White willow - whip, cats or aspirin?

Willow whip is our indispensable symbol of Easter, holidays arrival of spring. Just a pity that so little forgotten medicinal properties of willow bark - aspirin our ancestors .. Indeed heals pain, temperature, inflammation, acne, dandruff, fungus, rheumatism ..

Willow now grows in many varieties in Asia and America, but originally comes from Europe, which is certainly worth such a long and rich tradition of its application in our lives. In our culture has played an important role as a sacred tree as a tree of much use, and traditions. Pagans worshiped, with the advent of Christianity was then associated with witchcraft, a woman who was seen in the dark with willows, was suspected of having links with the devil. Pussy willow but also become a symbol of spring and Easter, even the holy Easter in Catholic churches.
White willow tree, however, mainly been a very long list of practical application. Planted in the ponds and rivers for strengthening the banks, its wood is an important material in dřevořezbářství, pliable willow bark is still used to find water, weaving willow whips, and especially in basketry, where other material perhaps irreplaceable.

Already in ancient times was willow considered very important drug, its leaves, catkins, but mainly bark, whose effect is powerful. Why?

Willow is a natural aspirin
Willow bark contains one extremely important ingredient - salicin, a glycoside, which is the basis for production are well known as aspirin. In other words, willow bark is such a natural aspirin. It also follows its use in folk medicine. The bark decoction is prepared, which can be used both internally and externally - skin problems.
Internally works against pain and fever, while some can eradicate microorganisms as the origin of infectious diseases. So when served with colds, associated with high fever, headache, cough and colds, flu, tonsillitis, etc. Due to its disinfectant effect and has diarrhea and catarrh of the digestive system, even hold it against the effects of some internal parasites.
Remarkable drug for internal use is also for rheumatism and gout. Not only do they reduce pain in affected joints and tissues, but also works against inflammation. Often helps with headaches and migraines, but it is not a rule, this action is necessary to test individually.

When not to use the bark of willow internally?
It should be noted that people sensitive or allergic to aspirin should not use or willow bark, as well as people suffering from gastric and duodenal ulcers. Avoiding it would be and women during pregnancy and people suffering from excessive bleeding. Otherwise willow generally considered very tolerant and unlike so many aspirin does not irritate the gastric mucosa.

Willow bark heals skin wounds, infections and fungus
A decoction of willow bark is also quite widely used in the fight against skin diseases. Inflammatory and antiseptic effect is applied when purulent and non-healing wounds, etc. bolácích treated and fungal (fungus) infections of the skin, such as is used for bathing or for washing feet and compresses the affected areas. Previously willow bark is often used as a first aid for injuries in nature, when crushed applied directly to the wound as an antiseptic, and works similarly crushed willow leaves. A decoction of the bark can also gargle for infections in the mouth and sore throat.

Willow bark anti-dandruff and acne
A decoction of the bark can be deployed in the fight against dandruff. At the end of washing your hair scalp rinse with cold or tepid brew. Disinfectant and astringent willow bark certainly appreciate people suffering from acne. Decoction, we can apply a lotion to wash skin on face and body. In the case of dandruff, acne and fungal infections, it is important to repeat the procedure on a regular basis for an extended period of time to achieve the desired effect, but the truth is that these beneficial effects are proven by generations, do not be afraid to try them out too.

It's time to hit the willow bark
If you are among those who do not buy egg hunt at marketeers, but they can be self uříznutých braided willow twigs, you can take home with them at the same time bring a freshly naloupanou willow bark. It is harvested in March-April, from 2-3 years old branches. Young branches first tenderize (like willow whistle), then cut the lengthwise and carefully peel off the bark. We dry her best in the oven at temperatures up to 60C, but we are also in direct sunlight, it is important to dry quickly. Properly dry and devoid of all traces of wood bark then store the on-ventilated place in a quality cloth or jute bag. We will have our own natural aspirin available throughout the year.
If we have no willow in the range, or perhaps we do not want to spend time its harvest, you can simply buy it. Dried crust, mix the tea with its content or extracts but can be purchased in pharmacies and specialized stores, we prefer what nejpřírodnějším products.

The recipe for a decoction for internal use: 1 teaspoon dried bark simmer 5 to 10 minutes in 250 ml of water, let it stand for a while and strain. Sweetened with honey or syrup and enjoy the spoonful: 1 tablespoon per 2 hours.

The recipe for a decoction for external application: 40 to 50 g of dried bark to 0.5 liters of water, boil for 15 minutes and another 15 minutes let stand, then strain. This decoction can either be added to the bath, or use the tile and wash affected skin.

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References: Medicinal trees and shrubs by herbalist Paul

[2008-03-19]
The author White willow - whip, cats or aspirin?: Michaela Vorlová