Wild Plum Flowers, Fruit and Bark

Scientific Names:
Prunus spinosa L. [Fam. Rosaceae]

Fresh or dried wild plum flowers, fruit and bark, cut and sifted, for teas; wild plum bark extract

Traditional Usage:
– Antioxidant
– Astringent
– Bloating
– Blood Purification (flowers)
– Breathing Disorders
– Cleansing
– Colds
– Convalescence (flowers)
– Coughs
– Cramps
– Detoxification
– Diarrhea
– Digestive Disorders
– Diuretic
– Dyspepsia
– Exhaustion (flowers)
– Fatigue (flowers)
– Fever
– Gastric Spasms
– Indigestion
– Kidney Health Maintenance (flowers)
– Laxative
– Poultice
– Rashes (flowers, externally)
– Skin Disorders (flowers, externally)
– Sore Throat
– Tonsillitis
– Urinary Tract Infections
– Wounds

Wild plum, Prunus spinosa L. [Fam. Rosaceae], otherwise known as sloe or blackthorn, has been used as a traditional medicine for centuries in Europe. It is a bulky, 10-foot-high bush with fragrant white flowers. The fruit of wild plum trees are primarily used as a remedy for sore throat. Both the fruit and the flower are used medicinally, but only the fruit is considered unquestionably effective – and then only for inflammations of the mouth and throat. The berries are listed in the German Commission E monographs for treating mild inflammation of the oral or pharyngeal mucosa. The drug, used as a mouth rinse, consists of the fresh or dried, ripe fruit of Prunus spinosa L., as well as its preparations in effective dosage. In folk medicine, wild plum is used as a laxative and a remedy for cramps, bloating, indigestion, and diarrhea. Homeopathic practitioners use it for nerve pain, urinary problems, weak heart, and nervous headaches. Preparations containing wild plum flowers are listed in the German Commission E monographs for treating common colds, diseases and ailments of the respiratory tract, as a laxative, for diarrhea, for prevention and treatment of gastric spasms, bloating and intestinal diseases and dyspepsia. The flowers are also used for treating dropsy, ailments of the kidneys and bladder, bladder spasms, as a diuretic, for general exhaustion, convalescence and externally for rashes, skin impurities and for “blood purification”. Wild plum bark is also used medicinally, in a similar way as wild cherry bark, in traditional cough and cold remedies such as cough syrups and teas. The action of these preparations is astringent, exerting a tightening, drying effect on mucous membranes such as those lining the oral cavity. Wild plum bark was once thought to be a fever remedy, and its fruit is an ingredient in Sloe Gin.

Active Ingredients:
Wild plum contains: Amygdalin (flowers and seeds); caffeic acid (plant); cyanidin (plant); emulsin (seed); ferulic acid (plant); hyperoside (flowers); kaempferin (plant); kaempferol; nonacosane (seed); pectin (fruit); prunicyanin (fruit); quercetin, quercetrin and rutin (flower); beta-sitosterol and tannin (fruit). Seven flavonoids were isolated from the flowers of Prunus spinosa L.: quercetin 3-O-alpha-L-arabinopyranoside, 3-O-alpha-L-rhamnopyranoside, 3-O-beta-D-xylo-pyranoside, and 3-O-beta-glucopyranoside, kaempferol 3,7-di-O-alpha-L-rhamnopyranoside, kaempferol and quercetin 3-O-(4″-beta-D-glucopyranosyl)-alpha-L-rhamnopyranosides. The leaves contain a flavonedipentoside identified as far back as 1957. [Horehammer, L., Endres L., Wagner, H., and F. Richthammer. 1957. Isolation and identification of a flavonedipentoside from the leaves of Prunus spinosa. Arch Pharm Ber Dtsch Pharm Ges. 1957 Jul; 290/62(7): 342-8. German.]

Suggested Amount:
The recommended dosage for wild plum fruit is 2 – 4 grams daily dosage or equivalent taken as preparations. Wild plums can also be eaten liberally as foods. Wild plum flowers and bark can be prepared as an herbal tea. Put 1 to 2 heaping teaspoons of crushed wild plum flowers in boiling water, stir, steep for 5 to 10 minutes, then strain.

Drug Interactions:
None known.

None known.

Side Effects:
None known.


Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Copyright American Botanical Council. Publ. by Integrative Medicine Communications, 1029 Chestnut Street, Newton, MA 02464. Pp. 91-92.

Duke JA. 1992. Prunus spinosa L. “Sloe; Blackthorn”. In: Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, Pp. 491.

Kumarasamy Y, Cox PJ, Jaspars M, Nahar L, Sarker SD. 2004. Comparative studies on biological activities of Prunus padus and P. spinosa. Fitoterapia. 2004 Jan; 75(1): 77-80.

Olszewska M, Wolbis M. 2002. Further flavonoids from the flowers of Prunus spinosa L. Acta Pol Pharm. 2002 Mar-Apr;59(2):133-7.

Rodriguez R, Lasheras B, Cenarruzabeitia E. 1986. Pharmacological activity of Prunus spinosa on isolated tissue preparations. Planta Med. 1986 Aug; (4): 256-9.