How often do you find yourself reaching for a bottle of aspirin to help ease aches? Apparently, there’s a natural remedy that can give us the exact same type of pain relief: White willow bark.
Despite being around for centuries — and aptly nicknamed “nature’s aspirin” — most people are totally unaware of this herbal option. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center explains that white willow bark contains salicin, which is the exact same anti-inflammatory compound used to create actual aspirin. This makes it ideal for things like lowering fever and pain relief.
That pain relief works for easing aches in both our muscles and joints. Recent studies have found it especially beneficial for lower back aches and osteoarthritis. Other researchers (also focused on back pain) point out that white willow bark works so well for each of these problems by reducing inflammation as it enters our blood stream. With that in mind, though, it is also important to be cautious with it if you’re on blood thinners.
Because it uses the exact same compound as aspirin, there is a chance of other similar side effects — like upset stomach, kidney issues, or allergic reactions — but there are only rare cases of those problems being documented over the hundreds of years people have been using this natural remedy for pain relief.
Like any other medicinal product, natural or not, it should be taken in moderation to avoid any risks. And it’s always important to talk with your doctor before trying a new pain remedy, even if it’s natural.
If you get the thumbs up, though, you can take it in supplement form, like Swanson White Willow Bark Extract (Buy at Walmart, $8.51), or sip it as a tea, like TerraVita White Willow Bark Tea (Buy at Walmart, $13.87). The latter option might help make sure you’re not over-doing it by enjoying a slow sip when you feel aches start, too. The tea has a slightly bitter taste to it, but a little honey can help sweeten it up.
Here’s hoping we can all enjoy more pain-free days with “nature’s aspirin!”
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