Cramp bark, whose botanical name is Viburnum opulus is a deciduous tree native to the continents of Asia, Europe, and northern Africa. This tree also has other common names like Snowball Tree, European Cranberrybush, Water Elder, Guelder Rose, etc. It belongs to the family of Caprifoliaceae. Though this plant is used as an ornamental plant in most countries across the globe, it is also popular as a woman's herb.
The health benefits of this herb were discovered in the year 1960 in the United States. The bark that is peeled from the branches during summer is used as a raw material for making herbal medicine. For making the extract, the bark is peeled from the roots instead of the branches of this plant. The tincture is prepared by soaking the bark in alcohol or some other solution. It is also used topically in the form of a lotion or skin ointment. The dosage depends on the needs of the individual.
Cramp bark is popular as a female regulator, as it helps combat problems related to the menstrual cycle. It is also effective in treating other issues, like, muscle cramps and spasms, heart palpitations, postpartum pains, etc.
- It is a natural tranquilizer and is also used for curing the symptoms of asthma.
- This herbal supplement also has numerous therapeutic properties, like, anti spasmodic, which relieves muscle spasms and cramps, nervine problems, having a soothing and calming effect on the nerves and expectorant for the mucus in the inner lining of the lungs.
- It is a rich source of vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient for the prevention and cure for scurvy.
- This herb has anti-inflammatory properties and is an excellent remedy for treating the pain caused due to rheumatoid arthritis.
- It is also known to treat conditions related to neurological disorders, like, hysteria, convulsions, lock jaw, and nervous debility.
- This herb can be consumed in the form of tea and is known to ease muscle cramps and spasms, since it contains scopoletin, a substance that is quite popular as a muscle relaxant.
- Supplements of this herb, also considered as one of the best herbs for women's health, help fight against common female health problems. It helps in regulating menstruation and eases the pain and cramps during this time. The tincture made out of this herb is used to treat the onset of premature labor pains in pregnant women.
- The herbal extract is used to strengthen the muscles of the uterus and prepare it for labor.
- Some doctors also recommend this herbal supplement to prevent miscarriages. Some other benefits of using this herb as a medication are, treating breathing difficulty, colic, high blood pressure, constipation, and improving the circulation of blood.
The Side Effects
Though there are many health benefits of using this popular herbal remedy, the effects of this herb seem to have been poorly researched. Since the exact effects on the overall health of an individual are not completely known, it is always advisable to consult a health practitioner before consuming any form of cramp bark.
These side effects can be observed in some individuals, if a high dosage is taken:
- Individuals who are allergic to this herbal supplement may experience skin rash, itching, soreness, and swelling of the hands and legs.
- It may also interact with other medications and herbal supplements, and may cause dizziness or fainting spells.
- Some other side effects include, nausea, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating.
You must always consult a herbalist or a physician before using cramp bark or any other herbal remedy, for that matter, to avoid health complications.