a substance used to relieve pain by reducing the sensitivity of the brain and nervous system
a substance which contracts the tissues of the body
a substance that reduces fever
easing signs and symptoms of inflammation
The purpose of today's post is to shed some light on Salix alba, White Willow. The information that was passed down to me, and the research collected, leads me to believe that willow may be daily medicine. At the very least, this tincture should be a household staple. The pain relieving benefits of willow are well known. In fact, willow is the oldest recorded pain reliever in human history. Ancient civilizations in North America, Asia and Europe used Willow to treat pain, swelling, and fevers. Thanks to modern medicine and more specifically, chemistry, we know that willow works as medicine because it contains Salicin. Salicin acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body. And an extended thanks to European chemists, who experimented with Salicin, eventually creating acetylsalicylic acid....aka ASPIRIN!
When searching for a natural remedy to help ease symptoms/ailments such as:
- lower back pain
- joint inflammation
- hay fever
- menstrual cramps
- muscle aches
...consider using a willow tincture, or make a decoction of White Willow Bark. (See dosage below)
Precautions: Consult your doctor or a clinical herbalist about drug interactions. Although willow is considered a milder, perhaps safer alternative to aspirin, too much salicin in any form can cause upset stomach. If in doubt, start by dosing on the low end. When purchasing a willow tincture from an Apothecary or at a local grocery, you may have the benefit of knowing the EXACT amount of salicin in the product. When making tinctures and infusions at home, there are variables. Just respect the plant and your body and take willow responsibly.
*Commission E recommended dosage is 60 to 120mg total salicin
For the skin...
I am also intrigued by it's potentiality as a cosmetic. It makes sense for willow to be considered medicine for the skin. First and foremost because It is anti-inflammatory. And due to the high tannin content, willow is an antiseptic and an astringent. Knowing this, perhaps a willow extract is useful for acne, or to tighten and cleanse the skin. I am thinking a facial toner? A skin wash? This would be a great herb to add to a bath as well.
White Willow Recipes
Pain Relieving Tea
1 tsp of White Willow Bark
1 tsp of St. John's Wort
1 Tbsp of Raspberry Leaves
2 cups of water
- Place all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Take of heat, cover and let sit for 20-30 minutes.
- For aches and cramps drink 1 cup 2x a day.
Homemade White Willow Tincture
1 mason jar
1 measuring cup of Shredded White Willow Bark
3 cups (24 fl. ounces) 100 proof vodka
- Place herb at the bottom of a mason jar.
- Pour vodka over the herb.
- Seal the jar and shake every day for 3-4 weeks.
- Strain out all liquid into another jar.
- Label and keep in a cool and dry place.
- Dosage: using an eyedropper, place 30-40 drops in 1 ounce of liquid. Take 2 times a day.
White Willow Facial Toner
While a simple decoction of White Willow Bark would be great to cleanse the skin or tone and tighten pours, it will not keep. You could use a tincture, dilute it with water and apply to the skin, but some folks avoid alcohol on the skin. How about infusing White Willow in Apple Cider Vinegar? ACV has so many benefits in itself. Add the toning, astringent qualities of willow and you have an alcohol free skin cleanser. This recipe is very basic. Feel free to add other skin rejuvenating herbs, perhaps some honey, or essential oils...... and dilute with water if its too strong.
1 mason jar
1 cup of White Willow bark
Apple Cider Vinegar
- Place willow bark in a mason jar.
- Fill the jar with Apple Cider Vinegar.
- After 2-4 weeks strain.
- Dilute with water if necessary.
- Using a cotton swap or cloth, apply to face and neck to soothe, tighten, and cleanse the skin.