Willow (Salix alba) was worshiped by our ancestors, who used it as a cure for all sorts of pain. Acetylsalicylic acid, the main component of the common aspirin, was first extracted from willow bark . Later on, salicylic acid has been chemically synthesized, and now it is used extensively in the pharmaceutical industry in anti-inflammatory drugs.
That is why people started to buy over the counter anti-inflammatory medicine and forgot about the health benefits of willow bark. Unfortunately, not many people take into consideration the side effects of synthetic aspirin.
Willow bark contains salicin, a significant amount of tannins, flavonoids, and resins. The active components of this plant give this natural remedy antirheumatic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, sedative, antipyretic, tonic, astringent and hemostatic properties.
Willow bark tea
The willow bark infusion is easy to prepare and very efficient in treating colds, relieving pain and much more.
Willow bark should be taken from young branches, in the spring, from March to May. If, however, you do not have the possibility to take it yourself, you can buy it from herbal stores.
To prepare the tea, you need two tablespoons of dried and ground willow bark. Brew it in 250 ml water, cover and let it infuse for 30 minutes. Strain it and drink three cups a day for three weeks. You can sweeten it with a little honey.
Medical conditions that you can treat with willow bark tea
- Viral diseases
In viral diseases, such as colds and the flu, you should prepare a tea from lime blossom, rose hip, and willow bark. Take two teaspoons of willow bark and boil for 15 minutes with a cup of water. Add two tablespoons of seedless rose hip, and boil for another few minutes. Finally, add two tablespoons of lime blossom, then leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain the tea and sweeten with honey. Drink 2-3 cups per day until all the symptoms are gone.
Respiratory diseases – Tracheitis, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia
Urogenital diseases – Cystitis, fungus, kidney colic
Central nervous system diseases – Calming states of anger and anxiety
Neurological Diseases – Headache, migraine, stroke, neuro-vegetative dystonia, trigeminal neuralgia
Inflammatory diseases – Rheumatism and gout
Dental diseases – Thrush, gingivitis, fungal infections, dental abscesses
Osteoarticular disorders – Arthritis, spondylosis
Other benefits of willow bark
- Alleviates Acne
Willow bark extract has anti-inflammatory, astringent and soothing properties. Salicylic acid is a natural exfoliant which helps remove dead skin cells and clear pores. Mild acne can be treated with willow bark, proving to be more effective than benzoyl peroxide, a common ingredient in anti-acne products.
- Soothes Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps are caused by the contractions triggered by prostaglandins and the inflammation of the uterine lining. Willow bark can reduce inflammation and regulate the production of prostaglandins, soothing cramps, and PMS symptoms.
- Eases Lower Back Pain
The components in white willow bark can inhibit cyclooxygenase, an inflammatory mediator. A recent study showed that people who received willow bark for low back pain showed a significant improvement compared to those who received a placebo.
Willow bark is a natural and safer alternative for those who want to avoid the side effects of aspirin.