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Plant Family:

Adoxaceae Family


Habitat & Cultivation: 

Viburnum prunifolium is native to North America and is found throughout the northeastern part of the United States, it is widiely used as food and meidine by tribes.  They can be grown in the PNW.


Black haw is native to North America so was used by the indigenous people.  The word Viburnum comes from a root word that means “to tie or bind” referring to the long slender twigs (Black Haw Bark, 2000).  Cherokees people used it as an antispasmodic, diaphoretic, tonic and topical wash for a sore tongue.  The Catawba people used it as a tea for stomach issues.  The Oklahoma Delaware people were known to use as part of a formula for female reproductive problems and the Micmac people used it before and after birth (Black Haw Bark, 2000).  Black haw has been mentioned in botanical books since 1735 not noted to be used as medicine until 1846


Parts Used/Collection: 



Herbal Actions: 

Antispasmodic, astringent, bronchospasmolytic/antiasthmatic, hypotensive, nervine tonic/relaxant, partus preparator, parturifacient, uterine sedative/spasmolytic, uterine tonic (Upton, 2000; Mills & Bone, 2005). As discussed in the lesson for this week, black haw has an affinity for the uterus and ovaries and is more of a uterine tonic.  



Black haw has been used to prevent miscarriages with it’s antispasmodic properties. This is an herb that could be helpful to clients who have painful contractions w/no cervical change and won’t allow the client to get sleep.  Allowing the uterus to relax and rest will allow the client to get rest in preparation for true labor.





Plant Constituents: 



System Affinities:

  • Digestive

  • Nervine

  • Cardiovascular

  • Musculoskeletal



slow, heavy, dull



Viburnum prunifolium: Pregnancy cat B2, lactation C (Mills & Bone, 2005). Oxalates will aggravate kidney stones (Marciano & Vizniak, 2018; Mills & Bone, 2005).


Personal Experience:

I steeped this into a tea, it was strong, earthy flavor and had a little bite to it. It was relaxing but I didn't care for the flavor too much. 




Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Healing Arts Press. Rochester, VT. pp 604-605.

Mills, S. & Bone, K. (2005). The essential guide to herbal safety. London, England: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone

Upton, R. (2000). Black Haw Bark. American Herbal Pharmacopoeia.

Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium)

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