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