The medical benefits of plums have been known and used by traditional practitioners for a very long time. They have been considered effective against many different conditions, like jaundice, fever, diabetes, digestion, constipation or hypertension. Many different forms of simple sugars can be found in American plums, including sorbitol, sucrose, glucose and fructose. Despite the high sugar content, consuming the American plum fruits doesn't increase the glucose levels in the blood too much, since the fiber content balances the effect. American plums are very rich in antioxidants, especially polyphenols. These protect tissues from the harmful action of free radicals and could stop mutations at cell level, preventing several types of cancer. American plum fruits also contain caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, neochlorogenic acid and rutin. The Native Americans inhabiting the prairies consumed large amounts of plums and still do it today. They ate it in various ways, raw, dried or as a sauce. Some of the tribes that were fond of these fruits are the Teton Dakota, Lakota, Comanche, Crow, Assiniboin, Kiowa, Pawnee, Kiowa, Comanche and Omaha. Chickasaw plums (Prunus angustifolia) were also eaten in large amounts. The Pawnee dried the plums without removing their pits but the other tribes usually discarded them in advance. The plums are often mentioned in the diaries of the early explorers and colonists, who consumed them as food. They are still eaten fresh today and also prepared as jams, jellies, canned products, fruit rolls or as a bakery ingredient. Native tribesmen also used the American plum for medical purposes. The root bark of the American plum was scraped and boiled by the Omaha, then used to treat abrasions. Twigs were also cut and tied together to create brooms. Mouth diseases were treated by the Cheyenne with a mixture of crushed plums and salt. Another remedy used by them against diarrhea was prepared by crushing and boiling small roots and bark from old plums with the roots of scarlet thorns (Crataegus chrysocarpa). The root bark was also used in the medicine of the Mesquakies, as a cure for canker sores in the mouth area. Sprouts and young shoots of American plum were used in the "waunyampi" ceremonies of the Teton Dakota. This ceremony was an offering consisting of a wand made from these parts of the wild plum, after peeling and painting. This ceremony was quite important in their religion, since it included prayers for sick members.
The American plum is a very resilient species with a high resistance to drought and the ability to grow in any soil type. It is so vigorous that it sometimes require no care at all. This makes it a great choice for cultivation in neglected areas, such as parking lots, medians or other similar locations with low maintenance. Due to its compact size, it can be planted in patios and containers. It enjoys full sun exposure or partial shade. In the wild, American plum can be found on roadsides, riverbanks, prairies, woodlands and pastures. The American plum seeds can be used for propagation and the resilient nature of the plants makes them easy to relocate. Use soil with good drainage for best results. The bloom is during the months of April and May, while the fruits can be harvested in August or September. American plum tree produces fruits every year. Prunus americana can be propagated using cuttings but these don't root easily. Hardwood cuttings are parts of mature wood taken after the leaves have fallen and before new ones emerge in the spring. Successful rooting has been achieved with cuttings at the end of January. Healthy plants located in full sunlight should be selected for the cuttings. The best parts are the centers and base of shoots, avoid using the tips. Basal cuts are immediately below a node and the top cuts are 1.3 to 2.5 cm above a node. Every cutting should include a minimum of two nodes.