Plants and Trees With Real Health Benefits

Albert B. Lowenfels, MD


May 30, 2017

Willow Tree Bark

The bark from the willow tree (Salix alba) has been successfully used for more than 3000 years for treating painful, inflammatory conditions. The bark contains salicylic acid along with other compounds, such as flavonoids, that are effective anti-inflammatory agents. In a recent review of randomized trials using herbal medicine, white willow bark performed better than a placebo, although the reviewers only assigned a moderate quality score to the evidence.[1] It is impressive that health practitioners discovered the benefits of willow bark thousands of years before the active ingredient was synthesized. Aspirin, with its long history, is now the world's most commonly used medication.[2] Medicine has much deeper roots than those of the willow tree.

Figure 2. Image from istock


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.