Viburnum, better known as black haw, to distinguish it from its related plant—the cramp bark or high cranberry—is a very popular remedy with Eclectic physicians. It is also one that was appropriated with avidity by our old school rivals, who have praised it, perhaps, as lustily as have its Eclectic introducers. Viburnum is tonic and antispasmodic, well sustaining the time honored meaning of such therapeutic terms. While a tonic to the gastro-intestinal tract and a good one, viburnum is better adapted to atonic conditions of the female reproductive tract, and as an agent for pain and weakness in female disease it has been most largely employed.
Viburnum is a fairly good agent to restrain abortion and has been most successfully employed where the tendency to abort is habitual. It will not, however, prevent all cases from this accident. It is adapted to cases showing functional debility of the female reproductive organs and should not be expected to prevent abortion due to syphilis or other inherited taints.
As a uterine tonic it restores normal innervation, improves the circulation, and corrects faulty nutrition of the womb and ovaries. It is called for where the menstrual function is weak and painfully performed. Indeed, it is one of the best of agents for dysmenorrhea when due to debility. In severe lumbar and bearing down pelvic pains, and in uterine colic, so-called, it is a remedy of first importance. The keynote to its use is cramp-like or intermittent pains with painful contraction of the pelvic muscles.
It is a remedy for uterine bleeding, in spasmodic dysmenorrhea, with excessive flow, in menorrhagia, and in metrorrhagia of functional character. It finds a good field in the hemorrhages of the menopause.
On the other hand, its service in amenorrhea is grateful, being adapted to pale subjects apparently lacking in sufficient blood and subject to cramping pain. Nocturnal cramping in the muscles of the leg, not due to pregnancy, is quickly relieved by viburnum. It should be thought of in treating uterine subinvolution.
As a uterine tonic during pregnancy, it has earned a good reputation, and is not without value in afterpains, to arrest leucorrhea; in debility of the menopause; and in chlorosis, chorea and hysteria, all when due to uterine irritation. Briefly, viburnum is indicated by uterine irritability and hyperesthesia; in threatened abortion; dysmenorrhea with scanty menses; uterine colic; severe lumbar and bearing down pelvic pains; intermittent, painful contraction of the pelvic structures; cramping-like expulsive menstrual pains; after-pains; false pains of pregnancy; obstinate hiccough.
—Editorial, Eclectic Med. Gleaner.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.