Cramp Bark

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What other names is Cramp Bark known by?

Bois à Quenouille, Boule de Neige, Common Guelder-Rose, Crampbark, Cranberry Bush, European Cranberry-Bush, Guelder Rose, Guelder-Rose, High Bush Cranberry, High-bush Cranberry, Obier, Rose de Gueldre, Snowball Bush, Viburno Opulus, Viburnum opulus, Viorne Aquatique, Viorne Aubier, Viorne Obier, Viorne Trilobée.

What is Cramp Bark?

Cramp bark is a plant that grows in North America. Historically, Native Americans used cramp bark as medicine for reducing swollen glands and treating fluid retention, mumps, and eye disorders. They also smoked cramp bark as a substitute for tobacco.

These days, the bark and root bark of this plant are still used to make medicine. As the name suggests, cramp bark is used for relieving cramps, including muscle spasms, menstrual cramps, and cramps during pregnancy. Cramp bark is also used as a kidney stimulant for urinary conditions that involve pain or spasms.

Some people use cramp bark for cancer, hysteria, infection, nervous disorders, a vitamin-deficiency condition called scurvy, and pain and swelling (inflammation) of the uterus (uteritis). Cramp bark is also used to increase urine flow and to cause vomiting, emptying of the bowels, and sleepiness.

Don't confuse cramp bark with black haw (Vibernum prunifolium), which is sometimes referred to as cramp bark.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Cramps.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Menstrual cramps.
  • Cramps during pregnancy.
  • Cancer.
  • Hysteria.
  • Nervous disorders.
  • Use as a kidney stimulant in urinary conditions which involve pain or spasms.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of cramp bark for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Cramp Bark work?

Chemicals in cramp bark seem to decrease muscle spasms. These chemicals might also lower blood pressure and decrease heart rate.

Are there safety concerns?

There isn't enough information to know if cramp bark is safe.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of cramp bark during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Dosing considerations for Cramp Bark.

The appropriate dose of cramp bark depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for cramp bark. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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