Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Herbs for Thursday White Willow Bark

Of course when I have a long day, and am ending the day with aches and pains and tired-I can't sleep-I usually don't get to bed til around 11 to midnight-just cause I need to be totally exhausted so I will fall right to sleep.-well that's tonight, so thought I would a share an herb blog, instead of getting into another physical type project.
I have stopped using asprin on occasion, and tylenol, can't use any of the other stuff like advil and ibuprofen, so I have started back to taking the herb white willow bark when I need something like an asprin to relieve a little pain and swelling of joints etc.
Can't remember if I have posted about this herb before, but I wanted to share this with you, cause this is one that really works for me. Unlike the chemical form of asprin, white willow bark will not cause bleeding and other problems that asprin can. and it works for me, but then I am not someone that can take anything strong-tylenol was usually my go to for this, but now I am having trouble with it too-cause sme to get too "high" or too much of a "drugged" feeling-not good Of course always ask your own health care profesional if you decide you might want to try this.
I brought this up with my doctor today, he is very knowledgeable on alot of the more common herbs-and he knew right away that it was the herb that asprin was chemically copied from. He knows me-so he just nodded in approval-lol

White Willow Bark

Where does White Willow Bark come from?

White willow bark comes from the white willow tree, which can grow up to 23 meters tall. This tree is native to Europe and Asia and the name "white willow" comes from the leaves, which are covered with fine white hairs.

Chinese herbalists used this natural pain killer for centuries and in the 18th century Western medicine recognized white willow as a pain reliever and fever reducer. European settlers brought the white willow tree to North America, where they discovered that the local people were already using some of the native willow species to alleviate pain and fight fevers.

German and French scientists isolated the plant"s active ingredient - salicin - in 1828. A decade later, European chemists manufactured salicylic acid, a chemical related to aspirin, from salicin. Aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid, was later created from another herb containing salicin. At the end of the 19th century, the Bayer company had started to commercially produce aspirin.

Concentrations of salicin are highest in the bark of the white willow and Salix alba is the most popular species used for medicinal purposes.

The salicin that comes from white willow bark is metabolized in your body to form salicylic acid, which reduces inflammation, pain and fever. Even though this herb is slower acting than aspiring, the beneficial effects of white willow bark last longer and has fewer side effects than aspirin. The most important fact is that white willow bark does not cause stomach bleeding like commercially available aspirin.

White willow bark is most effective at relieving headaches and severe muscle pain. The symptoms that are commonly associated with flu (fever, muscle aches, headache) are also greatly relieved when you use white willow bark.

White willow bark is also very effective in alleviating toothache.

Research conducted proved that people who suffer from osteoarthritis benefit from using low doses of white willow bark daily to relieve chronic pain associated with this debilitating condition. White willow bark reduces the swelling and inflammation associated with rheumatic conditions and increases joint mobility.

Women will also benefit by taking white willow bark as it eases the pain of menstrual cramps. Hormone-like chemicals called prostaglandins cause the pain associated with the menstrual cycle and the salicin in white willow bark helps to regulate these hormones.


Please consult your medical practitioner prior to using any herbal medications should you be under their care.

High doses of white willow bark can cause stomach upsets, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and nausea. If any of these side effects occur, lower the dosage or stop taking the herb.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take willow bark.

White willow bark has an anti-coagulant effect and people using blood-thinning medication such as Warfarin should not take this herbal remedy.

People who are using beta-blockers for high blood pressure should not take white willow bark as it may make the drugs less effective. (note: this was the first I had read about this concern)

Do not use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen with white willow bark as it might increase the risk of stomach bleeding.

Do not give white willow bark to children under the age of 16 as it can cause a potentially fatal brain and liver condition known as Reye"s syndrome.

How do I use White willow bark?

Make sure that you purchase white willow bark extract standardized to contain 15% salicin. Do not purchase white willow bark tea, as you would need to consume several liters to get an effective dose.

To reduce pain and inflammation and lower a fever take one or two pills three times a day, or as needed. Follow the instructions given by your health care practitioner. (note: I purchase in capsule form, extracts can be good too, I agree making a tea would not get a strong enough dose)

White willow bark is safe to use over the long term. It has a very bitter taste, so the most convenient way to take it is in pill form.

article from
A little more from Mountain Rose Herbs here


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