Recently discovered to contain salicin, a compound having similar molecular structure as aspirin, White willow extract is currently being studied upon for its probable effects in promoting wellness. White willow is among the many varieties of the Willow tree which has been used in alternative medicine treatments for over 6000 years. Although used originally in the treatment of musculoskeletal system disorders and other inflammations, scientists are now looking further into the effects of White willow extract in preventing heart attacks. Major health supplements have also included White willow extract in their formulations for its aspirin-like health benefits.
What is White willow extract?
The bark of the white willow tree usually undergoes several extraction procedures for the isolation of White willow extract. The interest in salicin, the active component of White willow extract, began during the investigations of death of the popular composer Ludwig von Beethoven who was believed to have died due to ingestion of high amounts of the compound. Modern studies show, however, that salicin in White willow extract may provide a lot of health benefit when taken within low doses.
What are the benefits of White willow extract?
Since the active compound of White willow extract has the same chemical structure as aspirin, most of its health benefits are related to aspirin health effects. Here are some of the benefits of using White willow extract:
- It may reduce inflammation
Inflammatory diseases like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are found to be treated with adequate White willow extract supplementation as the salicin content of the extract helps inhibit prostaglandin production by controlling cyclooxygenase release. A 2004 study has also show that not only is White willow extract effective in reducing swelling but it can also reduce crippling pain among patients.
- It may prevent stroke and heart attack
Embolic stroke and Myocardial infarction or heart attack are mostly caused by blood clots which causes occlusion in brain and coronary arteries. Studies show that White willow extract’s salicin can help prevent stroke and heart attack through its anticoagulant effects which controls clot formation. Patients who are taking synthetic anticoagulants are, however, discouraged from taking White willow extract health supplements as it may result to bleeding.
- It may reduce acne formation
White willow extract is also shown in several studies to possess astringent and soothing properties. In a phytochemical study, it was found that the extract contains several natural skin rejuvenation compounds such as flavonoids and tannins which help eliminate dead skin cells and toxins in the skin which contribute to acne formation. The substance is also known to reduce bacterial growth in the skin.
Aspirin-like White willow extract can be very useful in many ways. Not only is it effective but it is also shown to be a lot safer than its chemical equivalent aspirin.