Prunus cerasifera is a species of plum known by the common names cherry plum and myrobalan plum. It is native to Europe and Asia and naturalized in scattered locations in North America
The plant is used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are “Desperation”, “Fear of losing control of the mind” and “Dread of doing some frightful thing”. It is also one of the five ingredients in the “Rescue remedy”. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.
- Good for constipation and hemorrhoids. Cherry plums contain an estimate of 1.4 g of dietary fiber/100 g of fruit. Most of the fiber is located in the skin of the fruit and is both soluble and insoluble. Cherry plums are a particularly good source a soluble fiber called pectin. In the digestive tract, pectin travels unchanged but absorbs water and becomes gel-like, which helps soften stools, helping relieve constipation. Soft stools that are easy to pass mean less strain during bowel movements and can improve hemorrhoids.
- Has natural prebiotic properties. The pectin in cherry plums is a soluble fiber, indigestible plant material that remains unchanged by digestive enzymes. Pectin ferments in the colon, releasing beneficial compounds that feed the good bacteria there, meaning it has prebiotic properties. These properties help maintain the health of the colon lining, support populations of good bacteria that help absorb nutrients from food and inhibit the growth of pathogenic gut bacteria, contributing to digestive health (read more about the benefits of pectin).
- Low in calories for weight loss. Cherry plums have approximately 40 kcal/100 g and less than 1% fat, making them great for weight loss. Moreover, they provide good amounts of dietary fiber which binds to some of the fat from the food we eat, preventing its absorption at the intestinal level and promoting weight loss naturally.
- Cardiovascular benefits. As a source of fiber, cherry plums indirectly help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, contributing to cardiovascular health. Moreover, they are an extremely rich source of antioxidants which combat lipid peroxidation and further reduce cardiovascular disease risks.
- Source of vitamin C for immunity. Ripe cherry plums provide anywhere between 10% and 20% of the RDI of vitamin C, while the unripe fruit may contain up to several times the amount. Vitamin C has antioxidant benefits, reduces inflammation in the body and boosts immunity. Eating unripe cherry plums can help strengthen the immune system and combat respiratory infections. However, the unripe fruit is also a source of citric acid and can cause stomach upset and worsen an existing gastritis if eaten in large amounts.
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
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Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_plum