White willow is a native of Europe and Central Asia. This tree gets its name from the leaves which have white undersides. It is a deciduous tree, varying from medium to large in size. It grows up to 30 meters in height.
The wood and the bark are both used for several purposes. The wood is strong and tough but lightweight. The stems of this tree are used to make baskets. The charcoal from white willow trees was used for manufacturing gunpowder. The bark was used in the leather tanning industry. The bark is used for medicinal purposes which are what will be discussed here.
White willow is a rare example where the FDA has actually studied a natural occurring supplement and issued warnings. The FDA has declared that white willow bark should be accompanied by the same precautions for aspirin.
White willow bark can cause stomach problems, headache, ulcers, dizziness, stroke, visual problems, drowsiness, sweating and vomiting or nausea.
For adults, about 225 mg of white willow bark taken four times in the day is considered as an appropriate dose. It is difficult to make an exact judgment as the level of salycin may vary.
Disclaimer: While several benefits are understood to exist from taking white willow, the observations made in this article are not conclusive and could be amended as a result of new data recovered from ongoing studies regarding white willow.