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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

Sorbus americana


Used for the same purposes as Mountain Ash (S. aucuparia) and is included in the 1916 US Dispensatory.
Bark is astringent, tonic and antiseptic. It contains Prussic acid (hydrocyanic acid).
The fruit yields malic acid. It was used for fevers, sometimes substituting for quinine in cases of intermittent fever (malaria).
Native Americans used a tea from the ripe berries for scurvy, intestinal worms. A tea from the inner bark was used for colds, debility, boils, diarrhea, tonsillitis and as a blood purifier.
It was called Wetchus-Y-uska-wa by the Cree; thin shreds were scraped from the young branches and used for pleurisy and inflammatory diseases.
Sometimes substituted for wild cherry bark (Prunus serotina) as the action is similar. Berries were used as an anti-scorbutic (scurvy).
The Penobscot used the tree as an emetic. They also boiled the bark in decoction and drank the liquid to stimulate appetite and to purify the blood. They also used an infusion of the bark as a diuretic and an infusion of the root for colic.
Potawatomi used an infusion of the leaves for colds; the leaves were steeped in hot water and given to a patient to cause vomiting which would thus expel any extra mucous. It was used for pneumonia, diphtheria and croup.
The Tete de Boule made an infusion of the inner bark and buds for general feebleness and depression. The fibers were also boiled to make a plaster which was put on kidneys of women in childbirth.

The wood was used by the Ojibwa for canoe ribs, snowshoe frames and lacrosse racquets.
Bears are fond of the berries.
It was also used to make a strong cider.
Bark is said to smell and taste like cherry bark.

©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH