By John A. Heatherly, Author of The Survival Template photo by aresauburnâ„¢
For centuries, willow bark has been used as treatment for a myriad of ailments. The bark contains a chemical called salicin that is similar to aspirin, although some studies have identified other compounds that have “antioxidant, fever reducing, antiseptic, and immune boosting properties.”* Some show that willow can reduce pain and inflammation at much lower doses than aspirin. It has been shown to help with headaches, low back pain, and osteoarthritis, and is also recommended for the treatment of menstrual cramps, fever, flu, bursitis, and tendonitis.
How should willow bark be used? For adults, administer as a tea: “Boil 1 – 2 tsp of dried bark in 8 oz of water and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes; let steep for ½ hour; drink 3 – 4 cups daily.”* Willow is not recommended for children under the age of 16 due to the dangers of Reye syndrome.
As with all treatments, there are some precautions. For example: those who are allergic to salicylates should not use willow. For more information and a thorough listing of usages, precautions, interactions, and depletions, please see The University of Maryland Medical Center website, listed below.
Does anyone use willow bark as a painkiller or in other ways? Bonus Tip: The wood harvested from willow trees works very well in building bow-drill fires, though that is a different topic altogether!
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