The health benefits of Black Haw tea have long been known to several native American tribes. The astringent and anti-spasmodic properties of black haw have made the herb a staple herbal health remedy for women for hundreds of years.
Black haw is a small deciduous shrub that is native to North America. Known by its scientific name of viburnum prunifolium, black haw typically grows in moist woods, thickets, and along stream banks. Black haw can reach a height of up to fifteen feet when fully mature. It is characterized by its red brown bark, flat-topped white flowers, and grooved branches.
It possesses edible red berries that are shiny and typically ripen in August, and turn blue through the winter. These berries can be readily eaten or made into jams or preserves.
The black haw plant was believed to help boost fertility during the pre-Civil War days in America. Black haw tea was said to have been drunk by slave women (at the behest of slave owners) to increase their ability to bear more children.
The black haw plant was listed in U.S. Pharmacopeia until the year 1926 and remained a very popular source of home based remedies for a long time.
Most of the health properties of this plant can be derived from its bark. The active constituents of black haw bark are the following: acetic acid, amentoflavone, arbutin, esculetin, myristic acid, oleanolic acid, salicylic acid, scopoletin, tannins, ursolic acid.
To make black haw tea, boil two teaspoonfuls of dried black haw bark in a cup of water. The water must then be brought to a gentle boil, and then allowed to simmer for ten minutes before being cooled and strained. The black haw tea can be taken twice a day during the treatment period.
Black haw is said to be safe to be taken in pregnancy, and may even prevent miscarriage. However, its use is not recommended by those with liver and/or kidney problems.
The following are some health benefits attributed to black haw tea:
- May help in alleviating symptoms of menopause and menstrual cramps in women.
- The tea is thought to help prevent miscarriage in women.
- The tea is thought to alleviate labor pains.
- The tea is thought to help in easing uterine disorders in women.
- May help in the treatment of migraine headaches.
- May help lower blood pressure.