For many, natural remedies are the preferred way to support health and wellness. After all, nature itself is powerful and can support our bodies in many ways.
If you have looked for ways to support your health and well-being through natural means, you have probably stumbled upon white willow bark at one point or another. White willow bark has made its way into many products and supplements for its potential health benefits.
This supplement has been respected for centuries as a potential medicine, so there has to be some credibility behind this reputation. Although there is still a lot left to learn about this ancient remedy, willow bark does offer some fascinating upsides.
What Is White Willow Bark?
Willow bark can come from several types of trees, including the black willow, crack willow, and purple willow. However, white willow bark comes specifically from the salix alba tree, also known as the white willow tree. The white willow is native to Europe, northern Africa, and central Asia and is distinct with its long, drooping leaves.
Many people embrace white willow bark as a possible herbal medicine. The acceptance of willow bark for its potential medicinal properties can be traced all the way back to around 400 BC during the life of Hippocrates. At this time, people were advised to chew on the bark of the willow tree to help relieve fever and irritation.
Today, many people still look to this supplement to support their health. White willow bark is best known for its soothing properties that may arise from the plant compounds in the tree, called flavonoids. You can consume this well-respected herbal remedy through supplements or teas.
What Are the Health Benefits of White Willow Bark?
Although white willow bark has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries, its true potential is not completely known. Still, there is a long list of claims made about this natural supplement that shows willow bark may be a mixed bag of several potential benefits. The following are the most frequently discussed benefits of white willow bark.
1. Contains Antioxidant Properties
Antioxidants play an important role in our health, helping to support the health and integrity of cells in the body.
Willow bark extract has been shown to act similarly to antioxidant enzymes in the body, helping to support overall healthy aging. As a result, supplements with white willow bark may help support your overall health and wellness throughout the aging process.
2. May Provide Relief for Joint Discomfort
White willow bark contains a chemical compound called salicin, which is thought to be responsible for its soothing properties.
Joint discomfort is most often the result of tension in the joints, whether from injury, overuse, or wear and tear over time. As an herbal option with soothing properties, willow bark may work to help soothe occasional joint tension and support overall joint health, even while you age.
3. May Help Support Your Immune System
Still today, white willow bark has the same reputation it did thousands of years ago, as many people turn to this supplement when they’re feeling under the weather.
The potential benefits of willow bark extract for the immune system appear to be more the result of its flavonoid and antioxidant properties than its salicylic acid content. Either way, the soothing and potential antioxidant properties of willow bark may extend to supporting a healthy immune system.
4. May Support Skin Health
Salicylic acid is a popular ingredient in many skincare products as it can help exfoliate the skin, working to remove dead skin cells and support clear skin. Exfoliation can be an excellent addition to a skincare routine for anyone who experiences occasional breakouts or oily skin.
Since willow bark naturally produces salicin, a precursor to salicylic acid, it can be a good option for anyone seeking a natural exfoliant. The salicin in the bark may also help soothe irritated skin and support the all-around health of your skin. Salicin may also be a gentler option than salicylic acid, which can irritate sensitive skin.
5. Has a Wide Potential for Other Benefits
The soothing effects of willow bark might not just be limited to those mentioned above. Scientists still have plenty to learn about this remarkable natural supplement, but there is a wide range of suspected benefits. Some of the other potential benefits of willow bark under review include:
- Support for a healthy metabolism
- Support for weight loss efforts
- Support for overall hormonal balance during the menstrual cycle
Does White Willow Bark Have Any Side Effects?
White willow bark is generally considered to be safe, but it does have the potential to generate some mild side effects. Most side effects are more likely to occur only with higher doses. Taking too much willow bark can lead to potential problems like skin rashes, nausea, or stomach irritation.
Since willow bark contains salicin, which is chemically similar to aspirin, anyone allergic to aspirin may be advised to avoid taking willow bark. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid this supplement.
Similarly, willow bark may also interact with medications or herbs. For example, willow bark may increase the effects of blood-thinning medications while lessening the effectiveness of beta blockers and diuretics. Willow bark can also increase the risk of stomach ulcers or bleeding when taken with NSAIDs.
Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before taking this natural supplement with any other medications or supplements. You should always seek medical advice before including any new supplement in your routine.
How Should You Take White Willow Bark?
If you want to experience some of the potential benefits of white willow bark, you can turn to several different methods to consume it. The following are the most common ways to include white willow bark in your routine.
One of the main ways to experience the health benefits of white willow bark is through a tincture. A tincture is a type of herbal remedy, a concentrated extract made by soaking either the bark, leaves, or other parts of a plant in alcohol or vinegar. The alcohol or vinegar helps to pull out the active ingredients in the plants. The dosage may be prescribed by an herbalist as a certain number of drops of tincture.
If you’d rather drink your nutrients without the taste of alcohol or vinegar, you can simply drink willow bark tea. You can either use the bark to steep your own tea or find willow bark tea at the store.
If you prefer to take a more ancient approach, you can chew directly on white willow tree bark. Some people prefer this method because the unprocessed bark contains more of the natural flavonoids and phytonutrients.
However, chewing on the bark presents its own risks, as you are not able to gauge how much salicylic acid you are consuming. As a result, it is safer to take a supplement where it is easier to monitor your dosage.
The easiest, low-maintenance way to take willow bark extract is through a capsule or pill. Experts believe you can take up to around 200mg of salicin a day.
You can also take white willow bark in combination with other ingredients to help promote your overall wellness. For example, if you are looking for a natural way to support healthy joints, you can turn to an iwi life joint supplement.
These supplements are designed to support your overall joint health and mobility with a wealth of natural ingredients, including omega-3 fatty acid-rich algae, joint-supportive glucosamine, and soothing curcuminoids.
If you have a sensitive stomach or have experienced issues with taking salicin-rich willow bark in the past, you can also take a topical approach and apply it directly to the skin around the problem area.
Be sure to use caution with this approach, as it has the potential to irritate sensitive skin. This method may, however, provide additional benefits by supporting healthy, radiant skin.
See the Power of White Willow Bark Extract with iwi life
Joints that are uncomfortable from overuse or normal aging can keep you from doing daily activities you truly enjoy. Fortunately, willow bark, in combination with other natural ingredients, may provide much-desired relief. When you take an iwi life joint supplement, you receive 50mg of salicin from white willow bark.
Not only do you experience the benefits of white willow bark extract, but you also experience the power of another natural wonder — algae. iwi life algae is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which also support the health of your joints. All of iwi life’s supplements are completely plant-based, making them an excellent option for a variety of lifestyles. Try iwi life’s joint supplement for yourself and experience the potential benefits.
Willow bark Information | Mount Sinai - New York
The Study of Interactions between Active Compounds of Coffee and Willow (Salix sp.) Bark Water Extract | NCBI
Efficacy and Safety of White Willow Bark (Salix alba) Extracts | NCBI