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Cramp Bark Could Help Relax And Support Female Functions

May 29, 2008
Cramp Bark is best known for relieving cramps related to menstruation. It contains a substance called viopudial, which provides it with its cramp-relieving effects. It is the most powerful antispasmodic herb for the uterus and works well to ease some of the discomfort of heavy menstrual flow. If cramps are caused by something other than uterine muscle spasms, a different herb may be needed to relieve symptoms.

A traditional use for Cramp Bark is to relax uterine muscles when miscarriage is threatened. It directly affects muscle tissue and is thought to block enzymes relating to muscle spasms. Cramp Bark has been used to stop contractions during premature labor. It also has been used to strengthen uterine muscles during the last trimester of pregnancy to help in bringing an easy labor. However, it may complicate pregnancy in some instances, so it is recommended that you avoid self-administering it during pregnancy and consult your physician before using it.

Cramp Bark is available as:

* An extract
* A capsule
* A tablet
* A liquid concentration
* A tea

Concentrating the herb is done by chopping or mashing parts of the plant in alcohol and then straining out the other material. Cramp Bark is often sold in an herbal combination with other products such as:

* Black cohosh
* Chaste tree
* Dong quoi

These other herbs are also reputed to have antispasmodic properties. This means they affect bodily functions like a muscle relaxant.

Side effects that result from using Cramp Bark have not been reported. However, very few reliable studies have been performed on individual subjects using the herb.

If you experience any adverse side effects as the result of using Cramp Bark, you should inform your doctor and pharmacist. Always follow the instructions on the package when purchasing any new product. Some herbs have either not been on the market long enough, or not used widely enough to have a long history of recorded information and clinical records.

Cramp Bark originated in North America and was used by natives as a diuretic and a sedative. Cramp Bark grows bushy and may reach as high as 12 feet. It is often planted in hedges because of its appealing flowers and blooming abilities. In summer, the plant's large white flowers are joined by bunches of red berries. In the fall, the maple-shaped leaves change from dark green to dark red and purple.

The berries are bitter in taste, but are sought by certain species of wildlife. Scandinavians commonly cook them into preserves. Canadians substitute them for cranberries. European and Asian inhabitants have been known to ferment the berries to create an alcoholic concoction. They have also been used to make red dye and dark ink.

Aside from its characteristically bitter flavor, Cramp Bark has a distinctive smell that resembles rotten fruit. Both the stem and the bark are cultivated between fall and spring, after the leaves have fallen, but before new ones are born.

Other Uses

As a muscle relaxant, Cramp Bark affects the intestines and skeletal muscles. If the uterus or ovaries are inflamed and irritated, or if there is a cyst or endometrial infection, Cramp Bark will probably not be effective. In this case, you may wish to consider using Black Haw, which is closely related to Cramp Bark.

Before taking any type of botanical medication, it is important that you consult with an experienced herbalist, as well as your own physician. Generally, though, herbs are a wonderful medicinal tool when used in conjunction with traditional medical practices.
About the Author
More information on the comfort of cramp bark is available at VitaNet , LLC Health Food Store. http://vitanetonline.com/
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