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.