Latin:  Viburnum opulus

Family:  Caprifoliaceae  (Adoxaceae)

Parts Used:  Bark  (occ. fruit and leaves)

Taste/Energetics:  Bitter, cooling, pungent

Properties:  Antispasmodic, anxiolytic, analgesic, hypotensive, astringent, sedative, diuretic

Actions:  This is one of my go-to herbs for many different preparations.  Like it sounds it is primarily useful as an anti-spasmodic so it is helpful for cramps, muscle and headache tension and pain, abdominal distress, restless legs and bronchial spasms and coughing.  Beyond that it has a distinct relaxant effect that makes it useful for anxiety and sleep formulas, especially where there is noted physical cramping and tension.   It has a nice hypotensive quality as well that makes it useful in formulas for hypertension.  Cramp bark finds its way into my tincture formulas for sleep, pain and anxiety.  A wonderful herb.

Dosage:  I prefer this herb as a tincture as the taste is so bitter as to be fairly unpalatable in a decoction.  It is mainly useful as a symptomatic relief herb used for short periods of time as it rather strong in effect.  2-4 ML of tincture as needed.  If it is taken in tea form,  its best to add other tastier herbs such as licorice and burdock to complement the bitter taste.   As decoction, 2-4 tsp to 1 pint of water simmered at low heat for 40 minutes.  It is also useful in syrups where its very bitter taste is somewhat masked by a sweetener.

Contraindications:  Avoid with sedative psych drugs (Benzodiazapenes, Z-drugs and antipsychotics, avoid in elderly, children and infirm, avoid with blood thinners.)

Further Reading:  

Cramp bark monograph  by Rosalee de la Foret