Wild cherry cough syrup

Collecting wild cherries

During second part of August is a perfect time to collect wild cherries.  They can be a little dry and astringent when they are not completely ripe and therefore they are great for jam.  But what I discovered several years ago was even better: wild cherry cough syrup!
If you have a cherry tree near you see if the berries are getting dark, then they are the ripest. Collect them in the basket, look through to discard the old, tainted berries.

Cherry benefits

Wild cherries provided fever relief and cough reducing propertied by Native Americans.  It was one of the most widely used remedy in the 19th century.  The berries are high in vitamin C, A, B1, B2, anti aging B5 and folate.  Copper, magnesium, and potassium are high in wild cherries.
The cherry gets the blood moving, so during fever or inflammation that helps to reduce the stagnation.  The berry is excellent for red hair people, that are prone to tissue redness and for allergic/food sensitive individuals as it calms the small intestine.  It will also work for thin people with cold extremities by warming their bodies up.  The cherry soothes the respiratory tract, increases expectoration and thus calms the irritable cough, also works for the old cough.  Wild cherry is great to soothing the heart, like all members of the rose family.  Wild cherries also contain small amount of cyanogen, that cuts down the heat production at the cellular level.

How to make the cough syrup

To make the syrup you mix 5 cups of cherries with 2 cups of black elderberries (if you have them), add 4 cups of sugar (I use natural Demerara), a splash of water to dissolve the sugar.  You cook this mixture constantly stirring over the fire for 20 minutes.  Add Mullein leaf, and cherry bark (if you have them) at the end of cooking and let it to infuse for another 10-15 minutes.  Strain though the cheese cloth or old cotton t-shirt.  Bottle, cap and label.  Store in the fridge.  Take one teaspoon at a time.

Local classes

If you would like to see how we make the syrup you are welcome to join my local Natural Cough Syrup making class through WITC on October, 17th from 6 to 9 p.m. in Cable, Wisconsin (Cable Community Center). Call 1800-243-9482 to register.

Happy and healthy cooking!

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The Earth Wise Herbal by Matthew Wood.

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