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Guelder rose is able to relieve muscle tension, both in skeletal muscles and in the smooth muscle of the intestines, lungs, and uterus. It is used on its own for cramps and muscle spasms, including uterine cramps, back pain, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome, and in formulae for high blood pressure, arthritis and nervous tension.

Caprifoliaceae Honeysuckle family

Description: A large shrub or small tree with palmate leaves, white blossoms and vivid red berries.

Habitat: Woodlands, damp places, and scrubland.

Distribution: Native to Eurasia and North America.

Related species: There are around 150 species in the genus worldwide. Black haw (V. prunifolium) from the eastern USA has similar herbal uses.

Parts used: Bark, harvested while the tree is in leaf.

Parts used: Bark, harvested while the tree is in leaf.

This beautiful native tree should be more widely planted in gardens for its all-year generosity. It has showy creamy-white flowerheads in early summer, while in late summer and fall the berries ripen to a stunning scarlet, their translucence lending them a gorgeous glow, and the foliage colors intensify as the weather cools. The berries are edible, and make a delicious jelly.

And if you need more reasons to grow Guelder rose, there are all the medicinal uses of the bark!

Luckily, it is also a common tree in damp woodlands and hedgerows. It has been used medicinally for centuries (Chaucer mentions it), and the name could derive from the town of Guelders, on the former German-

Dutch border. Another possibility comes from its superficial similarity to elder, in the same family, reflected in the old common names water elder and white elder. Gerard calls it rose elder or Gelders rose. Crampbark is a more recent name, which well captures its principal use today.

Guelder rose really helps in rheumatic conditions where the pain is from tension rather than inflammation, easing the pain and improving blood flow to the affected area. It is a great remedy to take at the first onset of both migraines and tension headaches, and by relaxing the blood vessels it helps with high blood pressure, Raynaud's syndrome, restless legs, cramps, and menstrual pain.

Guelder rose: The small yellowish flowers in the center are fertile while the large white flowers surrounding them are sterile.

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