or hydrocyanic acid. Not only the kernels, but also the young branches and flowers, after maceration in water, yield a volatile oil, which is chemically identical with that of bitter almonds, and is the cause of this flavour. Infused in white brandy, sweetened with barley sugar, Peach leaves have been said to make a fine cordial, similar to noyau, and the flowers when distilled furnish a white liquor, which communicates a flavour resembling the kernels of the fruit.

The leaves, bark, flowers and kernels have medicinal virtue. Both the leaves and bark are still employed for their curative powers. They have demulcent, sedative, diuretic and expectorant action. An infusion of 1/2 OZ. of the bark or 1 OZ. of the dried leaves to a pint of boiling water has been found almost a specific for irritation and congestion of the gastric surfaces. It is also used in whooping cough, ordinary coughs and chronic bronchitis, the dose being from a teaspoonful to a wineglassful as required.

The fresh leaves were stated by the older herbalists to possess the power of expelling worms, if applied outwardly to the body as a poultice. An infusion of the dried leaves was also recommended for the same purpose.

In Italy, at the present day, there is a popular belief that if fresh Peach leaves are applied to warts and then buried, the warts will fall off by the time the buried leaves have decayed.

A syrup and infusion of Peach flowers was formerly a preparation recognized by apothecaries, and praised by Gerard as a mildly acting efficient purgative. The syrup was considered good for children and those in weak health, and to be good against jaundice.

A tincture made from the flowers has been said to allay the pain of colic caused by gravel.


Dried prunes are mildly laxative and are frequently employed in decoction. They form a pleasant and nourishing diet for invalids when stewed; they enter into the composition of Confection of Senna. A medicinal tincture is prepared from the fresh flower-buds of the Blackthorn. Some 20 per cent of oil is obtainable by crushing the Plum kernel - this is clear, yellow in colour and has an agreeable almond flavour and smell. It is used for alimentary purposes. The residue after pressing is used in the manufacture of a brandy, which is largely consumed in Hungary.

An Irish Herbal states of Almond:

Bitter almonds are used against all diseases of the lungs , liver and spleen and is therefore good against shortness of breath, coughs, inflammation and exulceration of the lungs. It should be taken in a sweet wine, and is also an excellent cure against the headache when it is applied to the forehead with the oil of roses and vinegar. It is said that if a man takes five or six almonds, before breaking his fast, that he will not become drunk that day.

Take 2 ounces of the oil of sweet almonds, the same quantity of fresh butter, sugar candy and clarified honey, a quarter of grated nutmeg, which mixed together and taken off a licorice stick, is an exceeding good cure for the cough.

Of Cherry:

Red Cherry. This tree bears red cherries which are of a cooling, moist nature. They purge and comfort the stomach, assuage thirst and ease the condition of the stone, gravel and epilepsy.

Black Cherry. These cherries are good for all uneasiness of the head and nerves, such as epilepsy, convulsions and paralysis. They also provoke urination and break up the stone, and in general, the distilled water of these cherries is of great use in mediceine.


Medlars have a cold, dry, astringent nature. When hard and green, they are very useful in stopping diarrhea. If the crushed stones of medlar are drunk in a solution, the break up the stones in the bladder.


The leaves open the liver and spleen and aid digestion. If applied to the navels of young children, they expel worms, and if crushed and applied to wounds, they cure and heal them. The kernels are beneficial for the liver and chest, and if they are finely crushed and boiled in vinegar until they dissolve and become like a pap, they wonderfully restore the hair. The flowers are purgative and open obstructions.

Fr. Kneipp wrote of Almond Oil:

The sweet almond-oil deserves one of the first places among the oils in the apotheca. It operates on various infirmities and complaints , interior as well as exterior ones, in a softening, cooling and dissolving manner. It dissolves phlegm in the wind-pipe, or in the stomach, and in the latter case it restores appetite and digestion. In inflammations, especially in the drea-ded inflammation of the lungs, it cools. Such patients ought to take one tea- spoonful of almond oil, three or four times a day. When applied externally, this oil is of especial service to those who suffer from various diseases. The almond oil is to my knowledge the best anodyne and dissolving remedy for such complaints as humming in the ears, sharp pains in the ears, cramps in the ears, obdurate ear-wax. Pour six or eight drops into the suffering ear and stop it with cotton-wool. If your hearing is becoming difficult through cold, draught, or rheumatism, pour seven or eight drops into one ear, and on the next day pour the same quantity into the other ear each time stopping the ear with cotton- wool. After a few days you may wash the interior of the ear with hike -warm water, and you will see the result. It would be better to let a competent man syringe the ear with an ear-syringe. Tumours with great heat (inflammation) should be rubbed softly with almond-oil ; it will ease the piercing pain and cool the burning heat. The so-called, often so painful “chinks" of country people, wounds originating from sitting, lying or riding, etc., no matter on what part of the body, they may be exceedingly well treated by a soft, rubbing with sweet almond-oil.

Brother Aloysius wrote of Almond

Almond milk is particularly used for intestinal inflammation, bladder complaints, gravel, dry cough hoarseness and fever.

… the oil dissolves hardened ear wax, as well.

Of Peach:

The leaves are used medicinally. The infusion should contain ¼ to 1/3 cup per 2 cups water and is recommended for constipation; it has a mild purgative action. One should never take more than the prescribed dose; more would be dangerous and even fatal.

Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests states:

Wild Cherry: This is, undoubtedly, one of the most valuable of our indigenous plants. The bark unites with a tonic power the property of calming irritation and diminishing nervous excitability, adapted to cases where the digestive powers are impaired, and with general and local irritation existing at the same time." It is peculiarly suited to the hectic fever attending scrofula and consumption, owing to the reduction of excitability which it induces, it is supposed, by the hydrocyanic acid contained in it. Eberle states that the cold infusion had the effect of reducing his pulse from seventy-five to fifty strokes in the minute. In a case of hypertrophy with increased action of the heart, I tried the infusion of this plant, taken in large quantities, according to Dr. Eberle's plan, but without very satisfactory results. It was persisted in for three weeks; the patient, a gentleman aged twenty-five, of nervous temperament, drinking several ounces of it three times a day. The force of the circulation was at first diminished; but the abatement was not progressive; the individual was not made any worse by it. Tincture of digitalis had been likewise used with no beneficial effects. Dr. Wood speaks of the employment of the wild cherry in the general debility following inflammatory fever. It is valuable, also, in dyspepsia, attended with neuralgic symptoms. Mer. and de L. Diet, de M. Med. v, 159 ; Bull des Sci. Med. xi, 303. The bark is indicated whenever a tonic is necessary, from impairment of the constitution by syphilis, dyspepsia, pulmonary or lumbar abscess, etc. I am informed by a correspondent that he finds equal parts of this bark, rhubarb, and the gum exuding from the peach tree, (Amygdalus communis,') which like- wise affords Prussic acid, when combined with brandy and white sugar, an excellent remedy in dysentery and diarrhoea; one ounce of each is added to one pint of brandy, with a sufficient quantity of white sugar, a tablespoonful of which is taken every half hour. The sensible, as well as the medicinal properties of this plant, are impaired by boiling; cold water extracts its virtues best. The inner bark is officinal. The bark of all parts of the tree is used, but that from the root is most active. The bark is stronger, if collected from the root in autumn, and it deteriorates by keeping. It is tonic, sedative, expectorant. The officinal infusion is thus made: Bark bruised, half an ounce to one pint of cold water; macerate for twenty-four hours. Dose, two or three fluid ounces three or four times a day. To make the officinal syrup: Take of wild cherry}' bark, in coarse powder, five ounces; sugar, refined, two pounds; water sufficient to moisten the bark thoroughly. Let it stand for twenty-four hours in a close vessel; then transfer it to a percolator, and pour cold water upon it gradually until a pint of filtered liquor is obtained. To this add the sugar, in a bottle, and agitate occasionally until it is dissolved. Dose one-half fluid ounce. By Proctor's analysis, it contains starch, resin, tannin, gallic acid, fatty matter, lignin, salts of lime potassa and iron, and a volatile oil associated with hydrocyanic acid. This proved fatal to a cat in less than five minutes. See Journal Phil. Coll. Pharm. vi, 8 ; Am. Journal Pharm. x, 197. The leaves, also, are sedative and anti-spasmodic; used in coughs, angina pectoris, etc. The dose of the powdered root is from twenty grains to one drachm. The infusion is the most convenient form. A syrup is also made; beside several secret preparations. The method of making the “Cherry cordial” by the Southern matrons in the lower country of South Carolina, is as follows:

Fill the vessel with cherries, (not washed, if gathered clean,) and cover with whiskey. After several weeks pour off all the clear liquor and press the cherries through a sieve. Put into the juice thus pressed out five pints of brown sugar, and boil with syrup enough to sweeten the whole. Pour five pints of water on the thick part; boil and strain to make the syrup with the sugar. " Blackberry cordial " is made in the same way; or it can be stewed, strained, sweetened and whiskey added. In the above, the sugar is to be boiled in the water which is obtained from the thick part as directed. Plum cordial is thus made in S. C: Fill the vessel with plums after sticking each one. Pour whiskey enough to cover them. After six weeks preserve the plums in half their weight of. sugar. Put all together and shake the jug well. The common wild plum is used. The gum which exudes from the red cherry, the plum and peach, is used in place of gum arable in increasing the brilliancy of starch and in sealing envelopes. The wood of this tree is highly valuable, being compact, fine grained and brilliant, and not liable to warp when perfectly seasoned. When chosen near the ramifications of the trunk, it rivals mahogany in the beauty of its curls. Farmer's Encyc.

The Thomsonian System of Medicine states of Peach and Cherry

PEACH MEATS. (Dr. Thomson.)

The meats that are in the peach stones have long been used as medicine, and need but little to be said about them, except that they are of great value to strengthen the stomach and bowels, and restore the digestion; for which purpose I have made much use of them, and always to good advantage. Made into a cordial, with other articles, in the manner as directed under No. 5, it forms one of the best remedies I know of to recover the natural tone of the stomach after long sickness. A tea may be made of the leaves and bark of the peach tree and answers almost the same purpose as the peach meats. CAUTION. Do not allow the infusion to stand over eight hours, as by fermentation prussic acid will be formed and cause poisoning. It should be made fresh every time it is used. The tincture, syrup or fluid extract can be kept any length of time. The dose of the Tincture is from 30 to 60 minims.

CHERRY STONES. (Dr. Thomson.)

The meats of the Wild Cherry stones are very good, and may be used instead of the peach meats, when they cannot be had. Get the stones as clean as possible, and when well dried, pound them in a mortar, and separate the meats from the stones, which is done with little trouble ; take the same quantity as is directed of the peach meats, and it will answer equally as well. A tea made of the cherries, pounded with the stones, and steeped in hot water, sweetened with loaf sugar, to which is added a little brandy, is good to restore the digestive powers and create an appetite. Bitter almonds may be used as a substitute for the peach meats or cherry stones, when they cannot be had.

King's American Dispensatory, 1898 tells us of wild Cherry:

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Wild cherry bark has a tonic and stimulating influence on the digestive apparatus, and a simultaneous sedative action on the nervous system and circulation. It is, therefore, valuable in all those cases where it is desirable to give tone and strength to the system, without, at the same time, causing too great an action of the heart and blood vessels, as, during convalescence from pleurisy, pneumonia, acute hepatitis, and other inflammatory and febrile diseases. Its chief property is its power of relieving irritation of the mucous surfaces, making it an admirable remedy in many gastro-intestinal, pulmonic, and urinary troubles. Like lycopus, it lessens vascular excitement, though it does not control hemorrhages like that agent. It is best adapted to chronic troubles. It is also useful in hectic fever, cough, colliquative diarrhoea, some forms of irritative dyspepsia, whooping-cough, irritability of the nervous system, etc., and has been found an excellent palliative in phthisis, the syrup being employed to moderate the cough, lessen the fever, and sustain the patient's strength. It has likewise been of service in scrofula and other diseases attended with much debility and hectic fever. Wild cherry is an excellent sedative in cardiac palpitation, not due to structural wrongs. It is particularly useful in this disorder when there is nervous fever, tuberculosis, or the debility consequent upon irritative dyspepsia, anemia, chlorosis, or nervous diseases. Externally, it has been found useful, in decoction, as a wash to ill-conditioned ulcers and acute ophthalmia. Dose of the powdered bark, 1 or 2 drachms; of the infusion, 1 ounce of bark to 1 pint of cold water, and allowed to stand a few hours, from 1 to 4 fluid ounces, 4 or 5 times a day, and which is the best mode of using it; syrup of wild cherry, 1 fluid drachm. This agent may be used as a vehicle for Fowler's solution and other medicines. Specific prunus, 1 to 20 drops.

Specific Indications and Uses.—Rapid, weak circulation; continual irritative cough, with profuse muco-purulent expectoration; cardiac palpitation, from debility; dyspnoea; pyrexia; loss of appetite; and cardiac pain

Plants for A Future states:

Medicinal use of Almond: As well as being a tasty addition to the diet, almonds are also beneficial to the overall health of the body, being used especially in the treatment of kidney stones, gallstones and constipation. Externally, the oil is applied to dry skins and is also often used as a carrier oil in aromatherapy. The seed is demulcent, emollient, laxative, nutritive and pectoral. When used medicinally, the fixed oil from the seed is normally employed. The seed contains "laetrile", a substance that has also been called vitamin B17. This has been claimed to have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer, but there does not at present seem to be much evidence to support this. The pure substance is almost harmless, but on hydrolysis it yields hydrocyanic acid, a very rapidly acting poison - it should thus be treated with caution. In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being. The leaves are used in the treatment of diabetes. The plant contains the antitumour compound taxifolin.

Medicinal uses of Apricot: Apricot fruits are nutritious, cleansing and mildly laxative. The flowers are tonic, promoting fecundity in women. The bark is astringent. The inner bark and/or the root are used for treating poisoning caused by eating bitter almond and apricot seeds (which contain hydrogen cyanide). Another report says that a decoction of the outer bark is used to neutralize the effects of hydrogen cyanide. The decoction is also used to soothe inflamed and irritated skin conditions. The seed is analgesic, anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, antitussive, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, pectoral, sedative and vulnerary. It is used in the treatment of asthma, coughs, acute or chronic bronchitis and constipation. The seed contains "laetrile", a substance that has also been called vitamin B17. This has been claimed to have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer, but there does not at present seem to be much evidence to support this. The pure substance is almost harmless, but on hydrolysis it yields hydrocyanic acid, a very rapidly acting poison - it should thus be treated with caution. In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Medicinal use of Wild Cherry: The fruit stalks are astringent, diuretic and tonic. A decoction is used in the treatment of cystitis, oedema, bronchial complaints, looseness of the bowels and anaemia. An aromatic resin can be obtained by making small incisions in the trunk. This has been used as an inhalant in the treatment of persistent coughs. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Medicinal use of Damson: The bark of the root and branches is febrifuge and considerably styptic. An infusion of the flowers has been used as a mild purgative for children. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Medicinal use of Peach: Antihalitosis. The leaves are astringent, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, parasiticide and mildly sedative. They are used internally in the treatment of gastritis, whooping cough, coughs and bronchitis. They also help to relieve vomiting and morning sickness during pregnancy, though the dose must be carefully monitored because of their diuretic action. The dried and powdered leaves have sometimes been used to help heal sores and wounds. The leaves are harvested in June and July then dried for later use. The flowers are diuretic, sedative and vermifuge. They are used internally in the treatment of constipation and oedema. A gum from the stems is alterative, astringent, demulcent and sedative. The seed is antiasthmatic, antitussive, emollient, haemolytic, laxative and sedative. It is used internally in the treatment of constipation in the elderly, coughs, asthma and menstrual disorders. The bark is demulcent, diuretic, expectorant and sedative. It is used internally in the treatment of gastritis, whooping cough, coughs and bronchitis. The root bark is used in the treatment of dropsy and jaundice. The bark is harvested from young trees in the spring and is dried for later use. The seed contains "laetrile", a substance that has also been called vitamin B17. This has been claimed to have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer, but there does not at present seem to be much evidence to support this. The pure substance is almost harmless, but on hydrolysis it yields hydrocyanic acid, a very rapidly acting poison - it should thus be treated with caution. In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Medicinal use of Nectarine: Antihalitosis. The leaves are astringent, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, parasiticide and mildly sedative. They are used internally in the treatment of gastritis, whooping cough, coughs and bronchitis. They also help to relieve vomiting and morning sickness during pregnancy, though the dose must be carefully monitored because of their diuretic action. The dried and powdered leaves have sometimes been used to help heal sores and wounds. The leaves are harvested in June and July then dried for later use. The flowers are diuretic, sedative and vermifuge. They are used internally in the treatment of constipation and oedema. A gum from the stems is alterative, astringent, demulcent and sedative. The seed is antiasthmatic, antitussive, emollient, haemolytic, laxative and sedative. It is used internally in the treatment of constipation in the elderly, coughs, asthma and menstrual disorders. The bark is demulcent, diuretic, expectorant and sedative. It is used internally in the treatment of gastritis, whooping cough, coughs and bronchitis. The root bark is used in the treatment of dropsy and jaundice. The bark is harvested from young trees in the spring and is dried for later use. The seed contains "laetrile", a substance that has also been called vitamin B17. This has been claimed to have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer, but there does not at present seem to be much evidence to support this. The pure substance is almost harmless, but on hydrolysis it yields hydrocyanic acid, a very rapidly acting poison - it should thus be treated with caution. In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Medicinal use of Sloe: The flowers, bark, leaves and fruits are aperient, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, laxative and stomachic. An infusion of the flowers is used in the treatment of diarrhoea (especially for children), bladder and kidney disorders, stomach weakness et. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Peterson Field Guides Eastern and Central Medicinal Plants tells us:

Black or wild Cherry: aromatic inner bark traditionally used in tea or syrup for coughs, “blood tonic”, fevers, colds, sore throats, diarrhea, long ailments, bronchitis, pneumonia, inflammatory fever diseases, and dyspepsia. Useful for general debility with persistent cough, poor circulation, lack of appetite; Mild sedative, expectorant. Fruits used as poor man's cherry substitute. Warning: bark, leaves and seeds contain a cyanide like glycoside, prunasin, which converts when digested to the highly toxic hydrocyanic acid. Toxins are most abundant in bark harvested in the fall.

Chokecherry: non-aromatic bark similar to that of black cherry. Externally used for wounds. Dried powdered berries once used to stimulate appetite, treat diarrhea, bloody discharge of bowels. Warning: as with black cherry, seeds, bark, and leaves may cause cyanide poisoning.

The Physicians’ Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines 3rd edition states of almond:

Sweet almonds are used topically in skin care and liniments. No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with proper administration of design therapeutic topical doses of sweet almond. Bitter almonds were used in the past as a remedy for coughs vomiting and nausea in the form of bitter water almond water. Bitter almonds to be used only under the supervision of an expert qualified in the appropriate use of this substance. 10 bitter almonds are said to be fatal for a child, 64 an adult a fatal dosage would presumably be reached at a lower level, given advantageous conditions, E.G. Higher cyanide levels in the almonds, intensive chewing.

Of Cherry:

Wild cherry bark is an astringent, antitussive and sedative. Unproven uses: wild cherry bark is used for coughs, bronchitis and whooping cough. It is also used in the treatment of nervous digestive disorders and diarrhea. No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages. Cyanide poisonings from the drug are unlikely, due to both its low cyanogenic glycoside content and the lack of inclination to digest it.

This article is an excerpt from The Medicinal Trees of the American South, An Herbalist's Guide: by Judson Carroll

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Medicinal Shrubs and Woody Vines of The American Southeast An Herbalist's Guide
Read about Medicinal Shrubs and Woody Vines of The American Southeast An Herbalist's Guide: https://southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/2022/06/medicinal-shrubs-and-woody-vines-of.html

Available for purchase on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B2T4Y5L6

Growing Your Survival Herb Garden for Preppers, Homesteaders and Everyone Else

Read About Growing Your Survival Herb Garden for Preppers, Homesteaders and Everyone Else: http://southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/2022/04/growing-your-survival-herb-garden-for.html

Available for purchase on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09X4LYV9R

The Encyclopedia of Bitter Medicinal Herbs:


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Christian Medicine, History and Practice:


Available for purchase on Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B09P7RNCTB

Herbal Medicine for Preppers, Homesteaders and Permaculture People


Also available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HMWXL25

Look Up: The Medicinal Trees of the American South, An Herbalist's Guide


The Herbs and Weeds of Fr. Johannes Künzle:


Author: Judson Carroll. Judson Carroll is an Herbalist from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

His weekly articles may be read at judsoncarroll.com

His weekly podcast may be heard at: www.spreaker.com/show/southern-appalachian-herbs

He offers free, weekly herb classes: https://rumble.com/c/c-618325


The information on this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or condition. Nothing on this site has been evaluated or approved by the FDA. I am not a doctor. The US government does not recognize the practice of herbal medicine and their is no governing body regulating herbalists. Therefore, I'm just a guy who studies herbs. I am not offering any advice. I won't even claim that anything I write is accurate or true! I can tell you what herbs have "traditionally been used for." I can tell you my own experience and if I believe an herb helped me. I cannot, nor would I tell you to do the same. If you use any herb I, or anyone else, mentions you are treating yourself. You take full responsibility for your health. Humans are individuals and no two are identical. What works for me may not work for you. You may have an allergy, sensitivity or underlying condition that no one else shares and you don't even know about. Be careful with your health. By continuing to read my blog you agree to be responsible for yourself, do your own research, make your own choices and not to blame me for anything, ever.
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