Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium) is a Medicinal Herbs used in Wildcrafted's Therapeutic Creams and Compounds.

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Medicinal Herbs & Therapeutic Botanicals

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Botanical: Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium)

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Content provided on this page is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options. Information on this page should not be considered as a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional. The claims made about specific products throughout this article are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.


Black Haw is found in the Eastern and Central USA. This deciduous shrub can reach almost 16 feet in height, with its branches spreading upward. The leaves are dull-colored, finely toothed and nearly 3 inches long. The flowers are quite noticeable, somewhat large, and appear in nearly-topped heads between 3 and 5 inches in width.

Botanicals: Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium)


Black Haw

Botanical Name: Viburnum prunifolium

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Other Names: Stagbush, American Sloe, black haw

Parts Used:

  • Dried bark of root, stem or trunk
  • Active Compounds:
  • Coumarins, including scopoletin
  • Salicin
  • l-Methyl-2,3-dibutyl hemimellitate
  • Miscellaneous; viburnin, plant acids, volatile oil, tannin.


In 1866 Dr. E.W Jenks of Detroit described black haw as particularly valuable in preventing abortion and miscarriage, whether habitual or otherwise, whether threatened from accidental cause, or criminal drugging. The herb was thought to tone up the system, preventing or removing those harassing nervous symptoms that so Often torment and wear out the pregnant women. It enables the system to resist the deleterious influence of drugs so often used for the purpose of producing abortions. Black haw was largely employed in slavery times as a preventative of abortion, and to counteract the effects of cotton root [an abortive agent) taken with criminal intent. The sedative and anodyne properties of this herb was used for treating dysmenorrhoea. It enables the uterus to bear the burden cast on it with much less suffering.

Traditionsl Applications in Herbal Medicine:

Anti-spasmodic, nervine, hypotensive, astringent.

Black Haw has been employed with benefit in all nervous complaints and debility and used with success in cramps and spasms of all kinds, in convulsions, fits and lockjaw, and also in palpitation, heart disease and rheumatism.

In addition, Black Haw is a powerful relaxant of the uterus and is used for dysmenorrhoea, false labor pains as well as in threatened miscarriage.

Black Haw's relaxant and sedative actions are taken advantage of in its use in reducing blood pressure in hypertension. Its anti-spasmodic properties makes it a viable treatment for asthma.

Traditional use of black haw is for the treatment of uterine irritability and hyperasthesia; threatened abortion; uterine colic; dysmenorrhoea with deficient menses; severe lumbar and bearing-down pains; cramp-like, expulsive menstrual pain; intermittent, painful contractions of the pelvic tissues; after-pains and false pains of pregnancy; and obstinate hiccough.

Other indications include:

Bitter, antispasmodic, analgesic, astringent, sedative, stimulant diuretic, nervine, hypotensive, tonic, regulates uterine function; affects liver; extracts of the whole bark have been shown to have an effect on the central nervous system.

Has been used internally for menstrual pain (decoction of root bark, sometimes combined with Mugwort); threatened miscarriage (combined with False Unicorn Root and Goldenseal); conditions accompanied by convulsions (sometimes combined with equal parts ginger and angelica root plus 3 parts chamomile); also hysteria, muscle cramps, dysmenorrhea, false labor pains, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, rheumatism, and nervous palpitations; has also been used to treat nervous conditions associated with pregnancy.

Tincture of the root bark has been used to alleviate pain after childbirth (1 ml doses every 20 minutes for muscle cramps) and arrest bleeding.

Used in Asian medicine for nervous conditions, convulsions, hysteria, spasms, menstrual cramps.

Once used by Native Americans as well as Shakers in the form of decoction, extract, pills and plasters as a diuretic and detergent (taken daily in the form of a decoction to prevent and remove cancers); also used by Native Americans to treat diarrhea and dysentary as well as to alleviate chills and fever.


Decoction: put 2 teaspoonfuls of the dried bark in a cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Tincture: take 5 - 10 ml of the tincture three times a day.
Safety: No information is available. Do not eat the uncooked fruit.

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