Black Haw

Black haw, Uses of Black haw, Benefits of Black Haw, what is Black haw, Viburnum prunifolium

Viburnum prunifolium Caprifoliaceae.


This small tree, a native of the central and southern parts of the United States, is common in large forests and on dry, rocky slopes. From its bent trunk, which can reach 5m in height, grow stiff branches and downy twigs that are brilliant red when young but turn green as they age. The leaves are oval and sharply pointed. Black haw bears clusters of white flowers followed by blue-black berries.


Parts used

Trunk and root bark


  • Bark is collected from the trunk and branches in spring and summer.
  • Bark pieces about 1 mm thick are used to make infusions, extracts and tinctures.
  • The root bark is collected in autumn.

Constituents

The bark contains bioflavonoids, which keep capillary walls strong, antiviral and anti-inflammatory triterpenes and organic acids. It also contains tannins and the coumarin scopoletin, which acts as a relaxant on the uterus.


Medicinal uses

It has long been known that the bark of black haw has an antispasmodic effect on uterine muscle. It is therefore beneficial in treating period pains, heavy menstrual bleeding, colic and other abdominal cramps. Its anticoagulant and sedative properties are also helpful in this respect. Other therapeutic properties include anti-inflammatory and anticlotting activity. It has been suggested that it can be used to remedy ulcers. The plant is prescribed for internal use to treat problems arising when fragile skin capillaries are damaged, such as tiny haemorrhages just below the surface of the skin, as well as bruising and haemorrhoids. The role of black haw in the treatment of cardiovascular ailments, particularly high blood pressure, is currently being investigated.


CAUTIONS

  • Black haw should never be taken before a diagnosis has been confirmed by a medical herbalist.
  • It should not be used while taking anticoagulant drugs.

PREPARATION AND DOSAGE

For internal use


TO TREAT fragile skin capillaries, vein disorders, haemorrhoids, uterine spasms, painful periods INFUSION Put 3 level teaspoons of bark into 500ml of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes, then strain. Drink 2-3 cups a day.


TINCTURE (1:3 in 25% alcohol) Take 20 drops in a glass of water three times a day after meals.


LIQUID EXTRACT Put 20 drops into a glass of water. Take three times a day.


DRY EXTRACT Take 100-300mg three times a day.


IF SYMPTOMS PERSIS CONSULT A DOCTOR


Cultivation

Suited to moist soil, black haw can be placed in sunny or slightly shady positions.



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