Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Instead of Aspirin, White Willow Bark for Pain and Inflammation

Many people take a daily dose of aspirin to combat and prevent quite a few diseases and disorders, but suffer the side effects of the chemically manufactured drug. While the benefits of aspirin are well documented, it would seem that if there were something more natural with the same beneficial results, our bodies cannot tolerate long term use of aspirin without harmful side effects. Aspirin is responsible for irritating the lining of the stomach, and can cause gastrointestinal disorders including ulcers, and long term use can wreak havoc on your liver and kidneys.

The alternative? White willow bark, which contains a natural occuring chemical from which aspirin is derived. This chemical, salicin, makes white willow bark the natural substitute for aspirin, with all of the same benefits of the pharmacutical drug, but without the harmful side effects. Pretty much anything you would take aspirin for, you could use white willow bark and yield the same results. White whillow bark successfully reduces fevers, relieves pain, reduces risk of heart attack, strokes, and migraines. It can also help to reduce the onset of some cancers, and reduces inflammation.

It's a good idea to keep some white willow bark on hand, aspirin is just too easy to reach for. It can be made as a tea and kept for up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Boiling white willow bark (as with many herbs) will destroy most of the medicinal properties, and storing more than 48 hours will also render the herb ineffective. white willow bark can be purchased either online, in your local herbal store, or you can harvest your own directly from the white willow tree and dry the bark yourself. Most store bought varieties will either come in powder or capsule form. Remember that the herb has many of the same properties as it's decendant, aspirin, and should be taken with the same care. Children under 18 should not take aspirin or white willow bark for relief of symptoms of the flu, the common cold, or chicken pox, due to the risk of Rye's syndrome. (As always, consult your physician for medical advice concerning the safety of any herb you consider taking.)

Technorati tags:
, , ,