This section is from the book "A Text Book Of Materia Medica, Being An Account Of The More Important Crude Drugs Of Vegetable And Animal Origin", by Henry G. Greenish. Also available from Amazon: A Text Book of Materia Medica : Being an Account of the More Important Crude Drugs of Vegetable and Animal Origin.
The drug occurs in short, quilled, channelled or curved pieces from 1 to 4 mm. (usually about 2 or 3 mm.) in thickness, and of a dull brown or reddish brown colour. In the youngest pieces the outer surface is slightly longitudinally wrinkled, older pieces exhibit small, rounded, or oval lenticels, while in old bark the surface is irregularly wrinkled, fissured, and scaly. Inner surface longitudinally striated, rough and reddish brown. Fracture short and granular, the fractured surface exhibiting a dark brown cork and a whitish or reddish cortex and bast, in which numerous pale yellowish groups of sclerenchymatous cells are distinguishable. The odour is slight, the taste bitter and astringent. Portions of the smaller roots often occur in the drug.
The student should observe
(a) The dull outer surface,
(b) The granular fracture,
(c) The bitter taste; and should compare the bark with
(i) Wild Cherry bark, which has a glossy outer surface, (ii) Pale Cinchona Bark, which has a more fibrous fracture and (usually) rougher surface.
Black haw bark contains viburnin (a water-soluble bitter glucoside), tannin, and a little resin.
The drug has been used for dysmenorrhoea and asthma it is supposed to prevent threatened abortion and to check haemorrhage.