The Essential Herbal

Putting together an all natural and organic first aid kit is easier than you might think. We have discussed 10 essential herbs to have in the first aid kit, and today is White Willow's turn at the head of the class.

White Willow

(Salix alba)

White Willow is native to Europe. It is also found in North Africa and Asia and of course the United States. The bark is stripped from branches in spring from trees that are 2-5 years old.
There has not been much research done on White Willow, the salicylic acid, one of the key constituents was isolated in 1838. It is the forerunner of today's aspirin, the chemical derivative, discovered in 1899.
White Willow has many of the same analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions that aspirin has.
White Willow is used to reduce fevers, acts as an anti-rheumatic, and also can be used as an astringent. Native Americans used White Willow for decades for pain and fever. White Willow does not have the side effect that aspirin does, such as stomach troubles.
With a combination of other herbs, White Willow can be used to relieve inflammation and swelling. It greatly improves mobility in painful and creaky joints. It is very useful during menopause to help with reducing hot flashes, and night sweats.
You can make a decoction of White Willow, Crampbark, and other analgesic herbs and use as a muscle rub. You can also drink the decoction 1-2 x a day for pain relief.
One should not take White Willow Bark if allergic to aspirin. Do not take if pregnant or nursing. Not to be used on children under 12.

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