Did you know that before aspirin existed, people chewed on white willow bark when they had fever and some other ailments? It is believed that Hippocrates was the first person who wrote on the medicinal properties and benefits of the willow bark. It was later produced as a tincture. A pharmacist and a chemist then produced a synthetic version of the active ingredient of the bark. It was after this when another chemist created another version and Aspirin was born.
The main medicinal property of willow bark comes from a substance called salicin which produces salicylic acid. Research showed that salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory, astringent and antiseptic properties. This is one of the reasons why this acid is also used as an ingredient in skin care products to treat acne, wart and psoriasis.
But unlike aspirin, willow bark contains more than just salicylic acid. Willow bark has other medicinal properties and provides fewer side effects. Taking willow bark extract won't cause irritation to the stomach lining. But the pain reducing effect is slower because of the lower content of salicylic acid compared to taking aspirin.
Quite a number of studies on the uses of willow bark were made on humans. The results showed that the white willow herb was effective in treating osteoarthritis, low back pain and rheumatoid arthritis. If you have joint, muscle or cartilage problems, you may want to consider taking white willow bark extract which is sold in capsules and liquid extracts. You can also buy cut pieces of the dried willow bark and make your own herbal tea.
White willow and aspirins are both pain reducers. They relieve fever, headaches and muscle and joint aches. It is a great substitute for aspirin. But willow bark has more uses. It is a natural remedy to treat worms, wounds, dysentery, burns, menstrual cramps, bursitis and sores.
If you are allergic to aspirin, then you will be allergic to white willow too. Before you decide to take willow bark extract, check with your doctor. Certain medications may interact with white willow.