Cerasus fructu nigro.
THIS is a well known tall tree, and well shaped. The leaves are broad, roundish, sharp at the point, and indented round the edges. The flowers are white, the fruit is well enough known. The medicinal part of this is the kernel within the stone. This has been supposed good against apoplexies, palsies, and all nervous diseases. The water distilled from it was, for this reason, in constant use as a remedy for children's fits. But a better practice has now obtained: it is highly probable that this water occasioned the disorders it was given to remove. Laurel water, when made of a great strength, we know to be a sudden poison: when weak, it tastes like black-cherry-water, and is not mortal; in the same manner black-cherry-water, which used to be given to children when weak drawn, has been found to be poisonous when of great strength. There is therefore the greatest reason imaginable to suppose that in any degree of strength, it may do mischief. Very probably thousands of children have died by this unsuspected medicine.
The gum which hangs upon the branches of cherry-trees, is of the same nature with the gum arabic, and may be used for the same purposes, as in heat of urine, dissolved in barley-water.
The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.