white willow


Medicinal plant indicated in case of flu syndrome or rheumatism pain, it can be found in pills, standardized capsules or infusions.


Portuguese name: white willow, willow
Binomial name: Salix alba L.
French name: Saule , Saule blanc
English name: willow
German name: Salweide
Italian name: salice bianco


Salicaceae (Willows)


Phenolic glycosides (salicin), tannins, flavonoids.

parts used

Bark, sometimes the leaves


Internal use
– Anti-inflammatory, antipyretic (reduces fever), febrifuge, antioxidants

External use
– Astringent, hemostatic


Internal use
– Decreases temperature, fever, pain, rheumatism ( arthrosis , arthritis ), acute back pain (back pain that does not last long, eg sciatica), head lice (in shampoo), gout (White willow is used for a long time to fight gout, especially against the pain during the crisis), toothache .

External use
– Wounds

Secundary effects

Risk of allergy, in case of hypersensitivity to salicylates (eg aspirin molecule). Read the medicine leaflet.


Allergy to acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).


Possible risk of interactions with other medications. Ask a pharmacist for advice.

allergy risk

Heads up! During spring, pollens from this plant can trigger allergies, especially hay fever .

Willow-based preparations

– White willow-based pills or capsules

– Shampoo (against lice )

– White willow infusion (tea)

– White willow decoction

– Powder (take 10g of dried bark powder a day, suspended in a liquid, against various pains or inflammation, according to the Swiss specialist in medicinal plants Claude Roggen – see his book references at the bottom of the page)

Where does white willow grow?

White willow is native to Europe, Asia and North America. Nowadays, it grows in many parts of the world: Europe, North America, North Africa, Asia, etc.
The white willow can live over 100 years and reach a height of 24m. It spontaneously grows near streams such as rivers.
The term Salix (from the binomial name Salix alba) comes from sal lis , which in Celtic language means “near water”. Flowering, in the form of small yellow flowers, occurs in April and May in Europe. The flowers appear at the same time as the leaves, which are silver in color.

When to harvest white willow?

It is possible to harvest white willow bark (effective part) all year round.

When to harvest white willow bark?

Young branches less than 7 cm in diameter should be cut, the bark removed and then cut into small pieces and dried, according to Swiss medicinal plant expert Claude Roggen (see references at the bottom of the article).


– White willow is an effective plant for the treatment of various types of pain, such as rheumatism, fever or in cases of toothache.

The origin of aspirin
The famous aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) first came to market in 1899 by the German pharmaceutical company Bayer, it is a derivative of salicylic acid. This molecule was isolated from white willow bark, but also from another plant, called meadowsweet (or Filipendula ) . A chemical reaction, called acetylation, converts salicylic acid into acetylsalicylic acid, with the trade name aspirin.

Scientists were aware of the analgesic effects of white willow and meadowsweet, plants used in popular medicine at the time. So researchers sought to develop a new pain medication inspired by salicylic acid.

Aspirin, the result of the synthesis work of these scientists, today (more than 100 years later) is clearly one of the most important drugs or molecules in modern medicine in cases of pain, including inflammation, and fever. Aspirin is also indicated in low doses (eg 100 mg) in the prevention of certain cardiovascular diseases due to thinning of the blood.

– White willow is on the list of remedies offered by the SUS (Unified Health System) in Brazil. The list had 810 items (drugs, vaccines, herbal remedies) as of March 2012.

– The famous Greek physician Hippocrates, approximately 4 centuries before Christ, had already observed that the use of bark and willow or weeping leaves could relieve pain in cases of migraine or fever. He advised women to chew its leaves to combat the pain of childbirth. Native Americans also used white willow in their natural pharmacy, according to Swiss herbalist Claude Roggen (see References below).

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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