[Herbalist] FW: [Herbtalk-newsletter] White Willow

Janece Turner janece at suarez-turner.com
Sat Nov 17 09:22:35 PST 2001

Didn't know who all (if anyone) got this newsletter, but I thought it
was interesting and worth sharing. What other stuff do some of you add
to your "sore muscle Massage oils/creams"? ~ Sioned

-----Original Message-----
From: Herbal Home Remedies [mailto:cambour at hotmail.com]
Sent: Friday, November 16, 2001 9:45 PM
To: Herbtalk-newsletter at yahoogroups.com
Subject: [Herbtalk-newsletter] White Willow

         HerbTalk November 15, 2001 – White Willow

-  Herbfacts: White Willow
-  Healing Benefits
-  How to Use White Willow
-  Sore Muscle Massage Oil Recipe


White Willow (Salix alba) is named for its active compound salicin.
The deciduous Willow tree is native to Europe. The tree can grow up
to 50 feet and is often found near stream banks. Its long, hanging
branches have narrow silver-green leaves. The tree produces petal- less
flowers in spring. The autumn seeds have a long, silky tuft.
Salicin is concentrated in the mature bark, which is harvested during
flowering time.

In ancient Greece, Hippocrates wrote about willow bark as a cure for
pain and fever. In 1828, a French pharmacist derived willow's active
ingredient, salicin. Another scientist found that salicin is
converted in the body to salicylic acid. As salicylic acid can
irritate the stomach, chemists buffered it by converting it into
acetylsalicylic acid. In 1899, Bayer named the new medicine Aspirin.
You can make a sore muscle massage oil from willow (see recipe below).


Although the salicin in willow is slower acting than aspirin, its
effect may last longer. Willow contains active ingredients not found
in aspirin, and it does not irritate the stomach or intestine as
aspirin can. An enzyme in your body called COX-1 makes a hormone that
keeps your stomach lining thick. Aspirin blocks this process, thus
thinning your stomach lining and allowing your digestive juices to
irritate it. Since willow does not block COX-1, the stomach lining
remains thick and protected from irritation.

Willow is recognized for its ability to block pain. Salicin
accomplishes this by stopping cells from making chemicals called
prostaglandins. Pain happens when the nerve endings in your skin,
joints, and other tissues send pain signals to your brain.  At the
same time, the hurt tissue releases prostaglandins, which strengthen
the pain signal. The pain reminds you to be careful until your tissue
has healed. However, sometimes pain has no purpose, such as with
tension headache and menstrual cramps. This useless pain is often
caused by an enzyme that makes prostaglandin where there is no
damaged tissue. Salicin sticks to this enzyme and inactivates it.
This subdues the pain signals traveling to your brain.

Prostaglandins not only help you to feel pain, they also initiate
swelling in your tissues. The swelling protects the tissues by
surrounding it with fluid from your blood, but it can be
uncomfortable. This swelling often occurs with arthritis.
Osteoarthritis occurs when joint cartilage wears down, allowing your
bones to rub against each other. This causes pain and swelling due to
the action of prostaglandins.  Willow relieves this inflammation by
blocking prostaglandin production.

Salicin can prevent heart attacks and stroke. The FDA has approved
the use of aspirin for this purpose.  The platelets in your blood
release a prostaglandin that causes blood clots. Salicin slows these
clots by preventing the platelets from releasing the prostaglandin.
This action can prevent the heart attacks and strokes that can result
from blood clots.


Make a decoction (white willow bark tea): add a teaspoon of bark to
one cup boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, then strain. Drink one
cup of tea three times per day as needed for muscle pain, menstrual
cramps, headaches and arthritis discomfort.

Do not use white willow bark if you have ulcers, aspirin sensitivity,
asthma or sinusitis. Stop using if you experience rashes, congestion,
cough, or wheezing. Do not use for more than two weeks at a time;
long-term use can cause stomach irritation. Willow should not be used
by children or by people with bleeding disorders, kidney disease,
liver disease, or diabetes. Willow may interact with alcohol,
aspirin, wintergreen oil, blood thinners, or anti-inflammatory


In a double boiler, gently simmer ½ cup white willow bark in 2 cups
olive oil for 1 hour. Strain the oil through a coffee filter.
Heat the oil again and add 1 tbsp grated beeswax. Stir until the wax
has melted. Remove from heat and add the contents of a vitamin E
capsule. Pour the oil into a jar and allow it to cool, then cap and
store in the refrigerator. Use cool or warm as massage oil for sore
muscles. Do not apply to broken skin.


I hope you have enjoyed this issue of HerbTalk. Please feel free to
forward this newsletter to anyone you think may benefit from it. Be
sure to include the copyright notice below:
Copyright © 2001 Thalia Cambouroglou. All rights reserved.

Get a free sample of herbal remedy tea at

Subscribe:  Herbtalk-newsletter-subscribe at egroups.com
Unsubscribe:  Herbtalk-newsletter-unsubscribe at egroups.com
Thalia (List Owner):  Herbtalk-newsletter-owner at egroups.com
URL to this page: http://www.egroups.com/group/Herbtalk-newsletter

More information about the Herbalist mailing list