Cramp Bark

“Cramp Bark”

Cramp bark’s name summarises this herb’s main medicinal action as a muscle relaxant.
Cramp bark was used by Native Americans for mumps and other swellings. 

Botanical Name: Viburnum opulus

Common name: Cramp Bark

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Parts Used: Bark

Active Constituents: 

  • Resins,
  • Valeric acid
  • Tannins
  • Bitter substance – viburnin
  • Saponins

Qualities: Astringent, bitter, cool & dry (Ody)

“…for sympathetic disturbances of the heart, stomach and nervous system, common to ladies…” – Finley Ellingwood, 1910


  • Spasmolytic (Smooth & Skeletal)
  • Anodyne to uterus (Duke)
  • Uterine sedative (Erin Smith)
  • Mild sedative
  • Astringent
  • Hypotensive
  • Peripheral vasodilator
  • Cardiac Tonic (Ody)
  • Uterine Relaxant (Ody)
  • Anti-inflammatory (Ody)


  • Uterine pain, dysmenorrhoea
  • Period pain with cramping – ACUTE – but best taking BEFORE period to create a tonifying effect – prepare the uterus
  • False labour pains
  • Cramps of both skeletal and smooth muscle
  • Muscular cramps / tension
  • IBS and Intestinal colic
  • Cramping of the bladder
  • Cramping of the back of the legs
  • Hypertension – Traditional prescribing
  • Cramps and spasms of all kinds; cramps in the legs
  • Uterine dysfunction, uterine pain, ovarian pain
  • Threatened miscarriage – similar to Black Haw – uterine tonic action
  • Spasmodic contractions of the bladder
  • Hypertension

Contraindications: None known

Cautions: None known


2-4.5ml of 1:2 LE per day

15-30ml of 1:2 LE per week



  • BARK TINCTURE: Relaxant for nervous or muscular tension. Add to digestive remedies for IBS or combine with rhubarb for constipation caused by tension
  • CREAM: Tincture + standard base. Apply muscle cramps or shoulder retention

References & Links to Articles:


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