1. What is White willow bark extract?
The White Willow Bark Extract has long been used for centuries in treating irritated skin, as it is known to have salicin.
This chemical compound is metabolized in the body in order to produce salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is the key ingredient of aspirin. It’s a versatile ingredient with powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Because of its powerful properties, the Willow Bark Extract is commonly used in folk medicine when it comes to relieving pain and treating inflammation.
Around the 1800s, a group of chemists has found a way to produce synthetic salicylic acid, which they call the acetylsalicylic acid.
2. White Willow Bark Extract Uses
Here are the main White Willow Bark Extract Uses:
- Treats Back Pain
One of the main uses of the white willow bark extract is to treat the pain in the lower back and it can work more effectively if you take it in higher doses. However, you will only notice significant improvement after about a week of using the extract.
- Helps with Weight Loss
Early studies have suggested that taking the willow bark extract along with cola nut and ephedra may aid in weight loss. Thus, one of the white willow bark extracts uses is in helping obese and overweight individuals to shed some pounds off.
But you have to be very careful with using this combination due to the safety risks in the use of ephedra. In fact, it’s been banned in the US because of the extremely harmful side effects that come with it.
- Treats Osteoarthritis
Some studies show that the willow bark extract may help treat osteoarthritis but the results of these studies are somewhat conflicting.
Other studies suggest that it may help to minimize the pain but some studies said that it doesn’t have any effect.
3. White willow bark extract benefits
Most of the white willow bark extract benefits have something to do with its ability to relieve pain. The pain-relieving and fever-reducing properties of the willow bark extract have been discovered as early as the 4th Century in Greece. It all started when a group of Greek users chew the bark and experienced rapid relief from pain.
With more and more people turning to natural medicines these days, there has been a renewed interest in the use of willow bark extract as medication. Many people would see it as a safer alternative to NSAIDs, such as the Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Aspirin.
Practitioners of alternative medicine claim that the willow bark extract could cure all sorts of pain disorders, ranging from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, knee pain, lower back pain, and headache. Others have also claimed that it helps them to effectively lose weight.
And just like with using any herbal supplement, those pieces of evidence supporting the claim of the willow bark’s effectiveness is somewhat contradictory. But let’s take a closer look at the various studies of the willow bark extract.
There were studies that have looked into the effects of willow bark on people suffering from osteoarthritis. But these studies have yielded contradictory results. In one clinical trial, which was published at the Phytotherapy Research, 78 people were asked to consume the willow bark extract that has around 240 mg of salicin daily.
There was also another group of placebo. Both groups of people were suffering from osteoarthritis. After about a couple weeks of treatment, those who belong to the willow bark group has a 14% pain score compared to only 2% of the placebo group.
However, this was not the result seen on a 6-week study that was published in the Journal of Rheumatology. During the trial, 127 patients suffering from osteoarthritis were asked to take 240 mg of salicin. Others were asked to take 100 mg of diclofenac, and the rest were placebo.
The second part of the study has revealed that the willow bark is not as effective in treating the pain brought about by rheumatoid arthritis when compared to the placebo.
- Low Back Pain
Current evidence shows that the willow bark may not be that effective in the treatment of acute pain in the lower back.
A 2016 analysis, which was published in the Journal Spine, has evaluated 14 published studies in the use of herbal medicine for treating lower back pain. Among the findings, the group of researchers has reported that the bark of the white willow tree, known as Salix Alba, has consistently provided effective relief from pain compared to the placebo.
In line with that, the overall quality of the studies that were reviewed was considered poor – moderate. Further research is required to determine how effective or safe the willow bark will be in treating the pain of the lower back.
The willow bark extract has also been found to help relieve headaches. Some evidence suggests that, when compared to other pain relief medications, such as ibuprofen, the willow bark extract is less likely to trigger gastrointestinal side effects.
However, these studies did not reveal beyond all doubt. Thus, people who are susceptible to upset stomach should refrain from taking the willow bark for treatment. Large-scale studies are required in order to figure out how effective or safe the willow bark will be in treating chronic and recurring headaches.
- Weight Loss
The willow bark is being marketed over the past few years as an effective supplement for weight loss. These health claims were a result of early studies was the willow bark was combined to ephedra in order to improve athletic performance and burn fat.
Ephedra, which is commonly used in Chinese medicine, was banned for use in the US since 2004 because of the various incidences of cardiac deaths from its users. But when taken all by itself without the ephedra, the white willow bark weight loss is not really effective.
Several studies have shown that the willow bark is more effective in reducing pain brought about by osteoarthritis when compared to a placebo.
In one study consisting of a group of people suffering from osteoarthritis and felt pain on their lower back and neck, those who were given the willow bark have experienced a huge improvement in their symptoms when compared to the placebo group.
A similar study was done to a group of 78 people who were diagnosed with osteoarthritis and have to deal with the pain on their hip or knee joint, has found that those who were given the willow bark has experienced significant relief compared to the placebo group.
4. White Willow Bark Extract Dosage
No guidelines were provided regarding the proper white willow bark extract dosage. But in general, a dose of 400 mg each day should be safe. This has to be taken orally and should be able to effectively provide relief for joint or muscle pain.
The willow bark supplements that are being sold in the market usually come in the form of capsules. You can also get them in liquid extracts or powder form. Some companies also produce topical ointments made of willow bark that can be applied directly for pain relief. There are also oil-based serums but are only intended for external use.
The willow bark itself can be brought chips or powders. This is used in making tinctures and teas.
5. White Willow Bark Extract Use for Weight Loss
What’s great about the white willow bark is that its effects can last longer when compared to aspirin and it is for this reason why it is being added to fat burners.
It can help to prolong the effects product’s weight loss effects, most especially if use it along with other ingredients. For instance, the willow bark may help to extend the activities of certain thermogenic ingredients in a fat loss supplement thereby increasing its ability to burn fats.
The proper dosage for the white willow bark is around 120 – 240 mg. As mentioned, the herb has a chemical compound known as the salicin, which is responsible for its powerful abilities. But unlike the aspirin that could trigger serious side effects especially when taken in large amounts, the white willow bark is totally safe.
6. White Willow Bark Extract Use to Help Protect the Skin
Many people would rely on the white willow bark extract for skin treatment. In one study done in 2010, it was found that the salicin might help to minimize skin aging. A group of researchers has tried applying a serum containing salicin in the face of some women between the age of 35 and 70 every single day for 12 consecutive weeks.
The results showed great improvement in the appearance of their wrinkles. But this is only a preliminary study and further research is needed in order to understand the effects of salicin on skin. But so far, the results are encouraging.
The willow bark has also been found to be effective at exfoliating the skin and clearing the pores, resulting in a healthier and younger appearance. It can also minimize clogged pores, which prevents fine lines and wrinkles. Regular use could lead to smoother, clearer, and softer skin.
7. Is There Any Drug Interactions?
The willow bark has been found to slow down clotting and prolong bleeding. Because of this, it’s not advisable to take it along with anticoagulants such as warfarin and antiplatelet drugs like clopidogrel. It must also not be taken along with bleeding medications, including NSAIDs.
If you are scheduled for surgery, you must stop taking the willow bark at least two weeks prior to the scheduled day of your surgery in order to prevent excessive bleeding. It must also not be used by hemophiliacs or those who are suffering from bleeding disorders.
The US FDA doesn’t require dietary supplements like the willow bark extract to be subjected to routine testing. It is for this reason why the quality of the willow bark supplements would vary from one manufacturer to another.
In addition, only a few manufacturers will voluntarily submit their supplements to be tested by US Pharmacopeia and other certifying bodies.
8. White Willow Bark Extract for Sale
But you must only deal with a reliable manufacturer that has a reputation for producing safe and high-quality supplements. If possible, choose those products that were certified organic by the US Dept. of Agriculture or the USDA.
9. Where to Buy White Willow Bark Extract Powder in Bulk?
If you plan on using the white willow bark for the long term, it will be to your benefit if you buy white willow bark extract powder in bulk. This will save you money since you could get them at a discounted rate if you will purchase these products in large quantities.
But then again, make sure you deal only with a reliable white willow bark extract supplier to ensure that you are getting authentic products.