The Medicinal World of Plants: White Willow Bark

White willow bark has been consumed medicinally for centuries. It wasn’t until 1829 that scientists found its active ingredient, salicin, which has similar health effects to aspirin. Hence, white willow bark is known as the original aspirin. The willow bark, however, is milder on the stomach lining.

The willow bark also contains:

Tannins
Glycosides and flavonoids
Catechins

The health benefits of white willow bark are really quite remarkable. The herb can help to treat:

  • Fever and inflammation
  • Migraine headaches
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Post surgical pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Warts treatment
  • Toothaches
  • Bursitis
  • Pin worms
  • Carpel tunnel
  • Sprained ankle
  • HPV
  • Sciatica pain
  • Sinus headaches
  • Psoriasis
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Heart attack prevention
  • Helps to settle the stomach
  • Reduces acne

Plants also have a spiritual benefit as well, and can help us gain a better perspective of ourselves.

White Willow’s Spiritual Powers include:

  • Love
  • Love Divination
  • Protection
  • Healing

All parts of the willow help to guard against any negative energy, which is what I look for in any herb. I’ve come to realize how important spiritual protection is, and over the year I’ve worked with plants, I’ve learned that trees are usually very useful for protection. You can carry the bark of the white willow with you, or you can burn it.

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The leaves, bark and wood of the willow are utilized in healing ceremonies due to its potential in healing physical ailments, but I find that most of our physical ailments are also linked to emotions we haven’t fully dealt with. For instance, I learned in ceremony that my migraines are a byproduct of unhealthy control issues.

People carry around or use mixtures of the White Willow Bark to attract love. Personally, I don’t like love spells, and my main purpose for sitting with this tree for a week was not to necessarily attract love. That being said, however, the tree did teach me a lot about love, and especially helped to shine light on specific things I need to heal from my past relationships.

All parts of the willow help to guard against any negative energy. The leaves, bark and wood of the willow are utilized in healing ceremonies due to its potential in healing physical ailments.

Side Effects of White Willow Bark

In my own experience with this plant, I would strongly suggest only ingesting when you have inflammation and pain. I did notice throughout the week that my urine was a little darker than normal. I only drank one cup a day with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the bark, but large doses of salicin can be hard on your kidneys, and can even lead to renal papillary necrosis. It is believed that famous composer, Ludwig von Beethoven, actually died from ingesting a large amount of salicin. So be careful and take in moderation.

Studies show that high doses (up to 10gm daily) routinely lead to stomach irritation and vomiting.

In another study, patients with low back pain had significant relief from the pain but patients with osteoarthritis did not experience benefits.

It seems that this plant is better for people who experience milder pain. As I mentioned above, it can be dangerous to ingest for long periods of time, and therefore, if you do have arthritis, it would be best to seek a better solution for pain management.

My personal experience

References:

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