Crampbark

Botanical Name :Viburnum opulus
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus:
Viburnum
Species:
V. opulus
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Dipsacales

Common Names :Cramp Bark, Guelder Rose , Highbush Cranberry, Snowball Bush, Viburnum opulus , Red Elder, Water Elder, May Rose, Whitsun Rose, Dog Rowan Tree, Silver Bells, Whitsun Bosses, Gaitre Berries.Crampbark, Cranberry Bush,Cranberry Tree, Guelder Rose, Pembina, Pimbina,Whitten Tree. Indian name : Udvests chala

Habitat : Crampbark is indigenous to Europe as well as North America and is also found growing in the northern regions of Africa and Asia. It grows in woodlands, low grounds, thickets, and hedges . It prefers moist soils and full sun.

Description:
Crampbark is a deciduous shrub  and usually grows up to a height of 4 meters to 5 meters. The leaves of this herb appear opposite to each other on the stalk and each leaf has three lobes that are about 5 cm to 10 cm in length and width having a smooth base and roughly indented margins. The leaves of crampbark have resemblance to those of some varieties of maples and can be told apart very easily by means of their rather creased surface having underlying network of veins on the leaf. The leaf buds of crampbark are green in color and have bud scales that meet without overlying (valvate).
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It bears white flowers possessing both the male as well as the female parts (hermaphrodite). The flowers are produced in a type of inflorescence called corymbs that are about 4 cm to 11 cm across at the apex of the stems. Every corymb includes an outer circle of sterile flowers that is about 1.5 cm to 2 cm across having very noticeable petals, which encircle a small center of fertile flowers. This center of small flowers is about 5 mm in diameter. Crampbark blossoms during the beginning of the summer and is mainly insect-pollinated. The fruit of crampbark has the shape of a globe and is actually a vividly red drupe that measures about 7 mm to 10 mm across. The fruits of this shrub enclose a solitary seed, which is scattered by birds for propagation.

The flowers are large up to 3 to 5 inches’s, flat-topped clusters of white or reddish-white florets. The inner florets are tiny, complete flowers while the florets along the outer edge of the cluster are bigger and showy . The leaves are broadly triangular shaped at base, and and turn a rich purple color in the fall. The ripe red berries are high in vitamin C, but if uncooked,are poisonous. The bark has a strong smell and a bitter, astringent taste.

Cultural meaning:
Viburnum opulus (Kalyna) is one of the National symbols of Ukraine. Mentions of the bush can be found throughout the Ukrainian folklore such as songs, picturesque art, Ukrainian embroidery, and others. Chervona Kalyna was the anthem of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Kalyna Country is an ecomuseum in Canada.

This bush’s symbolic roots can be traced to the Slavic paganism of millennia ago. According to a legend Kalyna was associated with the birth of the Universe, the so-called Fire Trinity: the Sun, the Moon, and the Star. Its berries symbolize blood and the undying trace of family roots. Kalyna is often depicted on the Ukrainian embroidery: towels and shirts. In Slavic paganism kalyna also represents the beauty of a young lady which rhymes well in the Ukrainian language: Ka-ly-na – Div-chy-na. That consistency was reviewed by numerous Ukrainian folklorists such as Nikolay Kostomarov, Aleksandr Potebnia (founder of the Kharkiv Linguistic School).

Edible Uses: The fruit  is edible in small quantities, with a very acidic taste; it can be used to make jelly. It is however very mildly toxic, and may cause vomiting or diarrhea if eaten in large amounts.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts used: Bark from branches.

Cramp bark can be used in two ways Firstly it is used to cure muscular cramps and uterine muscle disorders. Secondly it may be used to treat threatened miscarriage.It play a good role as a astringent & treat the excessive blood loss in periods . It relaxes the uterus and smoothe the painful cramps associated with menstruation. It has been used with success in cramps and spasms of all types, in convulsions, fits and lockjaw, and also in irregular heart beat, heart disease and rheumatism.

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It is very efficacious treatment of all types such as breathing difficulties associated with asthma ,colic , spastic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and the physical indications of nervous tension , hysteria, cramps of the limbs or other parts in females, especially in the time of pregnancy, It is thought that cramp bark is a effective for the prevention of abortion , and to make the way for the process of parturition.In some cases of migraine cramp bark works effectively.

crampbark is used to ease the symptoms of various conditions related to spasms in the stomach, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is also used to treat conditions related to the respiratory system, such as loosening up the airways in the instance of asthma and, also employed for treating the musculoskeletal system to provide respite from tension/ stress in the case of pain caused by arthritis. Crampbark is also used in conjunction with various other herbs for treating problems related to the cardiovascular system as well as to lower high blood pressure (hypertension).

Cramp bark is most used to ebb cramps, along with menstrual cramps, muscle cramps, and stomach cramps. Cramp Bark will relax the uterus and so ebb painful cramps associated with dysmenorrhoea disorders. It has astringent property which works effectively to treat excessive blood loss in periods and especially bleeding associated with the menopause .

The US National Formulary documented crampbark as late as in the 1960s in the form of a tranquilizer for conditions related to the nervous system as well as in the form of an antispasmodic in treating asthma. As the name ‘crampbark’ suggests, the therapeutic use of this herb is primarily related to easing cramps as well as other conditions, for instance, painful menstruation due to excessive tightening of the muscles as well as colic.

While crampbark may be used internally as well as externally on its own, often it is also combined with other herbs to treat specific conditions. For instance, the bark is combined with wild yam and prickly ash to ease cramps. In order to ease ovarian and uterine pain or even susceptible miscarriage, crampbark may well be used in combination with valerian and black haw.

Side Effects:
Using of cramp bark during pregnancy,( when the blood pressure is low ) is not recommended.

Women who are lactating (breast-feeding) should not use cramp bark without consulting a physician.

It may cause nausea or skin rash, if use more than two cups per day for three consecutive days.

Side effects occurring from the use of cramp bark have not been shown in the medical literature. However, since some reliable scientific studies involving the use of cramp bark have been done in humans, it may have side effects that are not yet known. If the person feel unexplained side effects while using cramp bark, one should stop taking it and consult doctor .

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.health-care-tips.org/herbal-medicines/cramp-bark.htm
http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_crampbark.htm
http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_crampbark.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cramp_Bark

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