What is cramp bark? What does it do?

July 15, 2023 4 min read

Cramp bark, also called guelder rose, highbush cranberry, and snowball tree, is a tall flowering shrub with groups of white flowers and red berries.

It comes from Europe, but it grows well in the United States and Canada as well.

A product made from the dried bark of the bush has been used for a long time to ease the pain of muscle cramps and period cramps. Other parts of the plant may also be helpful.

The drug may help ease pain and keep the kidneys working well, and new study says it may have many other benefits as well.

This piece looks closely at cramp bark, including how it can be used, what benefits it might have, and how to take products that contain it.

Uses and purported benefits.

Different kinds of traditional medicine use cramp bark for different things.

It is said to help ease the pain of cramps, and new study suggests that it may also help keep kidney stones from forming.

Some people also take cramp bark pills to help with other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), as well as sleeplessness, anxiety, and cancer.

Even though the berries and flowers aren't generally part of cramp bark vitamins, they may help relieve constipation and have other health benefits.

But there isn't much evidence to back these benefits.

May help relieve pain from cramping.

Cramp bark gets its name from the fact that it is used to treat cramps, especially those caused by menstruation.

Some study shows that the fruit products of cramp bark help relax muscles and blood vessels. This can help ease pain and lower blood pressure. Other plant products from the Viburnum family, like black haw, may have similar benefits.
Still, even though it has been used for a long time to treat cramps, there isn't much scientific evidence to back this up.

Some people also use cramp bark to treat the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

In one study, it was found that a plant product with cramp bark and other ingredients worked to relieve PMS symptoms. But more study is needed to find out if cramp bark works for this purpose.

May promote healthy kidney function.

Cramp bark may help avoid kidney stones. If there isn't enough citrate in the pee of some people, they can get kidney stones. Most of the time, doctors tell these people to follow a kidney stone diet. This includes things like lemons and limes that are high in citrate.

The fruit of cramp bark is also high in citrate, which makes it an option for people who get kidney stones.

In a study of 103 people with small kidney stones, those who took cramp bark extract along with the drug diclofenac passed more stones in less time than those who only took diclofenac.

People who took cramp bark also needed less pain medicine and fewer extra treatments to get rid of their kidney stones (2Reliable Source).

But more study needs to be done to find out how cramp bark affects kidney stones.

Possible Anticancer Effects.

A study that came out in 2018 in the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics suggests that Viburnum opulus might help fight tumors and cancer. Researchers used an animal model to show that extracts from gilaburu juice (juice made from the leaves of the cramp bark plant) had anticancer action in living animals.

In another study, which came out in 2013, an animal model was used to look at possibly good effects, especially on colon cancer. Overall, they found that when gilaburu juice was given to groups of animals with colon cancer caused by 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH) for 30 weeks, the average number of tumor spots went down. The researchers came to the conclusion that "gilaburu juice may help stop colon cancer in its early stages."

Muscle Relaxant.

Cramp bark has been used to calm muscles for a long time. (9) As I said before, it is known to ease menstrual cramps because it can stop smooth muscles from spasming. Because of this, it is also known to help ease muscle cramps and aches all over the body, like in the back or legs, whether they are caused by PMS or hard work.

If you have muscle cramps, aches, or pain, this plant treatment may be a better option to NSAIDs, which have been shown to have many dangerous side effects. In fact, all prescription NSAIDs come with a warning that they can make you more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or stomach bleeding. NSAIDs can also cause stomach pain, swelling in the legs, headaches, dizziness, high blood pressure, and problems with the kidneys.


Experts in the field say that cramp bark has been used for a long time as a spasmolytic (or antispasmodic) during pregnancy, especially to stop miscarriages. Native American groups are said to have used this plant as a treatment for pregnancy a long time ago.

Herbalists in the United Kingdom know that cramp bark is one of the best ways to keep a pregnancy from ending early. Scopoletin and aesculetin are two of the main ingredients in Viburnum opulus that are said to stop the uterus from contracting. 

Midwives sometimes use cramp bark when a loss is likely to happen, as well as in early labor, during labor, and for cramps after labor. Even though this may sound strange, it is known that herbs can sometimes have the opposite effect on the body based on how much is used, when and how it is used, and whether it is used alone or with other plants.


Endometriosis is a medical condition in which the tissue that usually lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. People have used the leaves of Viburnum opulus to treat menstrual problems like painful periods and ovary cysts.

In 2016, the Journal of Ethnopharmacology released a study that looked at whether cramp bark could also help endometriosis. In an animal model study, the animals were given surgery to cause endometriosis, and then they were given cramp bark fruit products for four days.

Endometriosis got much better in the people who were given extracts of Viburnum opulus leaves, compared to the people in the control group. The study comes to the conclusion that the good benefits of Viburnum opulus on endometriosis are likely due to its chlorogenic acid and other phenolic chemicals.

Where to buy Cramp Bark:        

Cramp Bark buy at an affordable price at the natural foods store in the USA - Alive Herbal.


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