Cherry stems, or stipules, are the bitter, astringent stems of the fruit of the cherry tree. Cherry stems are diuretic, anti-inflammatory and mildly astringent. These properties make them particularly useful for disorders of the bladder such as cystitis. They have been used for centuries to increase diuresis and to overcome urinary tract infections.
The fruit, bark and gum of cherry trees were used to help soothe irritating coughs, support bronchial complaints and improve digestion. Crushed cherries, applied externally, were reputed to refresh tired skin and support migraines. Culpeper said that the gum, dissolved in wine, "is good for a cold, cough, and hoarseness of the throat; mendeth the colour in the face, sharpeneth the eye-sight, provoketh appetite, and helpeth to break and expel the stone."
The fruit was cooked, eaten raw or (pulped with the stones) made into a wine. It was also used to make conserves and adult drink. In medieval times cherries were picked when they were wine-red, and eaten ultra-ripe.
Although the wild cherry, listed by Aelfric, is a native of Britain, it is thought that the Romans introduced the cultivated variety to England. Medieval monk-gardeners grafted more productive varieties on to the rootstock of the wild cherry. The fine-grained reddish-brown wood was highly suitable for wood-carving and turning.
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More Photographs - Cherry Stems (Stipites cerasorum) - 450 mg
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