Also known as: Common
Guelder-Rose, Cranberry Bush.
Scientific Name: Viburnum opulus.
Botanical Family: Adoxaceae/Viburnaceae
(formerly known as Caprifoliaceae).
Part used: Bark and root bark.
Cramp bark has antispasmodic (relieves muscle spasms),
anti-inflammatory (relieves inflammation), nervine (calms and
soothes the nerves), hypotensive (lowers blood pressure),
astringent (causes local contraction), emmenagogic (induces
menstruation ), and sedative (reduces activity and excitement)
There are no reports of safety concerns regarding Cramp Bark.
Pregnancy: Refer to a Medical Herbalist.
Breastfeeding: Refer to a Medical Herbalist.
Hydroquinines; arbutin, methylarbutin and traces of free
Sesquiterpene dialdehyde fraction; viopudiol.
Coumarins; such as scopoletinans, esculatin.
Triterpinoids; including oleanic acid and ursolic acid
Iridoid glysoside esters.
No clinical research has been done.
Mechanism of action.
At least two active constituents have been identified, scopoletin
and viopudial. These constituents appear to have smooth muscle
antispasmodic effects in vitro. Viopudial appears to have
cholinergic effects by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase. The
effect opposes the dominence of the sympathetic nervous system
and relaxes the tone in smooth muscles. There is evidence of
One study showed that the administration of viopudial, a Viburnum
opulus component, produces slowing of the heart rate, lowering of
blood pressure, and some decrease in contractility of heart
muscle. This action is by balancing the sympathetic and
parasympathetic nervous system tone in the body. Experimental
evidence indicates that viopudial's mechanism of action is partly
due to its effects on cholinesterase. In vitro demonstrations of
a competitive inhibitory effect on both acetylcholinesterase and
butyrylcholinesterase showed viopudial to be relatively weak when
compared to the known potent inhibitor, physostigmine. Additional
mechanistic effects, such as a direct musculotrophic action, may
also be responsible for the overall activity. 8
One animal study shows that proanthocyanidin constituents of
Viburnum opulus exert a potent gastro-duodenoprotective effect by
increasing nitrous oxide in the tissues, suppressing lipid
peroxidation and mobilizing antioxidant activity and changes in
the gastroduodenal mucosa of rat.7
Other studies show that Viburnum opulus exhibits anti-oxidant
Possible interactions with herbs and
Possible interactions with
Possible interactions with
Interactions with laboratory
Effects on diseases or
Recommended dose: 3-10mls per day 1:5 tincture 30% alcohol.
Decoction: range from ½ to 6 tsps. per day.
Powder/capsule: range from 1-4gms per day.
Raw herb: 2-4gms per day.R8 pp.230
Liquid extract: 2-8ml/day.
The recommended dose of Dr Clare’s Joint Support Blend provides
3mls per day of 1:3 Tincture in 15mls daily, at a dose of 5mls
three times a day.
6. Ilkay Erdogan-Orhan, Mehmet Levent Altun, Betül Sever-Yilmaz,
and Gülçin Saltan. Anti-Acetylcholinesterase and Antioxidant
Assets of the Major Components (Salicin, Amentoflavone, and
Chlorogenic Acid) and the Extracts of Viburnum opulus
and Viburnum lantana and Their Total Phenol and
Journal of Medicinal Food. April 2011, 14(4): 434-440.