Willow Bark Tincture
Label: Beneficial Botanicals
Botanical Name: Salix sp.
Parts Used: bark
Organic: Yes Origin: USA
Menstruum: food grade alcohol
Tincture Ratio: 1:5
Known Use: pain relief (similar to aspirin) reportedly effective for lower back pain
Analgesic / Anti-inflammatory / Antioxidant / Antinociceptive
The Willow family includes a number of different species of deciduous trees and shrubs native to Europe, Asia, and parts of North America. This tincture is made from the bark of wild growing Salix drummondjana in a U.S. region that is widely know to be free of pesticides and is conscientiously harvested.
The use of willow bark dates back thousands of years. In the 1800s, the chemical salicin found in White Willow bark was used to develop aspirin.
Researchers believe that the chemical salicin, found in Willow bark, is responsible for the pain relieving effects. However, studies have identified several other components of willow bark that have antioxidant, fever reducing, antiseptic, and immune boosting properties. Some studies show willow is as effective as aspirin for reducing pain and inflammation (but not fever), and at a much lower dose.
What is the difference between aspirin and willow bark? Aspirin is made from salicylate with a chemical tag called acetyl. The acetyl is combined with the salicylate to form the active ingredient in aspirin, which is acetylsalicylate. Most herbalists point out that the natural benefits of the flavanoids and tannins with salicin in willow bark reduces the risk of stomach upset, ulcers and gastrointestinal problems that may occur with aspirin.
[tab name="Use / Dosage"]
Willow Bark Tincture may be used for the treatment of pain, particularly low back pain, and osteoarthritis. It may also be used to treat headaches and inflammatory conditions, such as bursitis and tendinitis.
Back Pain : Willow Bark brings pain relief more slowly than aspirin, but its effects may last longer. Among many studies, one well designed study of nearly 200 people with low back pain showed that those who received willow bark experienced a significant improvement in pain compared to those who received placebo.
Known Dosage (for Adults)
For pain ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon (2.5 ml to 5 ml) in warm water, daily as needed for up to 12 weeks.
Do not take Willow Bark Tincture if you are also taking any blood thinning medications, beta blockers, diuretics (water pills), anti-inflammatory drugs (Ibuprophen, Naproxen), or Dilantin.
Because willow bark contains salicin, people who are allergic or sensitive to salicylates (such as aspirin) should not use willow bark. Some researchers suggest that people with asthma, diabetes, gout, gastritis, hemophilia, and stomach ulcers should also avoid willow bark. If you have any of these conditions ask your health care provider before taking willow bark.
Children under the age of 16 should not take willow bark. Salicylates are not recommended during pregnancy, so pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take willow bark.
Bisset NG. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Stuttgart, Germany: Medpharm Scientific Publishers; 2004:534-536.
Blumenthal M. The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council. Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications; 1998.
Chrubasik JE, Roufogalis BD, Chrubasik S. Evidence of effectiveness of herbal anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of painful osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain. Phytother Res. 2007 Jul;21(7):675-83. Review.
Chrubasik S. Pain therapy using herbal medicines [abstract]. Gynakologe. 2000;33(1):59-64.
Chrubasik S, Eisenburg E, Balan E, et al. Treatment of low back pain exacerbations with willow bark extract: a randomized double blind study. Am J Med. 2000;109:9-14.
Ernst E, Chrubasik S. Phyto-anti-inflammatories. A systematic review of randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2000;26(1):13-27.
Foster S, Duke JA. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of the Eastern and Central US. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin; 2000:321-323.
Gagnier JJ, van Tulder M, Berman B, Bombardier C. Herbal medicine for low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;(2):CD004504.
Hoffmann D. Therapeutic Herbalism. Santa Cruz, CA: Therapeutic Herbalism Press; 2000.
McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, et al, eds. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1997:101.
Vlachojannis J, Magora F, Chrubasik S. Willow species and aspirin: different mechanism of actions. Phytother Res. 2011;25(7):1102-4.
image credit: artist, Mary Vaux Walcott
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided here is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare provider and should not be construed to indicate that the use of this herbal product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare provider before taking this herbal product.