Black Haw

Other Name(s):

Blackhaw, Nanny Bush, Southern Black Haw, Stag Bush, Viburno, Viburno Americano, Viburnum, Viburnum lentago, Viburnum prunifolium, Viburnum rufidulum, Viorne Américaine, Viorne à Feuilles de Prunier, Viorne à Manchettes.


Black haw is a shrub that is native to the woodlands of central and southern North America. People use the root bark and its extracts to make medicine.

Black haw is used for increasing urine (as a diuretic) to relieve fluid retention; and for treating diarrhea, spasms, and asthma. It is also used as a tonic.

Women use black haw for treating menstrual cramps and spasms of the uterus after childbirth; and for preventing miscarriage.

How does it work?

Black haw contains a chemical that might relax the uterus.


Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________. See Answer

Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Diarrhea.
  • Asthma.
  • Menstrual cramps.
  • Spasms of the uterus (womb) following childbirth.
  • Increasing urine production.
  • Preventing miscarriage.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of black haw for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Black haw stem bark is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in food amounts. Black haw root bark is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth as a medicine. So far, no side effects have been reported.


Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough? See Slideshow

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to use black haw if you are pregnant. It might affect the uterus.

It's also best to avoid using black haw if you are breast-feeding. Not enough is known about its safety.

Aspirin allergy: Black haw contains chemicals called salicylates. There is some concern that these salicylates could trigger an allergic reaction in people with asthma or aspirin allergies.

Kidney stones: Because black haw contains oxalic acid, it might increase stone formation in people with a history of kidney stones.


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. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for black haw. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


BALDINI, L., BRAMBILLA, G., and PARODI, S. [RESEARCH ON THE UTERINE ACTION OF VIBURNUM PRUNIFOLIUM.]. Arch Ital Sci Farmacol. 1964;14:55-63. View abstract.

Jarboe, C. H., Zirvi, K. A., Schmidt, C. M., McLafferty, F. W., and Haddon, W. F. 1-methyl 2,3-dibutyl hemimellitate. A novel component of Viburnum prunifolium. J Org Chem 1969;34(12):4202-4203. View abstract.

Tomassini, L., Cometa, F. M., Foddai, S., and Nicoletti, M. Iridoid Glucosides from Viburnum prunifolium. Planta Med 1999;65(2):195. View abstract.

View abstract.

Agriculture Res Svc. Dr. Duke's phytochemical and ethnobotanical databases. Available at: (Accessed 7 July 1999).

Chevallier A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. London, UK: Dorling Kindersley, Ltd., 1996.

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at:

Hoffman D. The herbal handbook: a user's guide to medical herbalism. rev ed. Rochester, VT:Healing Arts Press, 1998.

Upton R, Petrone C, eds. Black Haw Bark, Viburnum prunifolium: Analytical, quality control, and therapeutic monograph. American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium. Santa Cruz, CA: American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. 2000.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors