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White Willow Standardized Extract

White Willow Standardized Extract

COMMON NAME
White Willow, Pussy Willow

LATIN NAME
Salax alba

ORIGIN
Europe, Yugoslavia

PART OF PLANT USED
Bark (cortex)

DESCRIPTION
The bark of the common White Willow tree has been known since antiquity for its pain-relieving and fever-reducing properties. In the early 19th century a French chemist extracted the principal active ingredient from White Willow and named it Salicin. At the end of the century, Felix Hofmann, a chemist at the Bayer company in Germany developed the world's most used medication, aspirin or acetyl-salicylic acid. Recently, however, pain sufferers are returning to the natural source to avoid the potentially dangerous side effects of aspirin.

HISTORICAL USES
Temporary use in pain: headache, menstrual pain, toothache, arthritis, gout, angina, sore muscles
Antiseptic for urinary tract infections
Fevers, rheumatic conditions
Inflammatory pain
Connective tissue disorders
As an astringent for dysentery, diarrhea, intestinal worms and parasites

ACTIVE PROPERTIES
Willow bark has long been used for fevers and inflammations. In addition, the astringency of the glycosides makes willow bark useful as an antiseptic and astringent. Extracts and infusions of the bark have been used for cleansing the scalp and skin, for treating dandruff, and for treating corns and growths.

ACTIVE SUBSTANCES
phenolic glycosides, (salicin, salicortin, tremulacin, fragilin, salicoylsalicin, salireposide), tannins, syringin, flavonoid glycosides (isorhamnetin, quercetin)

PHARMACOLOGY
White Willow contains bitter phenolic and flavonoid glycosides. The most famous and active phenolic glycoside is salicin, which is a monoglycoside of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a weak anti-inflammatory agent but is converted by the liver to acetyl-salicylic acid. The acetylated version has aspirin's more effective anti-inflammatory activity without its gastrointestinal toxicity. The salicylates inhibit the activity of the cyclo-oxgenase enzyme and thus inhibit the production of prostaglandins and other inflammatory molecules.

TOXICITY, CAUTIONS & CONTRA-INDICATIONS
None known. Individuals allergic to salicylates should avoid willow bark.

DIRECTIONS FOR USE
60-120 mg. salicin
750-1500 mg./day extract

BIO-ENHANCING AGENTS
Rosemary Leaf, Skullcap, Blue Vervain

PROCESSING
The bark is peeled from the trees without damaging them and dried, then extracted with 80% ethanol and 20% water, followed by a pH adjustment and evaporation at room temperature at reduced pressure.

STANDARD
8% Salicin

ANALYSIS STANDARDIZED EXTRACT

ProductWillow Bark
TypeStandardized extract
Standardization7.8% Salicin (HPLC)
Characterlight yellow fine powder
Loss on drying4.4% m/m
Preserving Agentnone
Microbiological Content
Aerobic microorg.180n / g
molds/yeasts<10 n /g
enterobacterianeg.



SCIENTIFIC REFERENCES

Julkunen-Tiito, R. & Tahvanainen, J. (1989) The effect of sample preparation method of extractable phenolics of Salicaceae species. Planta Medica 55:55.

Mowrey, D. (1986) The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine. Cormorant Books.

Vane, J.R. (1971) Salicylates. Nature 231:232.

Weiner, M. (1990) Weiner's Herbal. Mill Valley: Quantum Books.

 


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