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Cherry

Cherry

Prunus avium

Special points of interest:

  • Rich source of antioxidants, including kaempferol, quercetin and melatonin.
  • Melatonin is considered more powerful than Vitamins A, C and E because it is soluble in both fat and water.
  • Vitamin A content is good
  • Potassium content is very high, calcium and phosphorus content is good
  • Acts as an antispasmodic
  • Natural antiseptic
  • Relieves headaches

The History of Cherry

It is believed that the Romans discovered sweet cherries in Asia Minor in approximately 70 BC. Their rich ruby color and delicious taste won them a place on the table of Roman conquerors, Greek citizens and Chinese Noblemen. It was the Romans who introduced the cherry to Britain during the first century AD. Although always popular for dessert and culinary purposes, cherries were also used during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries for their medicinal purposes. Early settlers to America brought cherries with them by ship during the 1600's.

Later, French colonists from Normandy brought pits that they planted along the Saint Lawrence River and into the Great Lakes area. Cherry trees were part of the gardens of these French settlers as they began to establish such cities as Detroit, Vincennes, and other Midwestern settlements.

Modern day cherry production began during the mid-1800's. A Presbyterian minister living in Northern Michigan began planting cherry trees near Traverse Michigan in 1852. Much to the surprise of the other farmers and Indians who lived in the area, the minister's cherry trees flourished and soon the other residents of the area were also planting trees. The first processing plant was built just south of Traverse City, and the delicious fruit was soon being shipped to Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee.

The most famous sweet cherry variety is the Bing. Another very popular sweet cherry variety is the Lambert. Today, on average, the United States produces more than 650 million pounds of sweet and sour cherries per year.

The Benefits of Cherry

Cherries are very rich in pectin, known to possess cholesterol-lowering abilities.

Anthocyanins found in cherries are linked to the prevention of cancer and heart disease. Researchers have discovered that the antioxidant activity of these anthocyanins from cherries was superior to Vitamin E at a test concentration of 123 ug/ml.

An American study recently found that cherry juice is a potent antibacterial agent in the fight against tooth decay. The study revealed that cherry juice could block up to 89 percent of the enzyme activity associated with plaque formation.

Cherry juice has also been hailed as a folk remedy for gout. The melatonin found in cherries has helped relieve the pain of arthritis and possibly fibromyalgia. Cherries have been proven a very good food in the combat of colds, influenza, dyspepsia, fevers, asthma, tuberculosis and high blood pressure.

Classification

Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae


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