The Fruit of Fire
Cherries (Prunus avium, P. cerasus) are members of the Rosaceae (Rose) Family, and relatives of apples and strawberries. The species name, avium means “for the birds”. Cherries are native to Eurasia. In ancient Greece, cherries were recommended in treating epilepsy. In the 1920’s, American doctors suggested black cherries for kidney stones and gall bladder ailments and the red cherries for mucous conditions.
Cherries are considered alkaline, warm, and sweet. They make an excellent detoxifying food, heping the body eliminate uric acid, cleanse the kidneys, move blood stagnation and impart a rosy glow to the complexion. Cherries are circulatory stimulants, laxative, a tonic for the stomach and spleen. Cherries have been used throughout history in treating anemia, arthritis, asthma, catarrh, constipation, cramps, fatigue, gall stones, gout, high blood pressure, hypochondria, kidney stones, lumbago, measles, numbness, obesity, rheumatism, stunted growth, paralysis, frequent urination, and even cavity prevention. At the Forsyth Dental Center a study was done that showed black cherry juice blocked 89% of the enzyme activity the would lead to plaque formation.
Cherries are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin B 1, C, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, flavonoids, and the fiber, pectin. The darker cherries are even more mineral rich. Cherries also contain the anti-cancer compound, ellagic acid.
Cherries are one of the most chemically contaminated fruits, hence it is always best to buy organic whenever possible. Avoid eating them in cases of excess heat, as in the orient are known as “fruit of fire.” Select cherries with fresh green stems with full colored plump glossy skinned cherries. Avoid those soft, leaking, brown or moldy.
The seed of cherries is considered neutral, bitter and is an aid to neutralize toxins. The stems are a diuretic. A tea made from the bark is used in treating coughs. Dehydrating and drying cherries is a way to enjoy their delicious fruits year-round.
Cherries can be enjoyed plain, in fruit salads, pies, jams, puddings, smoothies and juices. Get creative and enjoy!