Before the buzz around our house about the new Through The Seasons, Mom had begun researching the benefits of using peach leaves medicinally. She was amazed by the versatility of the plant and I decided to further her research while she worked tirelessly on her new book.
Peach leaves are energetically cooling so the plant is wonderful for skin irritation and inflammation in your gut. Since it has mild effects herbalists from Matthew Wood to Culpepper suggest giving it to children for everything from coughs to restlessness. Peach leaves reduce inflammation because it contains small amounts of cyanide. “Each kernal, leaf, and twig contain fruit acids and cyanogens which are strongly cooling. Cyanide turns down the Kreb’s cycle in the mitochondria to prevent energy production – which is why it is toxic in large doses,” according to Matthew Wood.
This may be why many know of the plant for its use during pregnancy and menopause. Since it is a cooling plant it can help fight off heat flashes and has often been used for emotional distress related to menopause. It helps curb morning sickness since it has been known to ease nausea. It is also used topically as a poultice against swelling; perfect for swollen feet in the last months of pregnancy.
Volatile oils are water-soluble. According to botanical.com “the young branches and flowers, after maceration in water, yield a volatile oil.” Mixed with alcohol such as brandy, they can make a tasty cordial or tincture and will keep through the winter months when coughs and restlessness can be at their worst. Be sure to release pressure from the container that has been created by the cyanide (otherwise it can flip your lid!). If made into a poultice or mixed with lavender oil, it can also be perfect for sunburn.
Be it tea, cordial, wine, or even ice cream peach leaves can be a tasty addition to any kitchen.