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The shrub viburnum opulus is a popular ornamental plant that is native to North America and Europe. Also called Geulder Rose, Cramp bark, or European Cranberry Bush, it grows about 10 to 14 feet (about 3 to 4 meters) high, and contains white flowers and red berries. As an herbal remedy and homeopathic medicine, viburnum opulus is prized for its muscle-relaxant and pain-relieving properties.
One of the most common uses of viburnum opulus is for relieving menstrual cramps. Pains that begin in the lower back before moving around the loins to the abdomen are eased by the herb’s antispasmodic action. Homeopathic practitioners suggest that it may be used by women who suffer miscarriages or early labor, and can even stop labor contractions.
Scientists have isolated the chemical present in the bark that helps uterine contractions. They have determined that scopoletin, an anticoagulant, is the active ingredient that acts as a muscular sedative. This herb can help not only uterine cramps, but also the nervous tension, irritability, and depression that many women suffer during menopause. Since many synthetic medications for menopause have been shown to cause serious health problems, natural herbal remedies such as viburnum opulus are even more valuable.
Women and men can both benefit from the viburnum opulus home herbal remedy, since the herb can relax smooth muscle fibers and end contractions. The herb is helpful for any kind of muscle pain in the back. Restless leg syndrome, a problem in which the legs involuntarily move and feel cramped while resting, can be prevented with a dose of the herb in a tonic. It can also relieve spasms of the urinary tract, for both men and women, or abdominal pain when bearing down or pushing.
Antispasmodic medicine can be made from the fresh bark of the shrub and is harvested in the spring or fall. One cup of bark can be boiled for one hour in three to four cups of water. After the water has cooled, the bark is strained out and three to ten drops of the liquid can be added to any non-citrus beverage. This herbal remedy can be taken three to five times a day. For best results in eliminating leg cramps at night, the preparation should be taken at least one hour before bedtime.
Viburnum opulus is safe to take internally as directed; the preparations are not known to have any dangerous side effects. As with all herbal remedies, sufferers should start with the lowest dose and increase only if necessary. Unless advised by a homeopathic practitioner, this herbal remedy should not be combined with other medicines.