Black Haw

Common name Black Haw

Latin name Viburnum prunifolium

Parts used Bark

System affinities

Black haw is sympathetic to the reproductive, particularly the female, and nervous systems.  

Energetics/characteristics/flower essence/dosha

Black haw is at once a diuretic and nervine tonic.  It is therefore particularly indicated for the kapha and vata doshas.  Its main actions are as a uterine stimulant and an antispasmodic.  It also has analgesic and antiasthmatic properties. 

Taste and quality

Black haw is both astringent and bitter.


Black haw is most commonly indicated for menstrual cramps.  It eases the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort.  It is good for uterine congestion and inflammation.  Its relaxing action increases the circulation to the uterus which helps in toxin removal.

It’s antispasmodic properties indicate it as a potent treatment for asthma, bronchitis and heart palpitations.  It treats nervous complaints such as convulsions, hysteria, epilepsy, and stress.


History and lore

The bark, berries, and fruit of the black haw were used by Native Americans for a number of uses, many of which are still in wide use today, mostly for gynecological conditions.


Blackhaw is a common tree species whose native range extends from the mid-Atlantic states south to Georgia and west to Missouri. It is most common in the upper mid-west states, Ohio River valley, and eastern states up to southern New York. Blackhaw is commonly found on rocky stream banks, hillsides, along the base or edges of bluffs, along the margins of forests, or in rocky glades or thickets, and in clearings. It grows best with full to partial sun, but can survive in full shade.

Dosing and formulas