White willow (willow, vine, rakita) is a tree, preparations from the bark of which have antipyretic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antimalarial effects.
The healing properties of white willow are due to the chemical composition of its young branches and bark - they are the most valuable from the point of view of medicine.
The antibiotic effect of medicinal raw materials is due to the presence in its composition of a huge amount of salicin alkaloid.
In addition, the cortex contains glycosides, tannins, pectins, ascorbic acid and a number of other vitamins, salicylic acid, mineral elements, flavonoids.
For medicinal purposes, willow has been used since the time of Dioscorides. Avicenna recommended juice from fresh branches with jaundice and ear pains (in this case it was mixed with pomegranate juice and rose oil), and a decoction of its fruits and bark - with malignant skin tumors and hemoptysis.
Indian tribes used white willow bark for headaches, rheumatism, colds, fever, and tea from willow inflorescences as an aphrodisiac and antipyretic agent. In addition, ground bark was cleaned and bleached teeth.
In most Slavic countries, white willow has long been used as an anti-febrile and anti-inflammatory agent for malaria.
Modern medicine the most important properties of willow is its ability to reduce fever, stop pain and inflammation, stop blood, disinfect wounds and speed up their healing.
In addition, white willow has the following effects on the human body:
Drugs prepared on the basis of white willow, increase the secretion of bronchial glands, contribute to the promotion of sputum from the lower respiratory tract in the upper and easy its discharge.
Aqueous-alcoholic tinctures of bark are characterized by a pronounced analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties.
It has been clinically proven that bark extract contributes to vasoconstriction and increases blood clotting.
In the course of pharmacological studies, it was found that the biologically active substances contained in the cortex dilate the coronary vessels, increase the amplitude of heart contractions, and reduce heart rate somewhat.
Willow is characterized by the ability to increase the secretion of gastrointestinal glands, thereby increasing the secretion of mucus, pancreatic and gastric juice.
The antispasmodic and choleretic action of the plant is used in dyskinesia of the gallbladder and gallstone disease.
In the form of 20% decoction of white willow bark helps reduce joint edema and the manifestation of pain. For these properties, it is used in the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis.
More than a hundred years ago, salicylic acid was first obtained from willow bark. And from her employee of the German pharmaceutical company Bayer Felix Hofman with a group of scientists in 1897 synthesized one of the most popular medicinal substances to date - salicylic acid acetyl ester, or acetylsalicylic acid, which later became known as aspirin. Due to the very rapid development of synthetic chemistry, willow bark has lost its original value as a source of salicylic acid, since the method of its production is a long and economically unprofitable one. However, willow bark-based medicines are still popular today, especially in traditional medicine.
Indications for use
The biologically active substances contained in the plant allow the use of white willow preparations for:
- Inflammatory diseases of the bladder;
- Diseases of the digestive tract, characterized by low acidity;
- Catarrhal diseases;
- Pulmonary tuberculosis;
- Worm invasion;
- Muscle weakness of the legs;
- Sweaty hands and feet;
- Stomatitis, gingivitis and catarrh of the upper respiratory tract;
- Varicose veins;
- Rheumatism and osteochondrosis;
- Skin diseases (ulcers, eczema, open and purulent wounds, boils, etc.);
- Blepharitis and conjunctivitis.
A strong decoction of crushed bark can effectively deal with hair loss, dandruff and itching headache.
Acetic broth can remove warts, and the ashes from the burnt branches can be applied to calluses.
A very effective remedy for rheumatic pains and osteochondrosis is considered a bath with the use of a willow broom.
White willow is contraindicated in people with a known hypersensitivity to the biologically active substances of this plant, children under 16 years of age and pregnant women.
You should not use a willow decoction for a peptic ulcer and gastritis with high acidity.
White willow preparations should not be taken simultaneously with synthetic vitamins, aspirin, amino acids, as well as antacid, antitussive, cough and laxative drugs.
Homemade medicine from white willow
When inflammation of the digestive tract, rheumatism and joint diseases will help the decoction of willow bark. For its preparation 1 tbsp. crushed raw material is poured with a glass of boiling water and boiled for half an hour in a water bath. Still hot broth is filtered and brought to the original volume with boiled water. Take medicine from 3 to 5 times a day and 1 tablespoon, only for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract should take the remedy before meals.
In a similar way they prepare a decoction for diarrhea, only 1 tbsp. bark pour 400 ml of water. Take 2 tbsp. 3-4 times a day.
In malaria, white willow is used in the form of tea. To make it, a pinch of crushed bark is poured over 200 ml of water and boiled until the volume is halved. The finished product is taken in the morning on an empty stomach for several days. To improve the taste of such a drink, you can add a little honey to it.
With varicose disease, fungal skin lesions, erysipelas, trophic ulcers, furunculosis, hyperhidrosis of the feet, it is recommended to make baths with white willow bark infusion. To do this, pour a glass of bark with boiling water, leave for 30 minutes to infuse, then pour the infusion into a basin with hot water and lower the legs, hold until the water cools.
In inflammatory skin lesions, trophic ulcers and wounds, the affected areas can also be treated with willow ointment. To do this, powdered bark should be well mixed with butter.