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How to Make Wild Cherry Bark Cough Syrup

How to Make Wild Cherry Bark Cough Syrup | Growing Up Herbal | Soothe your child’s next cough with this effective herbal cough syrup featuring wild cherry bark!

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

How to Make Wild Cherry Bark Cough Syrup | Growing Up Herbal | Soothe your child’s next cough with this effective herbal cough syrup featuring 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

How to Make Wild Cherry Bark Cough Syrup | Growing Up Herbal | Soothe your child’s next cough with this effective herbal cough syrup featuring wild cherry bark!

Wild Cherry Bark Cough Syrup
(Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. 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.  
  2. When the infusion time is over, strain and compost the herbs.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

REFERENCES:

13 thoughts on “How to Make Wild Cherry Bark Cough Syrup”

  1. I love this recipe for cough syrup. It works really well and so easy to make! The homeopathic remedy I was using costs $14 a bottle but with 3 kids using it it goes so fast! I added 1 part echinacea and elderberry to the recipe as well for their immune boosting qualities and substituted marshmallow rt instead of elecampane as that’s what I had on hand. Thanks for posting!!

    1. It depends on how big your “part” is. If you use a teaspoon as your part, you’ll have a smaller amount of herbs and therefore will need less water. If you use a 1/3 cup as your part, you’ll have a larger amount of herbs and will need more water. You’ll want to use enough water to cover your herbs by at least 1-2 inches in your saucepan. That way there’s plenty of water to decoct and reduce. For further help with making herbal decoctions, you can read the steps in this post.

  2. I thought I had every herb under the sun in my herbal apothecary. But I do not have elecampane. Can you recommend a substitute? Thanks for all you do! I love your letters!

    1. Yes, to be a wild cherry bark syrup, it will need to be made with wild cherry bark. If you don’t have that on hand, you can substitute it for another herb that helps to calm dry, spastic coughs such as elecampane. I also have several other cough syrup recipes on the blog that you can find by searching for “cough syrup” in the search bar. Hope that helps!

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