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The Healing Properties of Black Haw

Updated on April 25, 2019
LoisRyan1965 profile image

Lois has over ten years' experience in the home/herbal remedy field. She seeks to inform her readers and help them save money.

Thousands of years before modern medicine came into existence, people used plants and herbs to treat a large variety of illnesses, ailments and diseases. One such plant is viburnum prunifolium which is commonly known as black haw. Native to the eastern and central parts of North America, "it is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 2–9 m tall with a short crooked trunk and stout spreading branches" (Wikipedia). This bush has a reddish brown bark and branchlets that are brown with a tinge of red. Growing twelve to sixteen feet high, this bush produces edible berries that are blue or black in color. An excellent food source for Native Americans and settlers, people discovered the healing properties of these berries as well as the bark.

The healing properties of black haw.
The healing properties of black haw. | Source

The Healing Properties

Black haw contains antiviral properties. If you are suffering from the stomach flu, drinking tea with this herb in it will help relieve you of vomiting and diarrhea. If you include this tea in your daily diet, these antiviral properties of this herb may protec you from catching the stomach flu and other viral infections. It also contains valerianic acid which is a powerful anti-spasmodic property. This property is excellent in relieving:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Abdominal Spasms

Black haw also contains expectorant properties. The berries and bark help with respiratory problems such as:

  • Bronchitis
  • Sore Throat
  • Asthma
  • Tonsillitis
  • Coughs
  • Fevers

Black haw contains an excellent uterine relaxant called scopoletin. The bark of this plant is excellent in relieving pain of the female reproductive system including:

  • Uterine Spasms
  • Menstrual Pain
  • Pain After Childbirth

Black Haw contains diuretic properties. These properties are excellent in fighting the bacteria that causes urinary tract infections. Even if you are do not have the signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection, drinking black haw tea helps flush the bacteria that is building up in your urinary bladder and tract. Since this plant increases the quantity of water, it relieves water retention as well.

Black haw contains tannins which are excellent anti-inflammatory properties. It helps people who suffer from arthritis and gout by reducing pain, swelling and aches in joints.


Black haw is a natural blood thinner. When you have high levels of bad cholesterol in your bloodstream, your arteries get clogged up with fatty buildup. This causes high blood pressure, because your heart has to work faster to move the blood through the arteries. This in turn can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Including black haw in your daily diet can reduce the amount of bad cholesterol and lower your blood pressure. Therefore it also can reduce the chances of having a heart attack or stroke.

Black haw contains infection fighting properties. These are effective in preventing cuts, scrapes, burns and insect bites from getting infected. It is even effective in fighting against more serious infections such as:

  • E. Coli
  • Streptococcus
  • Staphylococcus

Where to Find Black Haw

The best place to look for black haw may be at your local health food store. You can also find a wide range of products online through sites such as EBay and Amazon. Some products include:

  • Berries
  • Dried Bark
  • Powders
  • Teas
  • Tinctures
  • Extracts



Some side effects of black haw include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Reduction in Pulse Rate
  • Sweating

Avoid black haw if you are pregnant or nursing. Also do not give black haw to children. Not enough research has been done to ensure the safety to unborn babies and children under 12 years of age. If you are planning on nursing your baby, talk to your doctor for safer pain medications.

Do not exceed the recommended daily dosage. If you are unsure, talk to your doctor. “The appropriate dose of black haw for use as treatment depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions” (rxlist).

Since black haw is a natural blood thinner, if you are currently on blood thinners avoid this plant.

Black haw contains oxalic acid. If you have a history of kidney stones, avoid this plant since this acid is known to increase kidney stone formation.

Avoid black haw if you are allergic to aspirin. This plant contains salicylates which are similar to the chemicals found in aspirin and can cause an allergic reaction.

If you plan to collect black haw from the wild, talk to a qualified herbalist since poisonous plants can be confused with black haw.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Lois Ryan


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