Nutritional Supplements Library
White Willow Bark
What is White Willow Bark?
It is a large deciduous tree up to 20-30 m tall, native to Europe, and western and central Asia. The name "white willow" comes from the color of the leaves, which are covered with fine white hairs. The leaves are typically 5-10 cm long and 1-1.5 cm wide. The flowers are catkins, produced in early spring.White willow bark is the original aspirin. The bark of the tree is removed, and the Salicin glycosides extracted, which converts to salicylic acid in our body. Salicylic acid has powerful effects as an anti-inflammatory and pain-reliever. It also goes by the name pussy willow. The medicinal use of willow bark dates back to the Greek physician Hippocrates (400 B.C.), who advised his patients to chew on willow bark to reduce fever and inflammation.
It became really popular in the 1800's-so popular that it caught the interest of the German company Bayer. Bayer found a created a synthetic derivative called acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin) and mass-produced it. Until synthetic aspirin could be produce in large quantities, white willow bark was the treatment of choice for reducing fevers, relieving headache and arthritis pain and controlling swelling. There are no known dietary sources of white willow; Use must come through supplementation of oral capsules or creams.
What is the effective dose for white willow bark supplementation?
Standardized extracts of white willow bark are available - where total salicin intake is typically 60-120mg per day for relief of acute pain, fever or inflammation. For longer-term consumption as an adjunct to weight management and thermogenesis, smaller doses are generally tolerated much better.
What are the benefits of white willow bark supplementation?
• White willow bark is used for conditions that cause pain, inflammation, or fever.
• It relieves Pain. (Headaches, arthritis, minor injuries, Acute back pain)
• It reduces Fever.
• It Enhances weight loss. (Only in combination with other ingredients)
• It also has an antiseptic property.
People take white willow bark instead of aspirin because it does not appear to be as irritating to the stomach lining. It may be because the salicin found naturally in white willow bark is only converted to the acid form after it is absorbed by the stomach. Researchers have also suggested that white willow bark is more effective than aspirin because of other active compounds that are found in the bark but not the drug.
What are the side effects of white willow bark supplementation?
Stomach ulcers and other gastrointestinal complaints (nausea and diarrhea) are common side effects from prolonged high dose consumption of either synthetic aspirin or white willow bark extracts. Long-term use of high doses of either salicin source is not recommended, although the natural bark extract is often tolerated much better than the more powerful synthetic aspirin. But it should be used in moderate dosage.
• Do not use if you have gastritis or ulcers. For adults use only; not for children or by pregnant or lactating women unless under doctor's guidance. Those who are allergic to aspirin should not use White Willow Bark, and the herb should not be taken in combination with aspirin.