Nature’s Aspirin: White Willow Bark Benefits

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What is White Willow Bark?
White willow (Salix Alba) is native to Europe, Asia and North America. The bark of white willow trees has been used for its medicinal properties for thousand of years.

White Willow Bark Properties
– antipyretic
– analgesic
– anti inflammatory

Traditional Uses
– reduce fever
– reduce inflammation
– relieve pain (back pain, headache, toothache, sore throat, rheumatic pain, joint pain, gout)

Current Uses
Studies indicate that white willow bark may be helpful for these conditions:
Low back pain
– Osteoarthritis

How White Willow Bark Works
White willow bark contains the active compound, salicin. When salicin is ingested, it is converted into salicylic acid by the liver. Salicylic acid inhibits the enzymatic action of cycloogygenase and thereby, reduces protaglandins, the hormones that cause pain, inflammation and fever.

It is suggested that salicin, together with other compounds such as flavonoids, are responsible for white willow bark’s efficacy as an anti inflammatory, pain reliever and fever reducer.

In fact, it was the early uses of white willow bark that led to the discovery of aspirin. Acetylsalicylic acid in aspirin is synthesized from salicin in white willow bark.

Although the effects of white willow bark are slower than aspirin, they last longer. It does not appear to irritate the stomach lining to the same extent as aspirin.

White Willow Bark Side Effects
At high doses, side effects include tinnitus, stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, rash and kidney inflammation.

Who Should Not Take White Willow Bark
– People who are sensitive or allergic to aspirin
– People with asthma, gout, gastritis, diabetes, bleeding disorders, kidney disease
– Pregnant/nursing women and children

White willow bark should not be used with blood thinning medications and other anti inflammatory drugs. Consult with your doctor before taking white willow bark if you are on medications or supplements.

Where to Buy White Willow Bark 
Capsules, tablets and liquid extract –> Available here

Note: White willow bark tea can be made by steeping dried herb. It is very bitter, so may not be palatable to many people.

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