The white willow, scientific name Salix alba , is native to temperate zones. Its leaves are paler than those of most willows, so it has white in its name. The tree can reach 30 meters in height and has flowers that are produced in early spring. With great landscape value, white willow is very easy to find, so there is no difficulty in getting its flowers or bark for medicinal use.
Originating in Europe, Asia and North America, willow has several beneficial properties for health treatments. Used for a long time to relieve pain and reduce fevers, white willow bark contains salicin, a substance that, in 1800, was isolated by scholars and transformed in chemical processes into acetylsalicylic acid present in aspirin, which are widely used today.
Medicinal properties and benefits
With sweating, antipyretic, analgesic, antirheumatic and antiaggregating properties, the use of white willow is effective in the treatment of fever, headache, rheumatism, arthritis, arthrosis, gout, cold and neuralgia. In addition, it helps in the process of relieving premenstrual symptoms, insomnia and anxiety – for these purposes, see the preparation that uses white willow flowers.
How to prepare tea?
To prepare white willow tea, you should use the ratio of one tablespoon of chopped bark to each cup of water. Put the water in a container and heat it. Add the white willow bark and allow it to come to a boil. When it starts to boil, leave it on the fire for another ten minutes and then turn it off. Cover the mixture and let it cool. When cold, strain and consume. The recommended dose is two to three cups of tea a day.
For tea made from dried flowers, use the ratio of one teaspoon of flowers to each cup of water. Place dried flowers in a container and set aside. Put water to heat and, when it comes to a boil, pour it over the flowers. Leave to rest covered for ten minutes, strain and consume afterwards. The recommended consumption is two to three cups a day.
Side effects and contraindications
The consumption of white willow is contraindicated for pregnant women and lactating women, as well as patients with aspirin allergy and who have gastrointestinal problems – ulcers, gastritis, reflux, colitis. In addition, consumption should also be avoided by patients who use anti-aggregating drugs. When consumed in excess, white willow can cause bleeding.