Health Benefits of Guelder Rose

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Guelder Rose Quick Facts
Name: Guelder Rose
Scientific Name: Viburnum opulus
Origin Native to Europe
Colors Bright red
Shapes Globose drupe, 7–10 mm diameter
Flesh colors Yellowish
Taste Astringent-bitter-sour
Guelder Rose is indigenous to the northern part of the United States and Canada. It is a handsome shrub, growing in low rich lands, woods and borders of fields, presenting a showy appearance of flowers in June. The flowers are succeeded by red, very acid berries, resembling low cranberries, and sometimes substituted for them. They remain on the bush after the leaves have fallen and throughout the winter. The bark has no smell, but has a peculiar bitterish and astringent taste, which leaves a clean feeling in the mouth. Viburnine is the active principle found in the dried bark of the stem. The berries are a rich source of Vitamins C and K.

Plant description

It is a conspicuous, large and nearly flattopped heads of snow white flowers measuring 3-5 inches across. Inner ones are very small but with an outer ring of large, showy and sterile blossoms which contains undeveloped stamens having no pollen and an ovary without ovules. Leaves are deciduous, ovate, 5-12 cm long, deeply 3-lobed and coarsely toothed. Flowers are white, 7-10 cm broad with flowers of two different types. Fruits form a drooping cluster of bright red berries, translucent and shining.

Guelder  Rose Facts

Name Guelder rose
Scientific Name Viburnum opulus
Native Europe, northern Africa, northern Asia, it also grows well in the United States and Canada
Common Names Guelder Rose, Cramp Bark, European cranberrybush, American cranberrybush, Crampbark, European Highb, American cranberry bush, Common snowball, Cranberry bush, Cranberry tree, Dagdagan, Gilaboru, Gilaburu, Gildar, Gilgili, High cranberry, Highbush cranberry, Pimbina, Snowball bush, Squaw bush
Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Gelderse roos
Albanian: Guelder-rose, butinë
Amharic: Guelder-rose
Arabic: Airtafae (ارتفع) guelder-rose-airtafae guelder-rose, rubatiat darhamiat al’azhar (رباطية درهمية الأزهار)
Armenian: Gvard-vard (գվարդ-վարդ), brrnch’i sovorakan (բռնչի սովորական)
Azerbaijani: Guilder-gül, Adi başınağacı
Azb: عادی باشین آغاجی
Basque: Gaukar
Belarusian: Kalina zvyčajnaja (Каліна звычайная)
Bengali: Guelder Gōlāpa (গোলাপ),Guelder-gōlāpa
Bulgarian: Kalina-roza (калина-роза), chervona kalina (червена калина)
Burmese: Nhainnse (နှင်းဆီ), guelder- nhainnse
Catalan: Aliguer, Boles de neu, Matoner, Matons, Mató de monja, Pom de neu, Saüc doble, saúc d’agua
Chinese: Qióng huā (琼花), ou zhou jia mi
Cornish: Skaw dowr
Cree: Nepiminana
Croatian: Guelder-ruža, obična udikovina, Kalina
Czech: Guelder-rose, kalina obecná
Danish: Guelder-rose, Almindelig kvalkved, Kvalkved, snebolletræ, Ulvsrøn
Dutch: Gelderse roos, guelderse roos
English: Guelder-rose, European cranberry bush, Crampbark, Viburnum, Cranberry viburnum, European cranberry viburnum, European cranberry-bush, European highbush cranberry, Snowball tree, Water elder, Gemeiner Schneeball, Schneeball, Highbush-Cranberry
Esperanto: Guelder-rozo, Opulo
Estonian: Guelder-rose, harilik lodjapuu, Hullukoeramarjapuu, Koerõispuu, Leedripuu, Lodjapuu, Oispuu
Filipino: Guelder-rose
Finnish: Guelder-rose, Koiranheisi, Lumipalloheisi, Lumipallopensas
French: Guelder rose, Viorne obier, Obier, Viorne aquatique, aubier, bois à quenouilles, boule de neige, caillebot, charcoulier, sureau d’eau, Rosa de Gueldre, tose de Gueldre
Galician: Flor do mundo
Georgian: Guelder Vardi (ვარდი), guelder-vardi
German: Guelder-Rose, Gemeiner Schneeball, Gewöhnlicher Schneeball, Drosselbeere,
Greek: Triantáfyllo (τριαντάφυλλο) guelder-triantáfyllo guelder
Gujarati: Gulḍara-gulāba (ગુલ્ડર-ગુલાબ)
Hausa: Guelder-fure
Hebrew: Gildn-urd (גילדן-ורד)
Hindi: guladar gulaab (गुलदर गुलाब), Udvesta Chala
Hungarian: Labdarózsa, kányabangita
Icelandic: Guelder-rose
Indonesian: Guelder-rose
Irish: Guelder-rose, Rós Ollannach
Italian: Rosa Viburno, ballon di neve, oppio, palle di neve, pallone di neve, sambuco acquatico, sambuco rosso,
Japanese: Guerudārōzu (グエルダーローズ), Kanboku (カンボク)
Javanese: Guelder-rose
Kannada: Gulḍar-gulābi (ಗುಲ್ಡರ್-ಗುಲಾಬಿ)
Kazakh: Gelder-rawşan (гельдер-раушан), Kädimgi şäñkiş (Кәдімгі шәңкіш)
Korean: Guelder-rose
Kurdish: Guelder-Rose
Lao: Guelder-rose
Latin: Viburnum rosa
Latvian: Guelder-rose, parastā irbene
Lithuanian: Guelder-rose, paprastasis putinas
Livvi: Ruskei höydöipuu
Macedonian: гелдер-роза-gelder-roza, калина, црвена калина
Malagasy: Guelder-raozy
Malay: Geram-naik
Malayalam: Gulḍar-ṟēās (ഗുൽഡർ-റോസ്)
Maltese: Rose-guelder
Marathi: Guladar-gulaab (गुलडर-गुलाब)
Mongolian: Gua-sarnai (гуа-сарнай)
Nepali: Guledar-gulaab (गुलेडर-गुलाब)
Norwegian: Guelder-rose, Korsved, Krossved
Occitan: Mena d’atatièr, Mena de tatanièr
Oriya: ଗୁଏଲର୍-ଗୋଲାପ |
Pashto: ګلډر-ګلاب
Persian: گلبرگ گل رز, بوداغ
Polish: Guelder-rose, kalina koralowa
Portugese: Rosa-bola, bola-de-neve, noveleiro, rosa-de-Gueldres, viburno, espirema, novelo, novelo cromatico, novelo da china
Punjabi: ਗੁਲਾਦਰ-ਗੁਲਾਬ-Gulādara-gulāba
Romanian: Guelder-rose
Russian: Kalina obyknovenaâ, kalina (калина), kalina obyknovennaya (калина обыкновенная), Kalina krasnaya (Калина красная), Krasnaya kalina (Красная калина), Obyknovennaya kalina (Обыкновенная калина)
Serbian: Guelder-rose (гуелдер-росе), crvena udika (црвена удика)
Sindhi: محافظ-گلاب
Sinhala: Gulḍar-rōsa (ගුල්ඩර්-රෝස)
Slovak: Kalina obyčajná
Slovenian: Guelder-rose, brogovita
Spanish: Guelder-rose, Bola de nieve, Mundillo, Sauquillo, aspil, bola de oro, güelde, membrera, mundillos, rodela, rosa de Gueldres, sauco de agua, saúco rodel, aleluyou, barbatilla, borlones copo de neive, corcovanos, flor del mundo, gebre, geldre
Sundanese: Kasir-acuk
Swedish: Skogsolvon, Koiranheisi, Olvon, Ulvtry, snöbollsbuske, beinve, krossved, kvalkved, olgon,
Tajik: ги-рифт-gi-rift
Tamil: Guelder-rose
Telugu: Guelder-rōj (Guelder-రోజ్)
Thai: Guelder kuh̄lāb (Guelder กุหลาบ)
Turkish: Kartopu-gül, gilaburu, Gilaboru
Ukrainian: Kalyna-troyanda (калина-троянда), kalyna zvychayna (калина звичайна),  Chervona kalyna (Червона калина)
Urdu: گلڈر گلاب
Uzbek: Gulchi-atirgul
Vietnamese: Cây kim ngân hoa, Vót châu Âu
Walloon: Sawou d’ aiwe, Sayou d aiwe
Welsh: Rhosyn guilder, Gwifwrnwydd y gors
Zulu: Isindindizela
Plant Growth Habit Small, perennial, deciduous shrub
Growing Climates Hedges, scrub and woodland, usually on damp soils
Soil Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade
Plant Size 6.5-11.5 ft. (2-3.5 m) tall
Bark Light grey to brown when mature
Leaf Three pointed lobes and are coarsely toothed; 2-4 in. (5-10 cm) long. The leaf stalk has two glands at the base of the leaf
Flowering season June to July
Flower White flowers are held in 3-4 in. (7.5-10 cm) wide, flat-topped umbels. The individual flowers are tiny and five-petaled
Fruit Shape & Size Nearly round drupe about 1/3 inch diameter with single large seed
Fruit Color  Bright red
Flesh Color Yellowish
Plant Parts Used Bark
Available Forms Tea, liquid extracts, capsules
Taste Bitter
Season August to September
Health Benefits
  • Menstrual Cramps
  • Endometriosis
  • Muscle Relaxant
  • Nervous health
  • Circulation
  • Sedative


Leaves are opposite, simple, 3-lobed and about 2 to 4 inches long. They are glossy dark green which turns to yellow-red or red-purple in the fall. Petiole is grooved and has round, raised glands near the base.


The plant blooms flowers in June in clusters which are 2-3 inches across with outer ring of larger and sterile flowers. Flowers are hermaphrodite and self-fertile which means individual plant flowers can pollinate one another. Flowers are pollinated by wind and insects.


Fruits are nearly round drupe about 1/3 inch diameter with single large seed, juicy, bright red and quite acid like cranberry. Seeds ripen from August to September. It produce fruit when reached at five years of age.

Health Benefits of Guelder Rose

1. Menstrual Cramps

In vitro studies, Guelder Eose block spasms of smooth muscle.  It is used for menstrual cramps following PMS. It helps to soothe severe cramping associated with vomiting, nausea and sweaty chills. Boil 2 teaspoons of dried bark into a cup of water and then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Take this tea three times per day for cramps.

2. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus. Fruits are used for treating gynecological disorders such as painful periods as well as ovarian cysts.

3. Muscle Relaxant

Guelder Rose acts as a natural muscle relaxant. It provides relief from menstrual cramping due to its ability to halt smooth muscle spasms. It provides relief from muscle spasms and aches throughout body whether associated to physical exertion and PMS. Other side effects of NSAIDs are leg swelling, stomach pain, dizziness, headaches, kidney issues and high blood pressure.

4. Muscle Relaxant

Cramp bark has anti-spasmodic compounds effective for all other types of cramp in the body. It includes gastrointestinal, bronchial, genitourinary and skeletal muscle spasms. As a skeletal muscle relaxant, it is effective for leg cramps.

5. Nervous health

It restores parasympathetic and sympathetic balance in voluntary and involuntary muscle spasms of autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic controls fight and parasympathetic controls rest and digest-balance between these two systems is crucial for overall vibrant health. It ensures that adequate resources in right place and at right time.

6. Circulation

Guelder Rose has relaxant activities which allows for increase circulation and blood flow. Relaxed muscles work efficiently and improvement in blood flow supports elimination of waste products from the body. It has vasodilatory properties which widens blood vessels and allows blood to flow more easily and exerts positive effect on blood pressure.

7. Sedative

Guelder Rose is rich in valerenic acid which is related with sedative herb Valerian. It acts as anti-spasmodic and sedative. The mild sedative effect could be enhanced by combining with other hormone regulating and sedative herbs.

Traditional Uses and benefits of Guelder Rose

  • Guelder rose is a powerful antispasmodic and is much used in the treatment of asthma, cramps and other conditions such as colic or painful menstruation.
  • It is also used as a sedative remedy for nervous conditions.
  • The bark is antispasmodic, astringent and sedative.
  • The bark contains ‘scopoletin’, a coumarin that has a sedative affect on the uterus.
  • A tea is used internally to relieve all types of spasms, including menstrual cramps, spasms after childbirth and threatened miscarriage.
  • It is also used in the treatment of nervous complaints and debility.
  • The leaves and fruits are antiscorbutic, emetic and laxative.
  • A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh bark.
  • It is used in the treatment of menstrual pain and spasms after childbirth.
  • An herbal supplement made from the shrub’s dried bark has traditionally been used to treat pain from muscle cramps, especially period cramps, although other parts of the plant may also offer benefits.
  • The supplement shows promising potential to relieve pain and promote healthy kidney function, and emerging research suggests that it may offer many other benefits as well.
  • Fermented fruit juice of European cranberry bush is useful for kidney disorders, menstrual and stomach cramps, hypertension, asthma, digestion problems, and the common cold.
  • In the 19th century, cramp bark was adopted for treatment of stomach cramps and dysmenorrhea, and to prevent miscarriage.
  • Cramp bark has been used in folk medicine for the prevention of miscarriage.

Ayurvedic Health benefits of Guelder Rose

  • Difficult Menses: Powder the dried Viburnum Opulus. Boil 2 tablespoons of dried powder in a cup of water for l0-l5 minutes. Drink 2 to 3 times a day. OR: Add quarter teaspoon of Viburnum Opulus tincture in half a glass of water. Drink it 2 to 3 times a day. (Note: It is advised that do not take it during menses. Take this before and after a week of your menstrual period.)
  • Gallstones: Grind dried Viburnum Opulus  Bark. Prepare tea with half teaspoon powder in a cup of water. Take it 4 times a day.
  • Angina: Prepare a decoction of the bark of Viburnum Opulus. Have it two times a day.
  • Brain Stroke: Prepare an infusion of the bark of Viburnum Opulus. Have one cup once a day.
  • Difficult Menses: Grind Viburnum Opulus, Wind Flower and Partridge Berry together. Take one teaspoon every day for 7 days.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Make a decoction of the Viburnum Opulus, St. John’s Wort, Wild yam. Take twice a day.
  • Endometriosis: Grind dried root of Chaste berry, Echinacea, Wild yam, Viburnum Opulus in equal quantity. Take Raspberry leaves and Motherwort leaves in half quantity. Prepare a decoction. Strain. Drink one cup two times a day.

Culinary uses

  • Fruits are used as a substitute for tea or coffee.
  • Fruit can be consumed raw or cooked.
  • It is used as a cranberry substitute in making, jellies, preserves etc.
  • In Canada, the fruits are a popular substitute for cranberries.
  • In Russia, Siberia, and the Ukraine, they are used in drinks, sauces, and cakes.
  • In Turkey, the fermented fruit juice of European cranberry bush is known as “gilaburu”.

Other Facts

  • A red dye is obtained from the fruit.
  • An ink can be made from the dried berries.
  • Plants can be grown as a tall hedge, they are rather bare in winter though.
  • The wood can be used to make skewers.


  • Large quantities of the fruit can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Fruit is of very low or zero toxicity, it only causes mild upsets when eaten unripe or in large quantities.
  • If you are pregnant or nursing, you should consult your healthcare provider before using cramp bark.





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