Medicinal Herbs used in Wildcrafted Herbal Products' Therapeutic Creams and Compounds

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Medicinal Herb: White Willow Bark (Salix spp.)

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Content provided on this page is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options. Information on this page should not be considered as a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional. The claims made about specific products throughout this article are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.


The white willow tree grows primarily in central and southern Europe, although it is also found in North America. A large tree with a rough greyish bark, the twigs being brittle at the base; the leaves are pubescent on both surfaces and finely serrulate; it hybridizes with other species of Salix, it flowers in April and May and the bark is easily separable throughout the summer; flowers and leaves appear coincidently from March to June.


White Willow Bark

Biological Name:
Salix spp.


Other Names:
Willow, White Willow, European Willow

Parts Used:

Active Compounds:
Phenolic glycosides; salicin, picein and triandrin, with esters of salicylic acid and salicyl alcohol, acetylated salicin, salicortin and salireposide
Miscellaneous; tannins, catechin, p-coumaric acid and flavonoids.

White willow’s Latin name is the source of the name for acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) as well as the parent compound from which aspirin was eventually created. Willow bark was used traditionally for fever, headache, pain, and rheumatic complaints.

Traditional Applications in Herbal Medicine:
Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, tonic.
Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, tonic, antiperiodic and astringent. It has been used in dyspepsia connected with debility of the digestive organs. In convalescence from acute diseases, in worms, in chronic diarrhoea and dysentery, its tonic and astringent combination renders it very useful.

Useful for:
    • bursitis
    • fever
    • headache (tension)
    • osteoarthritis
    • rheumatoid arthritis

The glycoside salicin, from which the body can split off salicylic acid, is the basis of the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects of willow. The analgesic actions of willow are typically slow-acting but last longer than standard aspirin products. The bark is also high in tannins, suggesting that it may be of some use in gastrointestinal conditions. However, excessive use may also cause nausea and diarrhea.

A white willow tea can be prepared from 1-2 grams of bark boiled in 200 ml of water for ten minutes. Five or more cups of this tea can be drunk per day.

Tincture is also used, commonly in the amount of 1-2 ml three times per day.

Willow extracts standardized for salicin content are also available. The daily intake of salicin is typically 60-120 mg per day.


Long-term use of willow is not advisable, as it may cause some of the same problems that aspirin does—primarily stomach ulcers. However, willow is much safer than aspirin.

No other information available. Some herbs are known to react with your medication. Please consult your physician before starting on any herb.

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