Black haw tree bark (Viburnum Prunifolium)


Black haw bark has a long tradition in American folk medicine and is derived from the outer skin of the viburnum prunifolum plant.

The Black Haw,also known as “Cramp Bark”, has been traditionally used in a number of ways by the Native Americans, the stem of the herb were used to make baskets, while the berries were turned into a kind of jam. Fertility was believed to be boosted by the plant, and to increase a slave woman’s ability to bear more children, many Southern slave owners used to coerce their female slaves to eat the black haw berries – the idea being to make her bear more children. The supposed ability of the herb to boost fertility in women is even mentioned in the old clinical text called the Kings American Dispensatory, this 19th-century medical text was extensively used by medical doctors of that era, in this text, a group of doctors called the Eclectic movement state various uses of the herb to boost fertility and to preclude abortion in women, it is written:” It was customary for planters to compel female slaves to drink an infusion of black haw daily whilst pregnant to prevent abortion”- thus the plant was believed to control fertility and the reproductive functions of women.