Health Benefits of Bitter Berry

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Bitter Berry Quick Facts
Name: Bitter Berry
Scientific Name: Prunus virginiana
Origin Native to North America and is found in Canada, Florida, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana, Texas.
Colors Dark red fruit
Shapes Spherical drupes, globose, 1/4 to 3/8 inch in diameter
Taste Bitter and astringent
Calories 249 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Total dietary Fiber (81.05%)
Carbohydrate (39.83%)
Copper (31.83%)
Manganese (27.92%)
Vitamin K (27.08%)

Bitter Berry is a native perennial, woody, deciduous and thicket forming large erect shrub or small tree. It reaches to the height of over 30 feet. The tree has irregular crown which measures 10 to 20 feet wide when mature. Stems are slender and numerous. The outside bark is blackish and rugged. The young branches are smooth, red or purplish; flowers appear after the leaves in May and June, followed by the delicious Cherry in August. Individual flowers are 1/4 to 3/8 inch in diameter with 5 white petals. Leaves are glossy and dark green, alternate, glabrous, simple, oval to broadly elliptic about 1 to 4 inches long and 3/4 to 2 inches wide. Margins are toothed with sharp teeth pointing outward forming a serrated edge. The bark has a distinct aromatic odour, resembling bitter almond when macerated in water; the taste is astringent and agreeably bitter. The young, thin bark is the best; very large or small branches should be rejected. Stem bark is collected in the autumn and carefully dried; slouching dead tissue, if present, should be removed. Fruits are globose and 1/4 to 3/8 inch in diameter.

Facts About Bitter Berry

Name Bitter Berry
Scientific Name Prunus virginiana
Native Native to North America and is found in Canada, Florida, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana, Texas.
Common/English Name Wild Black Cherry Bark, Choke Cherry, Common chokecherry, Black chokecherry, Red chokecherry, Virginia chokecherry, California chokecherry, Eastern chokecherry, Western chokecherry, Rum chokecherry, Wild blackcherry, Whiskey chokecherry, Wild cherry, Bird cherry Chokeberry, Jamcherry, Cabinet cherry, Chuckleyplum, Bitter-berry, Sloe tree, Caupulin
Plant Growth Habit Suckering hardy tree or large shrub
Plant Size 1 to 6 m tall
Bark Blackish and rugged
Branches Smooth, red or purplish
Leaf Elliptic to ovate, and 3 to 10 cm long
Medicinal part The young thin bark
Flowering Season Summer
Flower Creamy-white
Fruit shape & size Spherical drupes, globose, 1/4 to 3/8 inch in diameter
Fruit color Dark red fruit
Flavor/aroma Strong
Fruit Taste Bitter and astringent


Leaves are alternate, simple, oblong to nearly oval and 2 to 4 inches long. It has finely serrated margin, dark green above and paler below, minute glands on petiole.


Flower is white, in a loose 3 to 6 inches long terminal raceme, appearing after leaves.


Flowers are then dark red to purple drupe and 1/3 diameter and matures in late summer.


Twigs are slender, black cherry and light brown to gray.  


Bark is smooth, gray-brown, conspicuous lenticels that develop into shallow fissures; young stems have shallowly peeling, curling layers.

Medicinal uses

  • Bark and roots act as blood tonic, pectoral, astringent, tonic, sedative and appetite stimulant.
  • Root bark infusion is used to treat coughs, fevers and colds.
  • Use the root bark as a wash for old sores, burns and ulcers.
  • Use the inner bark for treating wounds.
  • Dried and powdered fruits are used for stimulating appetite, bloody discharges of bowels and treat diarrhea.
  • Unriped fruit is used for treating diarrhea.

Culinary uses

  • Fruits are used to make jams and jellies, syrups, pie filings and wines.
  • Fruits can be sundried.
  • Bark is used to brew tea.
  • Fruits are used to flavor soups and stews or as a thickening agent.
  • It is used for making cakes and pies.

Side Effects

  • It can cause mild headache and ulcers.
  • Excessive intake causes constipation and other abdominal problems.
  • It also increases toxicity in stomach.


15 drops in water. Cherry bark will dissolve stones but should be combined with other herbs and administered carefully and over a period of several months, as when taken too fast will expel the stones abruptly without being softened.

Homoeopathic Clinical

Cold infusion or tincture of inner bark; solution of concentrated resinous extract, Prunin—Acidity, Anorexia, Dyspepsia, Heart (weakness of, hypertrophy of. irritable), Pyrosis.







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