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10 White Willow Bark Remedies that Work Better than Aspirin
Many people find that when they have a headache or body ache, they immediately reach for the bottle of aspirin in their medicine cabinet. This popular over the counter drug has been one of the most popular pharmaceuticals for more than 100 years, but before this became a commercial drug, its natural equivalent was used for thousands of years. White willow bark is called “nature’s aspirin.”
You can actually chew bits of white willow bark for pain relief; however, there are more modern ways to consume this healing agent, such as tinctures, powders, and teas. A typical dose of white willow bark is 240mgs each day, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
However, like commercially made aspirin, overconsumption of white willow bark can bring its own set of side effects and problems. Overconsumption can lead to painful gastric ulcers. The presence of gastric ulcers has been associated with a higher risk of digestive cancers. Overconsumption of white willow bark can also cause Reye’s syndrome in children, which causes swelling of the brain, liver damage, and even death.
Consumed in moderation, white willow bark is an excellent alternative to commercially produced aspirin and can eliminate the side effects of those aspirin tablets.
If you have used white willow bark for its analgesic compounds, you might be surprised to know that this bark can be used for a multitude of health complaints and is safer to use than regular aspirin. Studies show that white willow bark has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, antipyretic, and immune boosting compounds,.
Because it can be such a powerful healing compound, many countries in the European Union have approved the sale of white willow bark for treating rheumatic symptoms and other types of pain conditions.
Let’s take a look at the 10 natural remedies where white willow bark excels!
1. Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
A study that was performed in Germany showed that when subjects who suffer from osteoarthritis took white willow bark extract for two weeks (240mg daily) they had as much as 14 percent reduced levels of pain. This study, and others, shows that white willow bark is an effective remedy in fighting the pain of osteoarthritis and rheumatic disorders.
2. Stops Acne
You can actually find white willow bark extract as an active ingredient in many cosmetic and personal care products due to its salicylic acid, a natural exfoliator used in many over the counter acne treatments, as it can help the skin shed dead cells and clears clogged pores. This bark also has phenolic acids such as tannins, flavonoids, salicortin, salicin, and minerals, which help the skin to rejuvenate itself.
The journal Clinical Therapeutics found that those with mild to moderate acne can be helped with a nonprescription form of salicylic acid, the active ingredient in white willow bark. Salicylic acid has been shown in studies to be superior to benzoyl peroxide when it comes to reducing acne. The salicin in white willow bark turns to salicylic acid when processed by the body.
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3. Lowers Heart Attack Risk
Studies have shown that taking small amounts of aspirin daily can reduce the risk of blood clots and therefore play a key role in reducing the risk of developing heart attacks and stroke. You can lower your risk of these silent killers by simply drinking one cup of white willow bark tea just once or twice each day. The aspirin-like ability of white willow bark can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, something that is very important for everyone, but especially for those who are already at a higher risk.
4. Reduces Headaches
White willow bark can help to reduce the tensions from headache pain. This bark contains the chemical salicin, which is very similar in the acetylsalicylic acid in commercial aspirin. Although the effects of white willow bark might take longer to take effect, but once in effect, the results will last longer than most aspirins.
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5. Reduces Fevers
White willow bark has been used for centuries to help stop the fever that generally comes with cold and flu viruses. You can consume one capsule of white willow bark twice each day to help lower mild fevers or drinking one cup of tea two to three times each day can help lower fevers and relieve mild body aches that usually accompany fever.
6. Relief from Back Ache
One study which looked into the analgesic and anti-inflammatory compounds of white willow bark discovered that when subjects who were suffering from back pain consumed between 225 to 240mg of white willow bark daily, the subjects were pain free within 3 weeks. White willow bark inhibits cyclooxygenase, which is responsible for the production of prostaglandins, which is an inflammatory compound. This is what makes white willow bark an excellent anti-inflammatory agent.
The journal Rheumatology published as study in 2001 which showed that when 200 subjects with lower back pain consumed white willow bark, they had much lesser incidences of pain than those who received a placebo.
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7. Eases Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps are usually the result of inflammation of the uterus and are triggered by prostaglandins. White willow bark is thought to regulate the production of prostaglandins which cause inflammation. This can help to ease cramps as well as PMS symptoms. Professional herbalists often recommend white willow bark for menstrual cramps, although there are technically no scientific studies that will back that up. Drinking one cup of white willow bark tea a few times each day, starting about 3 days before your menstrual cycle, can help lessen cramps, headaches, lower back aches, and leg pains that often accompany a woman’s monthly cycle.
8. Reduces Migraine Headaches
Several studies have shown that low dose aspirin can help reduce the frequency of migraine headaches. Since white willow bark is so similar to aspirin, drinking a cup of white willow bark tea can be beneficial for those who suffer from these types of headaches.
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9. Tooth Pain
The analgesic and anti-inflammatory compounds of white willow bark can help stop the pain from tooth aches. You can rub the powder on the affected area or chew on a small piece of the bark.
10. Better Oral Health
Rinsing the mouth with a strong white willow bark tea twice each day after brushing, can help stop inflammation in the mouth, preventing inflamed gums and gingivitis.
You should not take white willow bark if you are allergic or are sensitive to aspirin, or if you are currently taking anticoagulant or anti-platelet drugs as this could increase the chance of stomach bleeding. White willow bark is also not recommended for nursing or pregnant mothers, those with kidney disease, colitis, Crohn’s disease, or chronic ulcers. If you are under a doctor’s care, or if you are taking any prescription drugs, you should speak to your doctor before consuming white willow bark, or any herbal product, to be certain that there will be no complications or drug interactions.