Crampbark Fomentations

Today we have a special guest post about Crampbark fomentations by friend and herbalist Rosalee de la Forêt.


Cramp bark can be a reliable and safe alternative to over-the-counter pain medication. It specifically relieves pain due to muscle tension.

Herbalists commonly use cramp bark for the following issues: menstrual cramps, muscle cramps, early labor, miscarriage, pain, difficulty urinating, bowel cramps (IBS), diarrhea, child enuresis (bedwetting), spasmodic coughing, asthma, arthritis, muscle strain, seizures, high blood pressure, and lockjaw (interesting historic use).

Photo by Rosalee de la Forêt

Photo by Rosalee de la Forêt

I myself often reach for cramp bark when I’ve got back pain. One of my favorite ways to use it is as a fomentation.

A fomentation is basically a strained herbal decoction that is then applied to the area using a cloth.

This fomentation works well for major pain but can help with more common muscle spasms as well. For example, it can be used when you sleep wrong and have a “crick” in your neck (usually a muscle spasm). Or it can be used over the abdomen for menstrual cramps.

Besides cramp bark I also add ginger and cayenne to this mix. Both of these herbs have a spicy and pungent taste. They stimulate circulation (blood moving) and reduce inflammation. This combination has helped me through many painful situations!

Photo by Rosalee de la Forêt

Photo by Rosalee de la Forêt

The following recipe is part of the upcoming Taste of Herbs Course.

To make this recipe you’ll need:

1/4 cup dried ginger

1/4 cup cramp bark

1 tablespoon of cayenne powder

Simmer the herbs in water for at least twenty minutes.

Strain. Let cool until you can touch it comfortably but it is still warm.

Soak a washcloth in the mixture.

Wring out the cloth so that it is no longer dripping.

Cover the affected area with the cloth.

Photo by Rosalee de la Forêt

Photo by Rosalee de la Forêt

Place a hot water bottle over the cloth.

Cover with a towel. Let this sit for at least 20 minutes.

This recipe is an excerpt from the upcoming course, Taste of Herbs. Taste is an amazing way to learn HOW herbs work.

Rosalee created the Taste of Herbs Flavor Wheel to help people learn herbalism using their sense of Taste.

Get the free Taste of Herbs Flavor Wheel here.


Rosalee de la Forêt is the creator of Taste of Herbs, a new course by LearningHerbs and Mountain Rose Herbs. Rosalee is a clinical herbalist, herbal educator and founder of Herbal Remedies Advice.


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