Introduction of Cramp Bark:Guelder rose or highbush cranberry.

Popular Herbs. ✵The article gives records of the herb Cramp Bark, its English name, Latin name, common names, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Viburnum opulus L., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Cramp Bark, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Cramp Bark(Guelder rose).

flowering plant of Viburnum opulus with big white flowers growing on branch tip English Name: Cramp Bark.
 Latin Name: Viburnum opulus L.
 Common Names: Guelder rose, highbush cranberry, pembina, pimbina, snowball tree, whitten tree.
 Property and flavor: neutral in nature, tastes sweet and bitter.

 Brief introduction: The bark of this North American shrub or tree is used medicinally. Its seasonal white flowers, lobed leaves, and bright red oval fruit may have been used at one time as well. It also grows in parts of Europe.

 Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Cramp Bark as the dried fruit of the species (1). Viburnum opulus L. It is a plant species of the Viburnum genus, the Caprifoliaceae family (honeysuckle family). The bark and leaves are used medicinally. This commonly used species is introduced:

(1).Viburnum opulus L.

 fruiting plant of Viburnum opulus with red fruits grow in field Botanical description: Viburnum opulus is a deciduous shrub, it grows up to 1.5~4 meters; The current year's branchlets are angular, glabrous, with prominent lenticels, the biennial branchlets are colored or reddish-brown, nearly cylindrical, and the old branches and stems are dark gray, the bark of the trees is thin but not corky, and they often crack longitudinally. The winter bud is ovoid, stipitate, with 1 pair of connate outer scales, glabrous, inner scales are membranous, and the basal part connate into a tube. The leaves are oval to broadly oval or obovate in outline, 6~12 cm long, usually 3-lobed, with palmately 3 veins. The base is round, truncated or shallow cordate, glabrous, the top of the lobes are tapered, the edges have irregular thick teeth, and the lateral lobes spread out slightly; The leaves at the upper part of the twigs are often narrow, elliptic to oblong-lanceolate without splitting, with sparsely wavy teeth at the edges, or shallowly 3-lobed with lobes entire or nearly entire, short lateral lobes and elongated middle lobes; Petiole is stout, 1~2 cm long, glabrous, with 2~4 or more obvious long disk-shaped glands, and 2 drill-shaped stipules at the base.

 The diameter of cymes in compound umbrella form is 5~10 cm, and most of them are surrounded by large sterile flowers. The total pedicel is thick and 2-5 cm long, glabrous. There are 6~8 first-order radiation branches, usually 7. Flowers grow on the second to third-order radiation branches, and the pedicel is extremely short; Calyx tube is obconical, about 1 mm long, calyx teeth are triangular, all glabrous; Corolla is white, radial, lobes are suborbicular, about 1 mm long; Slightly unequal in size, the tube is as long as lobes, villous inside; Stamens are at least 1.5 times as long as corolla, anthers are yellowish-white, less than 1 mm long; Style is absent, stigma is 2-lobed; Infertile flowers are white, 1.3~2.5 cm in diameter, with long stalks, broad obovate lobes, rounded apex, and unequal shape. The fruit is red, orbicular (subrotund), 8~10 mm in diameter; The nucleus is flat, orbicular (subrotund), 7~9 mm in diameter, gray-white, slightly rough, without longitudinal grooves. Its flowering period is from May to June, fruit ripening period is from September to October.

 Ecological environment: Viburnum opulus grows in North America, Europe, and the Far East; in Middle Asia and northwest of China, it grows in the lower birch forests, valleys, and hillsides.

 Growth characteristics: Viburnum opulus is light-loving, cold-resistant, drought-resistant, and easy to breed; It is slightly shade-tolerant, likes moist air, and likes loose and fertile soil rich in organic matter. However, the dry climate can also grow well, with mild saline-alkali tolerance, few diseases, and insect pests, strong resistance and adaptability, and a low temperature of -35 °C (Celsius, or -31 degrees Fahrenheit). It grows under spruce forest in a valley, 1,000~1,600 meters above sea level.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.counteract spasms; ②.lower blood pressure; ③.astringent; ④.hemostatic action; ⑤.Anticholinesterase action; ⑥. Vascular protection effect;etc.

 The herb cramp bark counteracts spasms, it could lower blood pressure, slow the heartbeat, and decrease the contractile strength of the heart muscle in laboratory animals. Cramp bark also contains small amounts of astringent tannins. The bark ethanol extract has hemostatic action, its double quiterpene-dialdehyde compounds have anticholinesterase action, the bark extract has a vascular protection effect.

 Medicinal efficacy: Cramp bark and leaves were used by Native American tribes as a diuretic, to treat swollen glands, mumps, and eye disorders, ever used as an antispasmodic for asthma and a sedative for nervous conditions. Today it is recommended by herbalists for these uses, also for menstrual cramps and other uterine discomforts, to reduce the risk of miscarriage, and for spasm-related conditions such as colic and muscle tension. In TCM books, the herb is recorded with functions clearing and activating the channels and collaterals, detoxification, and stopping itching, it is indicated for back pain and leg pain, sudden sprain in the lumbar region, feeling a pain in the chest when breathing, sore and furuncle, scabies, itchy skin, etc.

 Administration of Cramp Bark (Guelder rose): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Cramp Bark (Guelder rose)
Herbal classic books and TCM works: The tincture is taken in a dosage of 1 teaspoon with water, up to three times per day. It is also used as a rub. A decoction is made with 15 grams of bark per 750 ml of water. In TCM works, the herb is recommended internally as a water decoction, 9~15 grams, or prepare to finely ground powder. Externally proper amount, mashed and apply a coating, or wash with water decoction.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: There is no reports of serious adverse reactions to the bark in recent years.




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  • 1.Introduction of Cramp Bark:Guelder rose or highbush cranberry.

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