What Are the Benefits of Willow Bark?

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, willow bark has been used as a pain reliever for thousands of years. Many types of willow contain salicin, a chemical similar to aspirin, in their bark. It is administered either as a tea made from dried bark, a capsule made from powdered bark, or a tincture made from fresh or dried willow bark. The salicylates contained in willow bark can interact with some medications. It should be used with the same care as any over-the-counter pain reliever.

Headache Relief

The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that willow bark has been shown to ease headaches in some cases; however, more study is needed to conclude if willow bark is beneficial for recurring, chronic headaches.

Pain Relief

According to WebMD, in a study involving almost 200 people experiencing pain the the lower back, willow bark was shown to be significantly more effective than a placebo. Willow bark may also be helpful for those suffering from osteoarthritis involving the neck and lower back.

Anti-Inflammatory

The salacin contained in willow bark works to relieve swelling in joints and tissues in the same way as aspirin, according to WebMD. The anti-inflammatory effects of white willow can ease pain, and increase mobility for people with bursitis and tendinitis.

Other Benefits

Willow bark contains antioxidants, antiseptic, fever-reducing and immune-boosting properties.

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About this Author

Jo Burns is a freelance writer living in California. She has been a writer since 1980. Her publications include "The Serapeum," "Familiar," "Tellus" and "Pitkin Review." She specializes in articles relating to health, travel, writing and crafting. In 2008, Burns received a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Goddard College.