The Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus L.) family includes about 200 types of shrubs and trees. Most species of this plant come from China and Japan.

Shrubs grow to a height of 1.5-3m. The berries are bright red. Blooms from May to June, fruits ripen in August-September.

In official medicine, burdock decoctions and extracts prepared from bark and berries are used for medicinal purposes. Irbeni is used to stop bleeding in the field of gynecology - uterine bleeding, during painful menstruation and after childbirth.

Guelder-rose berries are used for the prevention and treatment of avitaminosis.

The bark of the plant is collected in early spring, during the sap season, from cut trees. The bark is wrapped in fresh air and further dried in an oven at a temperature of 50-60C. Dried bark breaks, not fully dried arcs.

Berries are collected in September-October in dry weather conditions, before frost, wrapped and dried in an oven not exceeding 60C, until hard.

Leaves and flowers are often used for medicinal purposes, they are collected in May and June, dried in a well-ventilated place or in an oven at a temperature of 40-50C and stored in a paper bag.

The bitter glycoside viburnin, iridoid glycosides (opulusiridoid, acetylopulusiridoid), pyrocatechin group tannins (2%), resins (<6%), organic acids (formic acid, acetic acid, isobaldrianic acid, capric acid, caprylic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, cerotic acid, palmitic acid), sterol and their derivatives (phytosterol, phytosterolin), flavonoids, triterpene saponins (~6%, ursulic acid, oleanolic acids, oleanonic acids and hederogenic acids), sugar, phenolic acids (chlorogenic acid, neochlorogenic acid, caffeic acid), coumarins (scopoletin, esculetin and their glycosides ), vitamins C and K.

Guelder-rose berries contain pectins, anthocyanins, sugars (<32%), organic acids, tannins, micro and macro elements, carotene and vitamins C, K, P. The seeds contain a lot of fatty acids <21%.

Medicinal significance

Guelder-rose bark gets its medicinal properties thanks to the iridoid glycosides it contains. Guelder-rose bark preparations are used as a blood-stopping, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic agent. They also have astringent, diuretic, pain-relieving effects, reduce tension in the nervous system and affect fat metabolism. With long-term use, Guelder-rose bark also reduces the amount of cholesterol in the blood vessels.

Guelder-rose bark decoction is used to stop internal bleeding, increase the tone of the uterus, narrow blood vessels and calm down.

Due to the significant amount of ascorbic acid in berries, it is widely used in vitamin mixtures. Guelder-rose berries increase the contraction of the heart muscle, act as a diuretic, choleretic, help heal wounds and are good as an anti-inflammatory agent.  Guelder-rose berries should not be used in case of gout and various kidney diseases.

Decoctions of Guelder-rose flowers and leaves are used as an anti-inflammatory, hemostatic and diaphoretic agent. The stuff is useful for rinsing the throat in case of angina and catarrh of the upper respiratory tract. Guelder-rose seeds have a tonic effect, which can be used instead of coffee.

Decoctions of liquid extract and bark, as well as 10-20% diluted berry juice are used to treat infectious allergies, photodermatitis, ulcers and purulent skin diseases (furunculosis, carbuncles, eczema, etc.)

Children diagnosed with pseudofurunculosis are bathed in a decoction of Guelder-rose bark. Psoriasis is also treated with berry juice applications by placing the applications directly on the areas affected by psoriasis.

Already in ancient times, folk healers observed the properties of Guelder-rose. Guelder-rose berry and bark were already described in herbal books of the 16th century. Basically, berries and flowers are used in folk medicine in honey, sugar syrups, and infusions are also prepared, which are used to calm the nerves, in case of hypertension, atherosclerosis. Guelder-rose berries also help in the prevention, treatment of malignant tumor of the esophagus.

Dried berries can be used instead of coffee, which will also regulate digestive processes. Berry juice is also used as a dye in food and for dyeing wool - the berries give a red color, the peel a black-green color.

Guelder-rose is used for the treatment of hemorrhoids, gastritis, colitis, liver diseases, stomach and duodenal ulcers, as well as as a tonic in cases where edema occurs due to the influence of the heart or kidneys. Can also be used as an antiperspirant for colds.

It can also be used externally to treat skin diseases and stop nosebleeds.

Not recommended for use

Although Guelder-rose is a valuable plant, it also has properties that make it harmful. It should not be used by people with reduced gastric juice and gout. It is also not recommended for people with kidney problems, people with a tendency to blood clots and, of course, pregnant women. It is understandable how you have to be careful with any natural remedy!