White willow bark: Natural Aspirin for Pain and Inflammation Control

White willow bark

White willow bark: Natural Aspirin for Pain and Inflammation Control

Six thousand years ago, ancient civilizations have used White willow bark in the development and production of alternative treatments for various health conditions. It is mostly observed to be a potential cure for various latitudes of pain in the early days, although no explanations are made available as to how it does so in those years. In modern study, experts have found that white willow bark extract may have worked against pain in the past as it does in the present in the same way as the popular medicine Aspirin helps control pain. White willow bark contains a compound known as Salicin, which is almost similar to the structural composition of Aspirin. Although the health benefits associated with White willow bark is similar to that of Aspirin, some side effects of Aspirin are not associated with White willow bark.

What is White willow bark?

White willow bark is taken from Willow trees which are typically found in in arctic regions. Aside from the bark of the tree, the flowers of White willow also yields high amounts of compounds which are used in the production of medicines and health supplements. Although popular as a health supplement ingredient, White willow bark is also made popular as it is associated, according to some, with the death of the famous composer Beethoven. An overdose of White willow bark is then established to cause severe kidney damage which is found to be a potential cause of death of Beethoven, although not the direct cause.

Health benefits of using White willow bark

When taken within recommended doses, White willow bark may provide a lot of health benefits to individual users especially with long-term use. The following are among the claimed health effects of using White willow bark:

  1. It may work against inflammations

Several forms of inflammations including gouty arthritis, rheumatic arthritis and muscle inflammation are said to be treated effectively with White willow bark supplementation in the same manner as Aspirin does. Unlike aspirin, however, White willow bark is not quite associated with blood-thinning side effects when used against inflammations. It must be taken with caution among patients taking anticoagulants and thrombolytics to avoid drug interactions. The safety issues on White willow bark use are still under study.

  1. It may contribute to weight loss

Another aspect of study involving White willow bark is its effect in enhancing weight loss. There are only limited studies claiming the health effect, making it not yet as popular as a weight loss aid. No explanations are available as to how it may promote weight loss.

  1. It may prevent cancer

Certain compounds found in White willow bark are also believed to help prevent development of cancer cells in the human body. Long-term supplementation is necessary, however, to determine extent of the health effect.


Also known as nature’s aspirin, there is no doubt as to the efficiency of White willow bark. It must be taken, however, with similar caution as that when taking aspirin.

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