The medicinal power of Gelderland rose

You can cook the fruits of Gelderland rose. Then they are edible; They are traditionally processed into fruit mousse in Balkan countries. Guelder rose is native to Europe except the warm south. An American variety with the same healing effect occurs in the less warm parts of North America. Indians discovered several medicinal uses of the plant that were long unknown in Europe. In some respects, knowledge and science about nature was better developed among the Indians than among Europeans. When the wood was mainly used as firewood in Europe, the Indians were already making medicine from it for menstrual problems. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing Gelderland rose / Source: Johann Georg Sturm (Painter: Jacob Sturm), Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)


  • Naming Gelderland rose
  • History of the Gelderland rose
  • Active ingredients Gelderland rose
  • Gelderland rose for cramps
  • Gelderland rose for uterine problems
  • Gelderland rose, good for the heart
  • Other medicinal effects of Gelderland rose
  • Consult a herbal therapist


Naming Gelderland rose

In medicine, biology and botany, official Latin scientific names are always used for a plant. That is because they want to avoid mistakes. The Latin name of Guelder rose is Viburnum Opulus . Viburnum is a derivative of ‘vincia’ which means ‘to bind’. In the past, the flexible branches of the Gelderland rose were used as binding material. ‘Opulus’ is a Spanish maple species that has leaves that are very similar to those of the Gelderland rose. This plant was first grown in Gelderland; hence the name Gelderland rose. Dutch has a few nicknames for this plant: Gelderland rose, ball rose and water elder.

History of the Gelderland rose

Not much mention has been made of the Guelder rose as a medicinal plant in European history. Long, flexible branches were used to tie things together. The bush served as firewood. Pipe stems were also made from the wood. The Indians in North America discovered that a plant closely related to the Gelderland rose has all kinds of medicinal qualities for menstrual pain, uterine problems, ovarian problems and irregular menstruation.

Active ingredients Gelderland rose

Only the bark of the Guelder rose is used for its medicinal purposes. Preferably, only a small amount of bark is scraped away at a time so that the plant does not die and can produce new bark. The plant mainly contains valerenic acid and baldric acid, the hydroxycoumarins scopoletin and aesculetin, the tannins catechin and epicatechin, the organic acids oxalic, citric, malic, capric and acetic acid, essential oil, alpha and beta amyrin, the minerals magnesium , calcium, potassium, iron, chromium, cobalt, selenium, aluminum, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. To a lesser extent, the Guelder rose contains: starch, pectin, resins and traces of arbutin and methyl arbutin.

Gelderland rose for cramps

Gelderland rose has an antispasmodic effect on the smooth muscles of the intestines and skeletal muscles, mainly through valerenic acid, aesculetin, scopoletin and magnesium. Due to this antispasmodic effect, Gelderland rose is recommended by herbalists

Gelderland rose / Source: Wouter Hagens, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

used for the following indications:

  • Nervous stomach cramps, nervous constipation, irritable bowel syndrome,
  • Nervous intestinal cramps, intestinal colic,
  • Swallowing disorders due to esophageal spasms.
  • Bile duct cramps,
  • Skeletal muscle cramps,
  • Cramps due to tension or arthritis.


Gelderland rose for uterine problems

In addition to antispasmodic, the Gelderland rose has a calming effect on the organs of the small pelvis and the uterus. It is a menstrual stimulant. It reduces the contraction and tone of uterine muscles. However, this effect is not as strong as that of American snowball. These effects may force herbal therapists to prescribe it for the following indications:

Gelderland rose after leaf loss / Source: H. Zell, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

  • Painful menstruation,
  • Uterine cramps,
  • Pain in the ovaries,
  • Absence of menstruation,
  • Threatened abortion,
  • Hypertonicity of the uterus(Prescription!),
  • Bladder spasms, urinary tract spasms,
  • Feeling of heaviness and pain in the pelvis during menopause,
  • Pregnancy vomiting.


Gelderland rose, good for the heart

Gelderland rose is a blood pressure lowering natural medicine because it has a calming and blood vessel dilating effect. Viburin is a substance that supports the heart; that makes Gelderland rose a heart tonic. These medicinal properties are used by herbalists to prescribe it for the following indications:

Berries of Gelderland rose / Source: H. Zell, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure due to stress factors,
  • Palpitations, nervousness, stress,
  • Migraine due to vascular spasm, vascular spasm, Raynaud’s disease,
  • Adjuvant for pre-eclampsia or pre-eclampsia,
  • Poor blood circulation due to muscle tension.


Other medicinal effects of Gelderland rose

  • Because it relaxes the airways and soothes coughs, it is a remedy for asthma.
  • It is a bioidentical hormone in the form of progesterone and is therefore given to women with PMS or PreMenstrual Syndrome with: vaginal dryness, frequent urination, breast tenderness.
  • The only effect for external use is a decoction that prevents muscle cramps.


Consult a herbal therapist

Anyone who wants to use Gelderland rose as a medicinal remedy is recommended to consult a herbal therapist. Gelderland rose extracts and medicines in the form of mother tincture, powder, dried herb, liquid extract and decoction should only be used on the prescription of authorized persons. A herbal therapist can tell you more about this, as well as about possible side effects and interactions with other medicines or herbs. There are also beneficial combinations with herbs. Some herbs can enhance each other’s effects; that’s called synergy. All medicinal effects of this medicinal herb mentioned in this article are based on scientific research and come from Geert Verhelst’s Large Handbook of Medicinal Plants, a standard work in the field of healing plants. The book is used in phytotherapy.

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