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  • Jovita Turan

Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus L.) and its valuable properties

By Jovita Turan, December 29, 2022

Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus L.) a plant that belongs to Adoxaceae family is found naturally growing in Europe, North Africa, North America, and North Asia. The plant is known as a valuable medicinal, decorative, and food plant that is distributed naturally by birds.

Other names:

European guelder, European cranberry bush, water elder, rose elder, Rose Ebru, cherry-wood, crampbark, snowball tree/bush, and gilaburu (in Turkey).

Viburnum opulus L. can grow up to 4-5m in height, it is fast growing shrub or small tree. The plant has opposite, three-lobed leaves that are with a rounded base and coarsely serrated margins. The leaves develop together with flowers and later from green they turn discolored into scarlet-purple. The fruits of the plant are bright red, globose, and have an acidic and/or bitter taste.

Iliustration of Viburnum opulus L.

The plant mostly contains phenolic compounds, vitamin C, carotenoids, iridoids, and essential oils.

Viburnum opulus L. showed antimicrobial, antidiabetic, anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties in vitro studies. While animal studies had shown anti-inflammatory, vasorelaxant and beneficial effects on the urinary system.

The plant’s berries are being used to treat high blood pressure, heart diseases, respiratory system disorders, kidney and bladder, stomach pains, and others, while mixed with honey or consumed alone.

The plant is used to produce candies, jams, marmalades, cordials, liqueurs, herbal teas, yogurt, mead, beer, and vinegar. It is used in pies and cakes as well. In Turkey, a non-alcoholic fermented beverage is being produced from Viburnum opulus fruits and it is called ‘gilaburu juice’.


Kajszczak, D., Zakłos-Szyda, M., & Podsędek, A. (2020). Viburnum opulus L.—A review of phytochemistry and biological effects. Nutrients, 12(11), 3398.

Ozrenk, K., Ilhan, G., Sagbas, H. I., Karatas, N., Ercisli, S., & Colak, A. M. (2020). Characterization of European cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus L.) genetic resources in Turkey. Scientia Horticulturae, 273, 109611.

Sedat Velioglu, Y., Ekici, L., & Poyrazoglu, E. S. (2006). Phenolic composition of European cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus L.) berries and astringency removal of its commercial juice. International journal of food science & technology, 41(9), 1011-1015.

Main picture: by H. Zell, Viburnum opulus, Adoxaceae, Guelder Rose, Water Elder, European Cranberrybush, Cramp Bark, Snowball Tree, fruits. Karlsruhe, Germany.

Iliustration source: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé ''Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz'' 1885 Gera, Germany


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