Cramp Bark

Botanical Name: Viburnum opulus Family: Caprifoliaceae

Common name(s): Cramp Bark, High Cranberry, Snowball Tree, Guelder Rose, Squaw Bush


  • Perennial; shrub | Zone 2-7 | 8-15 feet tall | White flowers in June followed by red berries which can stay on the bush throughout winter
  • Full sun to partial shade| Well-drained, moist soil


Harvest the bark between spring equinox (March 21) and summer solstice (June 21)


Decoction: Put 2 teaspoons of the dried bark into a cup of water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for  10-15 minutes. Drink 3x/day while hot.

Tincture: 4-8ml 3x/day


Constituents: Bitter (viburnin), valerianic acid, salicosides, resin, tannin

Actions: Antispasmodic, astringent, nervine, sedative

Uses: Menstrual cramps, PMS, threatened miscarriage, asthma, muscular tension and spasms, heart palpitations, rheumatism

Combinations: Combine with False unicorn root for a female reproductive tonic. Combine 1 part cramp bark, 1 part ginger, 1 part angelica root, and 3 parts chamomile for menstrual cramps, PMS and convulsions.


Bitter, neutral


I planted a highbush cranberry. Now I have to do some additional research on what variety I am growing. According to the University of Maine source, the berries of the European version are not edible, it is considered an ornamental, as opposed to the American version.

Black haw is a near relative and is considered a more powerful plant than crampbark.