Medicinal plants

Cherries - ingredients, effects and applications

Cherries - ingredients, effects and applications

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CherriesWhether sweet or sour, not only flatter the palate, but are also very healthy. The wild cherry, whose fruit tastes quite bitter, originally comes from Southeast Europe. In Central Europe, it has been as common in sparse forests as on the edges of forests since the Middle Ages. In contrast to wild cherries, the fruits of the cultivated cherries are sweet. The sour cherry is a different kind.

Cherries as a remedy - the most important facts

Cherries contain minerals and trace elements and with their high content of vitamins they counteract colds and bronchitis. They also promote digestion. The special thing about cherries is that leaves, stems and bark have an even stronger effect than the fruit.


Cherries contain vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid. In addition, there are the minerals potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc.

Anthocyanins color the cherries red. This dye works against free radicals and UV rays. Cherries therefore prevent cell aging and cancer.


Cherries promote digestion, they have a laxative effect. Excessive consumption of cherries can lead to diarrhea. Cherries are also diuretic. They help to excrete uric acid, prevent gout and slow down an existing gout disease. Cherries help control blood sugar.


In order to benefit from the minerals and vitamins contained in cherries, cherries should be eaten raw or a tea made from dried cherries and / or leaves. To stimulate digestion, eat fresh or dried cherries.

Cherry leaf tea

Tea drained from cherry leaves, helps against inflammation of the urinary tract and loosens mucus, therefore serves as a remedy for cough. To do this, pick a handful of cherry leaves, wash and chop them. You fill the leaves with a cup of hot water, let everything steep for ten minutes and then strain the liquid. Drink three cups a day.

Cherry stones

Cherry pits contain hydrocyanic acid, which is fatally toxic. Swallowing a healthy cherry stone has no consequences: the whole, chewed stone passes through the stomach and intestines and leaves the body without exposing the inside of the stone.

The situation is different with chewed or ground cherry stones. How many cherry stones make up a lethal dose depends on many factors, such as age, constitution or body weight. In 2017 Matthew Creme from Blackpool came to the hospital with a fever and nausea - he cracked three cherry stones and ate them because of the marzipan taste.

Amygdalin in the cherry tastes of bitter almonds, this cyanogenic glycoside splits into hydrocyanic acid. Hydrogen cyanide blocks cell respiration and leads to an "inner suffocation". Shortness of breath first occurs, then consciousness ceases and respiratory arrest follows.

Cherry stone pillow

On the other hand, cherry stone pillows are harmless - they serve as a source of heat or cold. These pillows contain the kernels of sour cherries as a filling. Sour cherries (especially morello cherries) are processed industrially, the resulting kernels are cleaned mechanically and then dried. Cores in the pillows only contain around ten percent moisture and therefore last for several years.

A warmed-up cherry stone pillow helps to relieve tension, especially around the neck and shoulders. Those affected should sit down so that the body can relax, but at the same time the pillow does not slip. In the case of weaker tension such as after a day on the office chair, it is often helpful to put on a heated cherry stone pillow for about 15 minutes. If pain persists, you can rest on the pillow three times a day.

Cherry stone massage

A massage with a cherry stone pillow is also good. To do this, perform circular movements with the pillow on the corresponding part of the body. They start where the center of the pain is and press the heated nuclei selectively onto the skin. Then press the pillow further onto the skin and draw larger circles to warm and massage the entire region into which the pain is spreading.

A cherry stone pillow can relieve minor pain by tension. However, if the cause is not muscle tension, for example due to poor sitting, but if you have a nerve trapped or a vertebra dislocated, you should seek medical help. This also applies if the pain persists for more than three days.

What should you look for in the cherry stone pillow?

You can clean a cherry stone pillow without a removable cover in the washing machine at 30 degrees Celsius, preferably without detergent. It is best to dry the pillow on a drying rack. On a heater, the cores, which are still moist, can become too hot and be damaged. On the stand, you should flip the pillow several times so that it dries evenly.

The heated cores help against light to moderate tension caused by unnatural posture, lack of exercise, drafts, stress or overworked muscles.

How do you heat the pillow?

The pillow can be warmed in the oven or microwave. The temperature should not be too high, 100 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes is enough. Stay close, cherry stone pillows easily catch fire. Tip: If you wrap the pillow in aluminum foil, you prevent it from turning brown.

Cherry Myth

Cherries have been known as food since the Bronze Age. The Chinese worship the blooming cherries as a symbol of the beauty of women, while in Japan cherry blossoms are symbols of the transience of life.

The Japanese celebrate the cherry blossom festival "hanami matsun". The Japanese cherry tree produces no fruit and only blooms for a short time. That is why, for the Japanese, cherry blossoms are an expression of an honorable death at a young age and the epitome of the samurai code.

In the Middle Ages, the bark of the cherry tree served as a useless tool against the plague. The desperate nailed cherry bark to house doors to ward off the plague. Of course, the bark did not help against the bacteria. Cherries (the fruits) stood for fertility, seduction and eroticism, the flowers in Europe, however, for purity and innocence. The church saw the fruits as impure because they stood for sexual passion.

In popular belief, cherries were the trees of the fairies and elves. They danced under the blooming trees at full moon, and whoever was caught watching them happened bad luck.

All kinds of cherries

Wild cherries are plums. Today there are countless cultivars of the real wild sweet cherry alone. The pedigree of sweet cherries is the bird cherry of the Caucasus.

Some cherries are almost black, others blood-red, others yellow, some large and round, others small with an intense aroma. The flesh is pink in some, almost white in others. Some cherries are firm to the bite, others are soft. Sour cherries such as morello cherries have a higher percentage of fruit acid. Sour cherries also ripen later than sweet cherries. You better cope with cold climates. These include morello cherries, sour cherry, amarelle or glass cherries.

Buy cherries

Cherries are best bought in season when you don't have any in the garden. You can recognize fresh ripe cherries by their crunchy shape. If the cherries are limp or feel soft, they are overripe.

Plant cherries

When you plant cherries, keep the following in mind: Sweet cherries like the air and the sun, so a south-facing position is advisable. Cherries are early bloomers, so they should not be exposed to late frost. This damages the flowers as well as the bark. Sour cherries are more robust against the cold - but sun is also important for them, because otherwise the taste will not develop.

Sour cherries prefer loamy sandy soil with a lot of humus, sweet cherries, however, prefer an airy soil with lime content. Cherries survive in acidic soil, but then suffer particularly from frost. You should plant them in autumn - this applies to sweet and sour cherries. Then the trees can take root in winter and sprout in spring. To get fruit, you need to plant two trees so that the flowers are fertilized.

A space problem quickly arises here: Sour cherries grow up to six meters in height and should have about five meters of space. A sweet cherry easily grows ten meters high and forms an expansive crown. Planted side by side, the trees need a distance of seven meters.

Freshly planted cherries need a lot of water. Even in the first years, especially in the summer months, you should water again if the rain does not come. The less water the roots get, the less fruit will develop.

Depending on the variety, the cherries bloom from April to May and, depending on the variety, bear fruit between June and August. When the cherries are ripe, you should harvest quickly. They also love starlings, thrushes and the maggots of the cherry fruit fly.

Cherry fruit flies deceive

The maggots of the cherry fruit fly are not everyone's taste. They frolic in the flesh of the cherries. The flies lay their eggs in the fruit and the larvae live in the pantry. The infested cherries usually rot and fall off.

Fortunately, the flies are not smart and can be easily fooled. All you have to do is hang “yellow boards” around the cherries. These cardboards are yellow and glued. The flies head for the cherries when they turn yellow and react to the color. That's why they now place their eggs on the bars and leave the cherries alone. Please hang the boards again after the harvest so that other animals do not stick to them. (Dr. Utz von Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


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  • Knobloch, Gerd: Natural remedies from A - Z, neobooks, 2013
  • Kuehl, Kerry S. et al .: "Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial", in: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 7:17, 2010, BMC
  • Kang, Soo-Young et al .: "Tart cherry anthocyanins inhibit tumor development in Apc mice and reduce proliferation of human colon cancer cells", in: Cancer Letters, Volume 194 Issue 1, 2003,

Video: Claire Makes Cherry Cobbler. From the Test Kitchen. Bon Appétit (August 2022).