Mountain Rose Herbs

Willow Bark

Also known as

Salix amygadaloides, Willow, and Willow bark. Other species: Salix alba (White Willow)

Introduction

Native to North America, northern Asia, and much of Africa, the willow is a low-growing deciduous tree bearing long, green, tapering leaves and catkins in spring. Bark is stripped from young trees in the spring for use in herbal medicines. Native American healers used willow bark long before Columbus or the Vikings landed. The conversion of willow bark to aspirin began in 1828 when German chemist Felix Hoffmann isolated the active ingredient and named it salicin. In 1899, the Bayer company began manufacturing and selling a modified form of the willow bark chemical acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin. This first of the modern miracle medicines has been a mainstay in the treatment of joint pain ever since.

Constituents

Salicin, tannins.

Parts Used

Bark.

Typical Preparations

Most commonly used in tea preparations, and equally convenient as a capsule or extract. Also used to make lozenges, and salicin tablets.

Summary

White willow bark is approved by the German Commission E in supporting joint health, as well as for alleviating occasional headaches in healthy individuals. It is traditionally used as an all-purpose pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.

References

Medical Herbalism by David Hoffmann pg. 579

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004504.pub3/abstract;jsessionid=8A54420B03E2C5E7BF99334E6E7B0D14.d03t01

Precautions

Native American herbal medicine used willow bark to diminish sexual desire. Long-term, daily use of willow bark will reduce sexual desire, although it will not alter sexual performance in either men or women. Do not use willow bark if you are allergic to aspirin, and do not give willow bark to a child under sixteen years of age who has symptoms of any kind of viral infection, especially flu or chickenpox.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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