Oct 242008

Ya’ll know how I love Peach, whether in the form of leaf, bark, flowers or fruit. I even love the pits, and I saved several quart jars worth from the luscious organic Peaches we processed earlier this season. I let them dry for a few days in the shade, picked out the best looking ones, then deposited them into the jars before covering with brandy or vodka.

There’s a lot of weird hype around prussic acid in the Rose family and some interesting rituals around the processing of said plants. I suggest you do your research if you’re worried about it. My personal assessment tends to be that it would require fermentation in water to create trouble with normal medicinal use of Peach, Rose, Cherry or any of my other favorite rose family members. Check out William Cook’s assessment for a good rational explanation. As usual, I’m a little on the laid back side and when it comes to Peach pits I haven’t had any trouble at all yet. Some people say to only let the pits macerate for a week before straining but I’ve often let mine sit for months. I figure as long as the tincture has that sweet, aromatic flavor it’s fine. If the flavor was to  become bitter or unpleasant I’d probably reassess, but my method has worked good so far. Some people also say that you should never ever use a cracked or broken pit in your tincture and while I’m sure this is good general wisdom, I have been known to throw in a few cracked pits when I’m running short and haven’t had any trouble.

The bark and flower tincture is aromatic and yummy, the leaf tea is subtle but sweet and wonderful and the pit tincture is something akin to heaven itself. The flavor is remarkable and intense. It seems to me that the pits tend to contain the strongest medicine of the plant and should be respected for that. I use smaller doses of my pit tincture than of bark, and definitely less than of Peach leaf tea (which I like to guzzle copious amounts of). I’ve never had or seen any adverse effects from its use but then I’ve never used more than a few drops at a time either.

It can be used in essentially the same manner as the rest of the Peach tree (if in doubt to what that means, just look up Peach in my search bar). It’s cooling, slightly moistening, relaxing and deeply restorative for burned out people still in the process of burning themselves out (one of my personal favorite formulas for this is a combo of Milky Oats, Peach, fresh Nettle leaf and Ashwagandha, with credit to jim for the original inspiration). This includes many peri or currently menopausal women with hot flashes, irritation, emotional lability and general hot-temperedness. Great for an immune system intent on flipping out at the slightest provacation and therefore tremendously effective for many allergic reactions and in the  treatment of venomous insects. It’s nice for burns and wounds too, and especially for severe nausea in pregnancy (I do prefer to use the bark and leaf in pregnancy though) as well as many generally hot type digestive issues. I find it makes a great, somewhat sweet addition to many bitters formulas.

Note: Chinese medicine considers Peach pit to be a blood mover, and therefore unwise to use during pregnancy. However, I have never had any issue with it whatsoever when used in small doses where appropriate. Traditionally though, it seems most common to use leaf or bark during pregnancy in the US so that’s what I tend to do as well.

  16 Responses to “Peach Pits”

  1. Dear Kiva,
    i wonder if Apricot Pits will have similar virtues. Basically most of our peaches are imported into Germany. The Use of Peaches is rather foreign in german Herbalism.
    I am always happy gaining new insights.


    Dom Klaus OPR

  2. You know, I had the same thought and tried to tincture some but the tincture didn’t taste like anything at all and didn’t do anything either. Dunno if it was just that batch of apricot pits or if they just don’t tincture well.

  3. Dear Kiva,
    I would like to know your thoughts on a tincture made with chopped Peach stems?
    Would this be considered safe? Would it make a difference if the stems were tender or hard? This is obviously my first try at this…


  4. Stems from the fruit? I have no idea… it seems easier to use the pits to me, or the twigs if you can get them. I don’t recall the stems having the scent that twigs do.

  5. i recently gave a child peach twig in a formula (tea) for a nasty cough…it got the juices flowing a little too well. i wonder if i should have used something a bit milder.

  6. kristine, what do you mean by got the juices flowing too well?

  7. Kiva, You say your peach combo is good for immune systems flipping out. Would the formula you gave be good for someone with menopausal anxiety that is definitely affecting their immune system ? In this case the immune system is flipping out with chronic herpes and occasional yeast infections. Thanks !

  8. If you look at my past peach posts i talk in more depth about using peach for hyper-immune issues. It’s most appropriate where the symptoms are typified by heat (red tongue, flushed skin, sensations of heat, anxiety with irritability) rather than cold. Herpes and yeast infection though, could also be cold symptoms, depending on the person, so treat the individual based on the way it’s manifesting through them rather than the symptoms.

  9. Kiva,
    I used long stems from the tree branches. I stripped the peach leaves for drying and used lightly chopped stems which were tinctured in brandy. Would chopping the stems release any of the questionable compound?


  10. Kathleen, so you actually mean the twigs of the tree then, I thought you meant the stems of the fruit. I in fact prefer the use of twigs over leaves for tincture for the most part. I save the leaves for tea usually.

  11. the mucus started flowing (before it was a mostly dry cough). he couldn’t sleep at night because it would pool in his lungs.

    i really wish his mom had stuck to my original suggestion of plantain…but she insisted he had more than allergies (which was my intuition) & kept asking for something stronger so i caved & gave her a stronger mix. (peach twig & leaf, red clover, marshmallow & lemon verbena).

  12. For those of us without access to organic peaches would regular peach pits be okay to use for tincture ? Or do you think they would be too contaminated ? I made some with brandy to see how it would turn out-it smells divine but now I’m wondering about the advisability of actually using it. Thanks !

  13. It’s less than ideal, but if you’d eat the peaches, then you can probably use the pits…. I’ve used non-organic pits for my own use, it’s not my preference, but it’s ok.

  14. My peach pit tincture is ready to use but I am not sure how to tell if it too bitter or not. It smells fine but has a bitter taste-I had two other people taste it and they didn’t know whether or not it was just the taste of the brandy or prussic acid. I let it sit for six weeks and didn’t use any cracked pits What do you think ?

  15. Siobhan, as in very bitter or just a hint of bitter? I would think it would be fine though. It should be very aromatic and peach, with some astringency and a tiny bit of bitterness. Or at least, that’s what mine is usually like.

  16. Kiva Rose,

    I think a little bitter with definitely an aromatic scent. Does smell of the pits though, which is why I had a question mark over it. I know it is hard to describe in writing. Thanks !

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>