It has hybridized with ''Viburnum lentago'' in cultivation, to give the garden hybrid ''Viburnum × jackii''.
The wood is brown tinged with red; heavy, hard, close-grained with a density of 0.8332.
Medicinal usesFor centuries, black haw has been used for medical purposes, mainly for gynecological conditions. The bark is the part of the plant used in treatments.
The active components include scopoletin, aesculetin, salicin, 1-methyl-2,3 clibutyl hemimellitate, and viburnin. Tannin is another chemical component of black haw.
Native Americans used a decoction of black haw to treat gynecological conditions, including menstrual cramps, aiding recovery after childbirth, and in treating the effects of menopause. As a folk remedy, black haw has been used to treat menstrual pain, and morning sickness. Due to its antispasmodic properties, the plant may also be of use in treating cramps of the digestive tract or the bile ducts.
Black haw's primary use was to prevent miscarriages. American slaveholders also used the plant to prevent abortions. Slaves were a valuable asset, and their owner also owned their offspring, so ensuring that female slaves gave birth was of paramount importance. In defiance, some slave women would attempt to use cotton seeds to cause a miscarriage. The slaveowners would therefore force pregnant slaves to drink an infusion of black haw to prevent that.
The primary use of black haw today is to prevent menstrual cramps. The salicin in black haw may also be of use in pain relief.
Safety issuesLike many other plants, including many food plants and those used as culinary herbs, black haw contains salicin, a chemical relative of aspirin. Those who are allergic to that substance should not use black haw. In addition, due to the connection between aspirin and Reye's syndrome, young people or people afflicted with a viral disease should not use black haw.
The chemicals in black haw do relax the uterus and therefore probably prevent miscarriage; however, the salicin may be teratogenic. Consequently, pregnant women should not use black haw in the first two trimesters. Furthermore, anyone using herbs for medical reasons should only use them under the supervision of a qualified medical professional.
Black haw is not on the "generally recognized as safe list" of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Adapted from the Wikipedia article Viburnum prunifolium, under the G. N. U. Free Documentation License. Please also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki