The use of willow bark dates back thousands of years, to the time of Hippocrates (400 BC) when patients were advised to chew on the bark to reduce fever and inflammation. The willow family includes a number of different species of deciduous trees. The willow bark sold in the US is typically a combination of the bark from white, purple and cracked willows.
Features & Benefits
- Researchers believe that the salicin, found in willow bark, is responsible for the pain relieving and inflammation reducing effects
- Willow bark appears to be effective for back pain
- Willow bark has been shown to relieve headaches, with less gastrointestinal side effects than other pain relievers
- Several studies have shown that willow bark is more effective at reducing pain from osteoarthritis than a placebo
Suggestions & Precautions
- White willow bark should not be taken with aspirin or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen. In combination, the chances of side effects such as stomach bleeding are increased.
- Higher than commonly recommended doses can cause stomach upset, nausea, or tinnitus
- Avoid white willow bark if there is a sensitivity to aspirin, or in the presence of an ulcer or other gastrointestinal disorder