The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

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Black Haw

Scientific Names

Black Haw

  • Viburnum prunifolium L.
  • Caprifoliaceae
  • Honeysuckle family

Common Names

  • American sloe
  • Cramp bark (V. opulus)
  • Sheepberry
  • Stagbush

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Parts Usually Used

Stem bark and root bark
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Black Haw

A shrub or small tree 6-30 feet high; the leaves are elliptic to ovate; finely toothed; mostly smooth, dull (not shiny), 1-3 inches long. Bark is irregular, transversely curved and grayish brown, or where the outer bark has scaled off, brownish-red; inner surface reddish brown. The root bark is cinnamon colored and tastes bitter. The small white flowers are in flat clusters; blooms March to May. The fruits are clusters of black berries, but bluish at first, on red stems. Sweet fruit is edible, but lacks flavor.
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Where Found

Found in bogs, low woods; Eastern United States, but found in most North American states. More abundant in Connecticut to Florida; Texas to eastern Kansas.
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Black Haw

Medicinal Properties

Antispasomodic, analgesic, astringent, sedative, cardiac tonic, uterine and muscle relaxant, nervine, diuretic, tonic
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Biochemical Information

Amentoflavone, coumarins, scopoletine and aesculetine, arbutin, oleanolic, and ursolic acids, sterol.
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Black Haw was a favorite with the Eclectics of 19th century America.
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Uses

It treats all nervous complaints, including convulsions, hysteria, stress and spasms. It is one of the most reliable remedies for menstrual cramps, uterine tonic, spasms, high blood pressure, chills, fever, and pains. It is often combined with false unicorn root (Helonias) as a preferred treatment against miscarriage. It also is used to treat asthma, palpitations, heart disease and hysterical fits. It is good for painful affections, including arthritis and rheumatic complaints. It is a heart tonic, improves blood circulation.

An extract of the boiled bark aids in childbirth and as a preventative of miscarriage in early pregnancy. It acts like a sedative on uterine muscles, stops menstrual cramps and afterbirth pains. Research has confirmed uterine-sedative properties.

Cramp bark (Viburnum opulis), usually is used alternately with black haw. Cramp bark is weaker, containing about a third of the resins of black haw.

Black haw is sometimes called cramp bark (erroneously).
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Formulas or Dosages

Dig up the root in the fall and strip off the bark.
Standard infusion or 3-9 gms.
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Warning

Berries may produce nausea and other uncomfortable symptoms.
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Bibliography

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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