Common Name: White willow
Latin Name: Salix alba
White willow bark is known for relieving pain. It has also been used for fevers, rheumatism, inflammation and more.
White Willow’s main substance is salicin. White willow bark is what aspirin was made of in the early days of medicine. The great thing about taking White Willow is that it will not thin the blood or irritate the stomach like aspirin.
White willow bark is not considered safe for use by pregnant women.
White willow bark contains salicin like aspirin, and is often used as a treatment to ease pain and inflammation. Used since Hippocrates' time, it relieves headaches, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, lower back pain, and menstrual discomfort, as well as reducing fevers and swelling.
It can be taken as a tea, a tincture, or a capsule:
Tea: Add 2 tablespoons of chipped or powdered bark to 8 oz of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes before drinking. The tea is usually strong and bitter, so lemon, honey, agave or any other sweetener can be added. Two or three cups of tea can be consumed a day.
Tincture: Making white willow bark into a tincture usually takes about 2 weeks, so it is not the first choice for immediate relief. Add 1 part chipped bark to 5 parts 30-percent gain alcohol (vinegar can be substituted). Store the mixture in an airtight container for two weeks, then strain the bark out through a cheesecloth. Take in doses of 4 to 6mL straight or added to water, juice or tea, three times a day.
Capsules: White willow bark can be either purchased in capsule form, or the powdered bark can be taken in vegetarian or gel capsules.
Though white willow bark is considered effective and safe, especially in comparison to aspirin, it carries some health risks to women who are pregnant or nursing, small children under 2, and people taking certain medications for blood disorders and other things.