Old age brings along with it a lot of body pain. One day it’s your back and the other day it’s your knees or joints. The pain seems to be travelling from one body part to another. So, what do we do? Pop in countless pills? Well, that sounds unhealthy. But thanks to Ayurveda and dadi ke nuskhe (home remedies), I got to know about something known as willow bark extract. Extracts from the bark of white willow trees can actually help reduce inflammation responsible for many ailments! Let’s take a look at what this magical ingredient is.
A few weeks ago I saw my mom serving herbal tea to my grandmother around 2-3 times a day. I was shocked that my chai-loving grandma was having herbal tea. But on being asked she told me that she was drinking willow bark extract tea for her back pain. My grandma explained to me that it is an old home remedy for body pain, fever, flu and even menstrual cramps!
Wanting to find out more about this natural pain-killer, I got in touch with Ayurvedic expert, Dr Chaitali Deshmukh who explained to me the scientific reason behind willow bark extract acting as a pain reliever.
Willow bark extract for pain
Willow bark extract is made from a variety of willow bark species, including white, black, and purple willows. Dr Deshmukh says this extract can help with various body pains. Let’s take a look!
There is evidence that willow bark can ease headaches. According to some research, it has a lower risk of gastrointestinal adverse effects than other painkillers like ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines.
2. Lower back pain
It seems that willow bark can relieve back pain. Over 200 persons with low back pain participated in a well-planned study, and those who received willow bark reported significantly less discomfort than those who received a placebo. Higher doses of willow bark (240 mg salicin) resulted in more noticeable pain relief compared to lower doses (120 mg salicin).
Willow has been shown in numerous tests to be more beneficial than a placebo for reducing osteoarthritis pain. In a small research, those who received willow bark saw a significant improvement in their symptoms compared to those who received a placebo for osteoarthritis of the neck or lower back.
Willow bark extract for skin
The substance is a natural source of salicin, which is where the potent acne-fighting compound salicylic acid originates from. According to Dr Deshmukh, willow bark extract has strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory capabilities due to the salicin (which improves the appearance of pores and fine lines, she adds).
According to the expert, willow bark extract not only contains a large amount of salicin, but also high levels of tannins, flavonoids, phenolic acids, and other minerals that assist to soothe the skin and promote cell renewal. Willow bark extract can be found in a variety of skincare products, including cleansers, moisturizers, toners, masks, and more because all of these ingredients promote a more revitalized, young face.
* Gently exfoliates: Willow bark extract can offer a mild exfoliation because of the salicin, revealing more vibrant, healthy-looking skin.
* Calms redness: Dr Deshmukh claims that salicin’s anti-inflammatory qualities can also aid reduce redness and irritation.
* Refines pores: Salicin’s anti-inflammatory qualities can also aid reduce redness and irritation.
* Reduces oiliness: The tannins can help lessen oiliness, which prevents acne outbreaks, adds Dr Deshmukh. This clarifies why it’s a common component in toners.
* Reduces signs of ageing: The substance can also lessen wrinkles and age spots since it contains polyphenols and flavonoids, two potent antioxidants that protect our skin from free radical damage.
* Locks in moisture: The antioxidants also help the skin retain moisture, keeping it moisturised and healthy. Together, these potent substances can help treat eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea, among other skin disorders.
What are other benefits of willow bark extract?
According to Dr Deshmukh, willow bark may be prescribed for the following conditions by licenced herbalists, although additional research is required:
* Menstrual cramps
How to use willow bark extract?
For internal use:
The Ayurvedic expert recommends that to treat fever, flu, headaches, pains, rheumatism, the patient should be given willow bark extract tea. To make it: with a cup of water, add 1-3g of willow bark. After 10 minutes of boiling, strain. Drink this 3 times a day before every meal.
One can also have capsules (200mg willow bark powder) 3 times a day. Take 2-4 capsules with water or can have its readily available tincture. Pour a glass of water with 40 drops in it and have it 3 times a day.
For external use:
To treat ulcers, wounds, etc. do compressions by soaking a cloth in the above concoction.
While more research is needed to explore its potential uses, willow bark extract remains a popular home remedy for a variety of ailments. However, it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating any new herbal remedy into your routine.