European Cranberry / Cramp bark / Viburnum opulus

ClareBroommaker's picture

A few of these dwarf European cranberry bushes live in our garden, selected for their pretty foliage. I'm thinking of digging them up this year in favor of something better suited to the partly shaded spots where I have them. They need not just more sun, but better airflow because they tend to get fungi, bacterial spots, and spider mites. However, since they are called "cramp bark," I reckon they have medicinal use. Without spending much time looking them up as herbal medicine, I find that they may be helpful for two different health problems in my household-- asthma and muscle spams.

I wonder if anyone here has experience or book study of this plant. If they are worth harvesting and will save nicely, I would like to do so.

Blueberry's picture

Try making a nice cup of hot tea. You must think all I do is sit around and drink tea! Have a few herb books from Europe will try and see what info they contain.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Well, um, I sat down with a cup of green tea to read any responses. I used to drink several cups a day, so I'm not one to question drinking tea all day.

I'll hold out for more info before drinking anyviburnum tea. I think it is the _bark_ and the _roots_ which are used. I couldn't gather much of that unless I was willing to kill the shrubs anyway. And these really are quite dwarfed. I'd say they grow to 26 inches at the most, naturally forming a mound of foliage. The biggest limbs are only about as big around as my thumb. They send up a lot of twiggy branches, as thin as a toothpick.

While I've got you, Blueberry, don't you live where yaupon holly grows? I understand that can make a caffeine drink. I'd be sad to lose my caffeine drinks if I could not longer get imported tea and if no North American tea farms eve get into production.

Blueberry's picture

Limited info will look some more tomorrow. The Practical Encyclopedia of Gardening Edited by Norman T aylor printed in 1941. Viburnum Opulus Cranberry Tree " A shrub 8-12 ft high, useful in cities as it stands smoke very well. Leaves maple like, 3-5 lobed, about 3 1/2 inches wide, hairy on the underside. Flower clusters nearly 4 inches wide stalked the outer flowers nearly 3/4 inch wide and sterile. Fruit red. Eurasia and northern AF, May-June. Hardy from zone 2 southward. Their is a dwarf form."

Blueberry's picture

Not finding much in my old books sorry.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Thanks for looking.