White Willow Bark Tea
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White Willow Bark Tea

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White Willow Bark: The Natural Pain Reliever that Works Like Aspirin

What is Willow Bark?

White willow trees (salix alba) grow a bark that contains the chemical called salicin, which has anti-inflammatory effects.

Salicin works in similar ways as acetylsalicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. In fact, in the 1800s, salicin was used to develop aspirin.

According to Dr Axe White Willow Bark offers the following health benefits:

1. Has Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects

2. Used to Manage Arthritis Symptoms and Chronic Pain

According to a 2009 systematic review on the effectiveness of willow bark for musculoskeletal pain, several studies indicate a dose-dependent analgesic effect not inferior to rofecoxib (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to treat arthritis) among patients with low back pain.

3. Defends Against Common Illnesses and Fevers

4. May Help Support Athletic Performance

5. Used to Help With Weight Loss

6. May Fight Headaches and Boost Your Mood


Use about one tablespoon of willow bark per cup of water. Boil it in water for about 10 minutes. After allowing the tea to cool, it’s best to drink it with a meal, which will reduce the chance of experiencing an upset stomach. Most people can consume 1–3 cups of white willow bark tea per day. Drink one cup and wait several hours before taking another dose to make sure you don’t react poorly. 


People with any of the following health conditions should avoid using white willow bark products:

  • Bleeding disorders (since willow bark slows down blood clotting)
  • Kidney disease or kidney failure
  • Sensitivity to aspirin
  • Asthma
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Diabetes
  • Gout
  • Hemophilia
  • Liver disease
  • Having had recent surgery

Taking willow bark along with aspirin, beta blockers, diuretics or choline magnesium can increase the effects and contribute to side effects. It also shouldn’t be used with any other medication that slows blood clotting (anticoagulants), since this increases the risk for uncontrolled bleeding.


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