Willow bark, from the white willow tree was used by the ancient Greeks to reduce fever and inflammation. Throughout the rest of Europe and in China, it has been prescribed for centuries as a remedy for pain (particularly lower back pain and osteoarthritis), headache and inflammatory conditions such as bursitis and tendinitis. The bark is still widely used for pain relief today.
The bark of the tree.
White willow bark contains salicin, which is a chemical similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). Other studies show that several other components of willow bark, such as polyphenols and flavonoids, have anti-oxidant, fever-reducing, antiseptic and immune-boosting properties.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, some studies show that willow is as effective as aspirin for reducing pain and inflammation, and at a much lower dose. Although it is slower in its action than aspirin, its effects appear to last longer. Willow is useful in the treatment of:
- Lower back pain.
- May help to relieve menstrual cramps, fever, flu, tendonitis and bursitis.
Flora Force Products containing Willow
Domestic & culinary uses
Willow bark is not used in the kitchen.
Salix alba is a hardy perennial deciduous tree that grows to an ultimate height of 20-plus metres. It will grow in most types of soil.
- By Willow (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
- By Ben Mills (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons