The Chinese physicians have used white willow bark to relieve pain since 500 B.C. Although salicin was first discovered in white willow bark, chemist made the aspirin from another herb that contains the same chemical - meadowsweet.
White willow bark was widely used to treat all sorts of fever and pain relief associated with colds and flu, to reduce joint inflammation caused by arthritis, bursitis, and rheumatism. Other common uses include: relieves headaches, minor backaches, menstrual pain, toothache, gout, angina and sore muscles.
Over the ages, many of the 500 species of willow have been used in herbal healing. But white willow has become the most commonly used in the past two hundred years.
Aspirin is a more concentrated source of the active chemicals in the herb, so don’t expect the herb to be as effective. However, aspirin upsets some people’s stomach, while white willow bark rarely causes this problem. It can be found in the forms of capsules, liquid extracts and tea bags.
Those with chronic gastrointestinal conditions should not use this herb. Children under 16 with colds, flu or chickenpox that take aspirin are at risk for Reye’s Syndrome. Therefore, because of the aspirin like action in white willow bark, do not give it to children with these conditions.
As with all herbal nutrition supplements, white willow supplements should only be used in amounts typically recommended for medicinal purposes and you should always consult with a health professional first, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or taking prescription medications.
CHEMICAL & NUTRIENT CONTENT:
Isorhamnetin, phenolic glycosides, quercetin, salicin, salicylic acid, salinigrin, sodium and tannin.
White willow grows in almost any moist garden soil under full sun. It reaches 75 feet tall and has rough, grayish brown bark and long, thin leaves on very flexible branches. White willow grows in almost any moist garden soil under full sun. You can purchase saplings at almost any nursery.
You can also propagate them from first year branches several feet in length. Root in water or from a foot long hardwood cutting taken in the spring or fall and root the same way. Do not transplant willows. They grow quickly and must be pruned regularly. Harvest the white willow bark from older branches during pruning and dry.
Other herbs containing anti-inflammatory action include angelica, astragalus, black cohosh, blue cohosh, chamomile, chaparral, comfrey, dandelion, dong quai, eyebright, fennel, garlic, ginseng, gotu kola, horsetail, meadowsweet, mullein, purslane, saw palmetto, shepherd's purse and stinging nettle.
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