Willow - Salix spp. (in the Salicaceae or Willow family)
Part used: Bark.
Taste/smell: Astringent, bitter.
Tendencies: Cooling, drying.
Dosage: Decoction: 1-2 teaspoons per cup of water; or 1:5 dry strength liquid extract: 10-60 drops 1-4 times per day.
Mental picture and specific indications: Willow is indicated for sores on the mucosa or skin, diarrhea, ulcers, fever with intermittent chills, arthritic pain, sexual irritability and excessive passion, mental irritation, bitterness and tiredness.
Use: (a) Astringent, (b) Anti-inflammatory, (c) Analgesic.
The various willows have been commonly used for fevers, headaches and rheumatism. The main active constituents are thought to be salicin and the salicyl glycosides that create a salicylic acid-like reaction in the body. The conversion of the herb into the usable form, saligenin, by gastric flora can take hours; but once absorbed, it is effective for several hours. For this reason willow is not very effective for acute pain relief. The benefits are available over a more protracted period of time.
Contraindications: It is contraindicated in cases of bleeding disorders like hemophilia or in conjunction with other blood thinning agents.