Monday, February 24, 2014

Cramp Bark

     Cramp bark (Viburnum opulus) is an amazing herb. The inner and outer bark of this beautiful shrub is used medicinally. Just as its nickname suggests it is used for relieving cramps. This is due to its antispasmodic actions.  It is used as a muscle relaxer, relieving tense muscles throughout the body.  It could be smooth muscle such as in the intestinal tract relieving constipation, airways for some types of asthma or uterine for cramps due to excessive uterine contraction or striated muscle (attached to the skeleton) in the limbs and back.
photo found at 

     It can be useful for treating arthritis in cases where joint weakness and pain have caused the muscles to contract until they become rigid.  Cramp bark brings relief by relaxing the muscle allowing blood flow to return to the area and remove waste products such as lactic acid.
     What I use it for mostly in our house in menstrual cramping.  A 1/2 tsp of tincture  taken in water  at the first sign of cramps usually does the trick. It can also be taken as a decoction (simmered gently in water for 20 minutes) a half cup two to three times a day.  This is not a very pleasant tasting herb,  it very bitter and astringent tasting but honey can be added to sweeten things up.
     For other muscle tension it can be used externally in a compress or as a lineament. It can also be used as a relief for night cramps in the leg or feet alone or combined with Lobelia inflate.


  1. A lovely Medicine, without a doubt. I've used it for treating back spasms as well, internally and externally.

  2. I saw your post on Google+ and came to check it out. Couldn't help but noticed you used a photo of mine without credit. I love for people to use my photos, but I ask that credit is given. Other folks aren't as nice as me and would report you. Something to keep in mind when using other people's photos on your site.

    1. I'm not sure how to get a message to you. I am so sorry to use your picture. Which one is it? I will take it down or add credit. I went back to my sources on google image and added the links they gave for the photos.

  3. Thank you for this informative piece; very nicely written. I find herb lore/knowledge to be quite overwhelming, which is why I like it in small doses like this :)


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