When I was pregnant with my son I craved peaches and nectarines. I never thought much about those cravings until a few years later when I was reading a book by herbalist Darryl Patton called Mountain Medicine”, which chronicles the experiences of Appalachian herbalist Tommy Bass. Bass stated that, “For expectant mothers, they can make the tea (of peach leaves) and drink a cup at night and one of a morning. They won’t have to take it more than two or three days and they’ll never have no morning sickness.”
I believe now that those cravings for peach where my body’s way of intuitively recommending a remedy for my morning sickness. Herbalist Matthew Wood states that the fruit is also effective to help ease morning sickness. I believe the Nectarine to have similar benefits to Peach; however, I will have to do more experimentation with nectarine to get a better understanding of my assumption.
Over the years I have grown to love the peach not only for its magnificent beauty and delicious taste, but also as an outstanding medicine which is growing right out in my own front yard. I have used a tincture of the pits macerated in brandy on numerous occasions for various stomach upsets and it works like a charm. I add peach leaf tincture to a lot of different formulas especially when there is irritability and agitation accompanying an upset stomach or nausea.
Energetically Peach (Prunus persica) is cooling, sweet, sour and slightly moistening and indicated for conditions which are hot and dry and where there is apparent irritation. If we look back to my article on Tissue States you can see that Peach is well suited to the patterns of Heat/Excitation and Dry/Atrophy. This might be someone who is noticeably restless and agitated, whose tongue is dry, red, and elongated, someone who is quite sensitive to allergens or for those who may suffer with auto immune conditions. There may be visible redness and irritation of the skin which brings to mind how cooling and comforting a peach is on a hot summers day.
Anywhere there is irritation Peach is a formidable remedy. Think about irritation in the bladder, lungs, stomach and even the bowels with cases of diarrhea and dysentery. Peach can also be considered a nice soothing remedy for emotional irritation where the person is hot, irritable, agitated and overly sensitive. Think about how you may feel sitting in traffic on a 100° day with 100% humidity in Florida without air conditioning; Red faced, over heated, agitated and irritable.
Another awesome use for Peach leaves is for irritations on the skin that are red and angry looking. I have crushed peach leaves and applied them to the skin to help soothe and draw out the irritation from bites and stings.
Here in the Southeast Peach harvesting season has come and gone. Now is the time when we start to consider pruning back our lovely trees in order for them to produce more prolifically next spring. Before you start throwing all those wonderful branches in the compost consider what medicinal preparations you can use them for.
Peach leaves can be dried and stored for later use or you can use them fresh as long as they are not wilted or show signs of rot. A tincture can be made of the small branches and leaves combined or of the pits after they have dried for several days. When macerated in Brandy it adds to the already wonderful flavor of the peach essence.
NOTE: For those of you who are concerned with the issue of safety with regard to the peach pits and leaves and there Prussic acid (Hydrogen Cyanide) content we need only refer to The Physiomedical Dispensatory of 1869 where William Cook states…
”The objection is usually raised to these kernels and leaves, that they are dangerous because of the prussic acid they contain…it is shown that they contain no prussic acid whatever; but this is a product only of chemical changes which take place in the presence of warmth and moisture “(fermentation)…”But it is said to be harmful to eat large quantities of peach kernels, which is quite probable; for they are of difficult digestion, will undergo chemical changes in the presence of the heat and moisture of the stomach, and that change will produce prussic acid freely. Before fermentation, they are absolutely safe; after fermentation, they are extremely dangerous”.
Herbalist Kiva Rose also has a wonderful write up on Peach and discusses the issue of safety. I highly recommend you learn more about this wonderful remedy as it is easily accessible in most parts of the U.S. and is a very versatile remedy for a host of conditions.
© Natalie Vickery 2012