The chokecherry was among the most important wild fruits used by North American Indians. Chokecherries were widely used by the Blackfoot and Plains Cree. The period during which the chokecherry was in fruit was referred to as `black-cherry-moon’.
The fruit was dried and ground, stones and all, for use in soups, stews, and pemmican. In the interior of B.C., dried chokecherries were often eaten with salmon or salmon eggs.
The bark was boiled along with other ingredients to produce a remedy for diarrhea. A strong, black, astringent tea was made from boiled twigs and used to relieve fevers. Dried roots were chewed and placed on wounds to stop bleeding. Teas were made from the bark or roots and used to treat coughing, malaria, stomachaches, tuberculosis and intestinal worms. Such teas were also used as sedatives and appetite stimulants. The fruit was used to treat canker sores, ulcers, and abscesses.
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