Cramp bark (Viburnum opulus)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
American guelder-rose, Caprifoliaceae (family), common guelder-rose, cranberry tree, European cranberry bush, guelder rose, pembina, proanthocyanidins, snowball tree, Viburnum opulus, Viburnum opulus L., Viburnum prunifolium L., viopudial.
Cramp bark (Viburnum opulus) is native to Europe, northern Africa, and northern Asia. It has been used throughout the world as an ornamental plant. The bark has traditionally been used for cramps, including menstrual cramps and cramping associated with arthritis. Interestingly, a laboratory study found that viopudial isolated from Viburnum opulus had antispasmodic effects on smooth muscle. However, there is currently insufficient available evidence in humans to support the use of cramp bark for any indication.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Allergies, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic, arthritis, asthma, astringent, cancer, colic, cramps, low blood pressure, menstrual pain, skin disinfectant/sterilization, stomach ulcers, vasodilator.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for cramp bark in adults.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for cramp bark in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to cramp bark or its constituents.
Side Effects and Warnings
There is no safety information currently available for cramp bark. Use cautiously in patients taking immunomodulators. Use cautiously in patients taking blood pressure altering agents.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Cramp bark is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Cramp bark may have disinfectant activity. Caution is advised in patients taking antibiotics.
Cramp bark may have antioxidant activity. Caution is advised in patients taking antioxidant drugs.
Cramp bark may prevent gastroduodenal mucosal damage. Caution is advised in patients with ulcers or taking antiulcer medications.
Cramp bark may have antispasmodic effects on smooth muscle. Caution is advised in patients taking antispasmodic agents.
Cramp bark extract may have astringent activity. Caution is advised in patients taking astringent agents.
Cramp bark may lower blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients with hypertension or hypotension and in those taking blood pressure altering drugs.
Cramp bark berries may enhance phagocytosis. Caution is advised in patients taking other immunosuppressant agents.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Cramp bark may have disinfectant activity. Caution should be used in patients using other antibacterial herbs or supplements.
Cramp bark may have antioxidant activity. Caution is advised if taking other herbs or supplements with antioxidant activity.
Cramp bark may have antispasmodic effects on smooth muscle. Caution is advised in patients taking other herbs or supplements with antispasmodic effects.
Cramp bark extract may have astringent activity. Caution is advised if taking other herbs or supplements with astringent effects.
Cramp bark may prevent gastroduodenal mucosal damage. Caution is advised in patients taking other herbs or supplements with antiulcer effects.
Cramp bark lower blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients with hypertension or hypotension and in those taking herbs or supplements with blood pressure altering effects.
Cramp bark berries may enhance phagocytosis. Caution is advised in patients taking other immunosuppressant herbs or supplements.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Nicholson JA, Darby TD, Jarboe CH. Viopudial, a hypotensive and smooth muscle antispasmodic from Viburnum opulus. Proc.Soc.Exp Biol.Med. 1972;140(2):457-461. View Abstract
Ovodova RG, Golovchenko VV, Popov SV, et al. [The isolation, preliminary study of structure and physiological activity of water-soluble polysaccharides from squeezed berries of Snowball tree Viburnum opulus]. Bioorg.Khim. 2000;26(1):61-67. View Abstract
Plouvier V. [PRESENCE OF URSOLIC ACID IN THE BLOSSOMS OF VIBURNUM OPULUS L. VAR. STERILE DC (CAPRIFOLIACEAE)]. Ann.Pharm Fr. 1964;22:313-314. View Abstract
Ryzhikov MA, Ryzhikova VO. [Application of chemiluminescent methods for analysis of the antioxidant activity of herbal extracts]. Vopr.Pitan. 2006;75(2):22-26. View Abstract
Smetankina PP. [DISINFECTANT PROPERTIES OF VIBURNUM OPULUS.]. Vestn.Dermatol Venerol. 1963;37:75. View Abstract
Smirnova AS, Iadrova VM. [Comparative study of the astringent effect of liquid extracts from Viburnum opulus L]. Farmatsiia. 1968;17(4):42-45. View Abstract
Zayachkivska OS, Gzhegotsky MR, Terletska OI, et al. Influence of Viburnum Opulus proanthocyanidins on stress-induced gastrointestinal mucosal damage. J Physiol Pharmacol 2006;57 Suppl 5:155-167. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017