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.


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.

Keywords: willow bark benefits, willow bark uses, willow bark

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.