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Drugs and diseases reference index

Herbs & Supplements «White Willow Bark Information and Facts»

A variety of different types of willow trees can be found in many countries in regions with temperate or cool climates. Willow trees grow mostly along rivers, swamps, and wet lands. These trees have long, flexible, hanging branches called whips or rods that have been used for centuries to make decorative baskets. Willow trees have also been used for furniture and ornamental fences.

The glycoside salicin found in willow bark is used by the body to produce salicylic acid and is thought to be responsible for the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects of willow bark supplements. While the analgesic actions of willow are usually slow to develop, they may last longer than the effects produced by taking over-the-counter aspi.

Recommended Dosage

Willow supplements are usually standardized for salicin content, its primary medicinal agent. A suggested dosage for salicin is 6- to 120 mg per day. However, newer studies suggest a higher salicin intake of 240 mg per day may be more effective for treating pain. Willow tea can be prepared by adding 1/4-1/2 teaspoon (1-2 grams) of bark to about 7 ounces (200 ml) of water and then boiling for ten minutes. This tea can be taken up to five times per day.

Precautions and Side Effects

As with many aspirin products, some individuals may experience stomach upset from taking willow bark supplements. Individuals with gastrointestinal problems should avoid willow bark supplements.