Other Names: sloe; viorne à feuilles de prunier (French); Amerikanischer Schneeball (German); viburno prunifolio (Italian).
Description: Black haw is a woody, deciduous shrub of up to 4 m in height, with lobed leaves, clusters of small, white flowers and black berries. It is closely related to the guelder rose or crampbark (V. opulus). The latter is a deciduous shrub with lobed leaves, attractive rounded (globose) clusters of white flowers and bright red berries.
Origin: Central and eastern parts of the USA (V. prunifolium); Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean region (V. opulus). Both species are commonly cultivated as an ornamental garden shrubs.
Parts Used: Stem bark (black haw bark - Viburni prunifolii cortex). The bark of V. opulus (Viburni opuli cortex) can also be tried to some extent.
Therapeutic Category: Spasmolytic.
Uses and Properties: Black haw bark is specifically used to help support menstrual cramps, uterine pain and menstrual disorders. In traditional health it can also be used against morning sickness and to help support menopausal women. The closely related crampbark (V. opulus) appears to be less specific in its actions but it has been considered in former times as a supportive for menstrual disorders and to help avoid a miscarriage. It is traditionally used (both internally and topically) to help support stomach cramps, colic, muscle spasms and high blood pressure.
Preparation and Dosage: About 1 g of finely chopped bark of black haw is taken two or three times a day as an infusion.
Active Ingredients: Numerous chemical compounds are known from black haw bark, including amentoflavone and other flavonoids, triterpenoids (alpha-and beta-amyrin, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid and derivatives), coumarins (aesculin, scopoletin, scopolin), organic acids (chlorogenic acid, isochlorogenic acid and salicylic acid), a phenol glucoside (arbutin) and sitosterols. Arbutin and four iridoid glycoside esters have been isolated from V. opulus leaves; the bark compounds are similar to those of V. prunifolium.
Health Effects: Aesculetin and scopoletin are considered to be active as musculotropic spasmolytics, but the active ingredient responsible for the spasmolytic effects on the uterus is not yet known.
Notes: Black haw bark and crampbark are rarely employed in modern phytomedicine. They should preferably be used only under professional supervision.
Status: Traditional health; Pharm.
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Stir 1/4 of a teaspoon into a glass of water and consume 3 times daily, with meals.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor. Information provided at ZooScape.com relies partly on Traditional Uses. The essence of the current American rule on Traditional Uses is, as stated by FTC, "Claims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose."