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!


Scientific Names


  • Viburnum opulus L.
  • Caprifoliaceae
  • Honeysuckle family

Common Names

  • Crampbark high
  • High cranberry
  • Highbush cranberry
  • Snowball tree
  • Guelder rose
  • Squaw bush

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Parts Usually Used

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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Crampbark is a large, handsome, upright shrub or tree; to 12 feet high; leaves maple-like, with 3-5 lobes, hairy beneath. The leaf stalks have a narrow groove, and a disk-shaped gland. Leaves have three lobes and are broadly wedge-shaped. White flowers in a rounded head, to 4 inches across; April to June. Flowers are showy and are succeeded by red, very acid berries, resembling low cranberries, and sometimes substituted for them. Flower clusters have inner fertile flowers, outer sterile ones. They remain on the bush after the leaves have fallen and throughout the winter. The bark has no smell, but has a peculiar bitterish and astringent taste, which leaves a clean taste in the mouth. Viburnine is the active principle found in the dried bark of the stem.
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Where Found

Found in the northern part of the United States and Canada. Grows in low rich lands, woods, and borders of fields.
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Medicinal Properties

Antispasmodic, nervine, tonic, astringent, diuretic
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Biochemical Information

Viburnine, chlorogenic acid, beta-sitosterol, and ursolic acid, vitamins C and K
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Legends, Myths and Stories

This plant was well known to the Native Americans.

Crampbark was also a favorite of the horse and buggy doctors. They were known to say, “make a strong tea of the high cranberry bush bark, and drink 1/3 of a tsp. and it will stop cramp in 20 minutes”. To prevent recurrence of the trouble they suggested drinking the tea night and morning for a couple of weeks.
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As the name implies, crampbark relieves cramps and spasms of involuntary muscular contractions such as in asthma, hysteria, convulsions, cramps during pregnancy (preventing the attack entirely if used daily for the last 2-3 months of gestation. Also, relieves dysmenorrhea, labor pains, headache, neuralgia, earaches, epididymitis, lumbago, miscarriage, paralysis, tubercular lungs, with honey for high blood pressure, heart conditions, bladder, constipation, stomach cramps, cough, cold, fever, flu, sclerosis, eczema, scrofula, and skin conditions.

The low cranberry and possibly the high cranberry is known to be a direct medication for erysipelas. If applied early, externally, this condition yields at once. Also for malignant ulcers and scarlet fever when applied to the throat. Pound the berries and spread them in a fold of old cotton cloth and apply over the entire diseased surface and the inflammation will speedily subside. Its usefulness is universally acknowledged.

In China, leaves and fruit are used as an emetic, laxative, and antiscorbutic.
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Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: steep 1 tsp. of the cut bark in 1 cup boiling water for 30 minutes; when cold, drink 1-2 cups a day.

Tincture: 1/2 fl. dram.
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Nutrient Content

The berries are rich in vitamins C and K.
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How Sold

Capsules, extract
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Berries are considered potentially poisonous; they contain chlorogenic acid, beta-sitosterol, and ursolic acid, at least when they are unripe.
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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! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

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

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! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

Buy It! An Instant Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Pamela Forey and Ruth Lindsay, Crescent Books (January 27, 1992).

Buy It! The Magic of Herbs in Daily Living, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Co. (1988).

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! A Useful Guide to Herbal Health Care, HCBL (Health Center for Better Living).,1414 Rosemary Lane, Naples, FL 34103., Special Sale Catalog, 1996

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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