White willow bark contains salicin, a chemical that functions similarly to aspirin. Inside the body, salicin prevents the creation of chemicals called prostaglandins which are known to contribute to inflammation.
Because white willow bark contains the anti-inflammatory ingredient salicin, herbalists recommend the herb for the treatment of conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain, tendinitis, bursitis, menstrual cramps and headaches. More research is needed to prove the effectiveness of white willow bark for these treatments, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center.
A 2001 study conducted at the Pharmazeutisches Institut at the Universitat Tubingen in Germany and published in the journal "Phytotherapy Research" found that patients with osteoporosis treated with white willow bark received more relief from pain and inflammation than those given a placebo.
The recommended dosage of powdered or liquid white willow bark for the treatment of inflammation is 60 to 240 mg, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. Alternately, patients can make a tea using 1 to 2 tsp. of dried willow bark in 8 oz. of water three to four times per day.
If you are pregnant or nursing or have a history of aspirin allergies, asthma, ulcers, diabetes, gout, hemophilia, hypoprothrombinemia, or kidney or liver disease, it may not be safe for you to take white willow bark to relieve inflammation, cautions RxList.