Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
You'd be surprised to know that the willow bark has been used since the time of Hippocrates (400 BC). When people used to suffer from fever and inflammation, they were advised to chew on its bark. Over the centuries, the use of this bark has been very popular in China and Europe, and is still being used to treat lower back pain, headaches, osteoarthritis, and conditions of inflammation (bursitis and tendinitis).
The reason being that the white willow bark contains salicin, a chemical similar to aspirin. Which is why patients are asked to drink this tea on a regular basis. Although, the tea has helped ease acute pains and fevers, the results are not as potent as that of an aspirin.
- Alleviates headaches, migraines, and minimizes inflammation.
- A pain reliever which is less likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects.
- Boosts immune system, reduces fever, and works as an antioxidant and antiseptic as well.
- Reduces pain from osteoarthritis of neck and lower back.
- Professional herbalists recommend the tea for menstrual cramps, toothache, flu, tendinitis, and bursitis.
As we just understood the bark has similar effects of aspirin, kids under the age of 16 are advised not to consume the tea. As for adults, a general guideline for the herbal tea dosage is 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried willow bark with 8 oz of water. Let's take a quick look at how to make the tea.
- Dry or fresh willow bark
- Honey, for taste
- Lemon juice, for taste
Step #1: You can purchase dried willow bark, or use a fresh bark for the tea. If you're using the fresh bark, take a pair of scissors or knife to cut a branch from the tree. Make sure you don't use the branches which have already fallen on the ground as it won't be alive or beneficial. The length of the branch will depend on how thick the branch actually is, and how much tea you want to prepare. To be on the safe side, cut the branch ½" thick, and almost 6-feet long. Once the branch is cleaned, you will be left with one cup worth of the bark.
Step #2: Take the knife and cut the branch into long, 3" pieces. The rooting hormone will be released as you cut the branch in this manner. In a measuring cup, place the pieces to make sure that the correct proportion is being used, as compared to the amount of water for the tea.
Step #3: In a large pot, pour enough water to make sure the branch pieces and water have correct proportions. For every cup of the branch pieces, you will have to add at least one quart of water. Place a lid on top of the pot and let the tea cook at medium to high heat.
Step #4: After 20 minutes, take the pot off the stove and let the bark sit in the hot water for at least 8 to 12 hours. Strain the tea and remove the branches. Combine honey and lemon juice in the tea to make it more flavorful. Pour the tea in a clean glass container, and drink it as is or cool it in the refrigerator for a few hours before drinking.
You too can avail all the helpful benefits from the tea. Apart from the dried barks to prepare the tea, it is also available in capsules and powdered form. Make sure that you consult the doctor about the appropriate dosage before consuming it.