Cramp bark

The term cramp bark is related to the properties of the bark’s ability to reduce smooth muscle tightness. It is called cramp bark as relieving this type of muscle tightness is most often associated with relieving women’s menstrual (period) cramps. However, this can also be used during pregnancy for cramps or pain and general muscle cramping. It is also known to ease headaches, arthritis pains, back pain, and as a cardiovascular tonic.

Cramp bark comes from the small shrub, Viburnum opulus, which grows in the northern half of the United States. Multiple species are native throughout the northern hemisphere. The twigs can be harvested in the spring to make tinctures and teas. Topically, cramp bark oil can be used to help relax muscles and restore blood flow to injured joints and surrounding tissues.

Parts Used:  Bark

Main Constituents: Bitter (viburnin), valeric acid, tannins, coumarins, saponins 

Actions/Medicinal Properties: Antispasmodic, astringent, cardiotonic, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, mild sedative, anti-inflammatory

Energetics: Cooling & Drying

Dosage: For a tincture, take 1tsp 3-5 times daily as a relax and for nervous or muscular tension, or for pains affecting the digestive or urinary tract. For decoctions or strong teas, take 1 cup every 3-4 hours for period pain or colic. Can be used with other remedies for excessive menstrual bleeding. Teas can also be used to help with back pains and for arthritis relief.

Magickal Properties: This feminine plant associates with Saturn and the element of water. Also associated with the astrological sign of Capricorn. There isn’t much folklore surrounding cramp bark, what few references there are refer to women’s magic and protection.

Planet: Saturn

Element: Water

Lady’s Mantle

As the name entails, this herb is for the ladies; it helps with menstrual cramps, calms the uterine walls, and helps restore fullness to breasts after breastfeeding.

Its scientific name, Alchemilla vulgaris expresses how much this herb was revered by alchemists at the time of its discovery. Many alchemists and priests would collect juices from the leaves for healing properties.

Parts Used: Aerial; flowers, leaves

Main Constituents: Tannins, salicylic acid, saponins, phytosterols, volatile oil, bitter principle.

Actions/Medicinal Properties: Stringent, Menstrual regulator, digestive tonic, wound herb, anti-inflammatory.

Dosage:

Create an infusion by adding dried leaves to boiling water and straining. Drink 1 cup of tea up to 5 times per day for acute diarrhea or gastroenteritis, or to ease heavy menstrual bleeding period pains. This infusion could also be gargled to ease sore throats, laryngitis or as a mouthwash

Take 1-2ml of Tincture 3 times daily to regulate menstrual cycle, or take with St. John’s Wort to ease period pains.

Lady’s Mantle Through History

Lady’s Mantle is a perennial herb found in Europe, North America, and Asia that has been used medicinally since the Middle Ages. The word Alchemilla is a derivative of the Arab word Alkemelych, which means alchemy, and was named for the plant’s magical healing powers. An astringent that affects the production rate of enzymes in the pancreas, lady’s mantle is commonly recommended for treating diarrhea and stomach ailments. In folk medicine, lady’s mantle was also used to soothe infections of the mucous membranes of mouth and throat. The tea and extracts were also used as a bath additive to treat skin irritations and wounds. The leaf tea and dewdrops from the leaves of the living plant are most commonly employed to help female conditions such as menorrhagia, menopause, and painful periods.