The salix alba bark extract is made from the willow bark tree which has substance known as salicin which has similar properties to aspirin which our body uses to produce salicylic acid that is a forerunner to aspirin. An extract of this bark has been used in alternative medicine as a way of relieving pain, fever and inflammation.
This particular bark has been used for a long time and the furthest we can date it back would be the 4th century in Greece where people would take a bark of this tree and chew it because it provided them with pain relief. It has analgesic and antipyretic properties which means that it provides relief from pain and reduces fever if it’s present.
In recent years this bark has been gaining popularity because it’s believed that it’s a great alternative to many of the best over the counter anti inflammatory drugs including Aleve, Advil and Aspirin. It’s also one of the best natural pain relievers for headaches and many practitioners of alternative medicine are using it to treat their patients. It also helps a lot if you have pain in the lower back, knees, and a few other conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Many people consider it as a good weight loss aid too.
Here are some of the health benefits, side effects, interactions with other medicine, and the proper dosage associated with using this extract.
Salix Alba Bark Extract Health Benefits
Low Back Pain
Individuals who are suffering from acute lower back pain might find this natural pain reliever to solve their problems. The research on it discovered substantial evidence that it may really help people who are suffering from this type of pain.
Researchers did an analysis and evaluated 14 studies where patients were treated with different herbs for lower back pain and they discovered that individuals who were treated with the salix alba continuously reported back that they felt a relief of their symptoms when contrasted to the placebo control group. They also realized that higher doses of the extract were better and more effective and that the results of pain relief aren’t instant and might take a week for any noticeable pain relief to kick in.
Even though this supports the health benefit this bark extract has on people who are suffering from lower back pain, more research is needed to be able to determine the effectiveness of the salix alba bark regarding lower back pain relief.
The salix alba bark extract can potentially help people who are suffering from arthritis but to be sure about this a lot more research is needed because the research that is available right now yielded mixed results.
One study that involved the salix alba bark extract that had 240mg of salicin was given to patients who has osteoarthritis every day and they showed 14% pain relief after two weeks of taking the treatment compared to the placebo group that had only 2% reduction in pain. Another study, however, involving 127 people with knee osteoarthritis who were given 240mg of salicin had an 18% reduction in pain while the group who took Voltaren which is a medication for this type of arthritis, had 47% reduction in pain levels. When they compared the results with the placebo group they concluded that the 18% pain reduction for people who took the bark extract was the same as the placebo group that took no medicine at all.
The research on whether or not this bark extract can increase weight loss isn’t conclusive although it suggests that if it’s taken with a combination of other drugs including Ephedra and cola nut, it might support weight loss in people who are obese or overweight. That being said, Ephedra is controversial drug because it’s deemed to be unsafe and has been banned in the US because of the damaging side effects it might have especially when it’s taken in combination with other drugs or healthcare products.
Because of the salicin content in the bark extract it’s used in many skin care products as the salicin has some properties that are able to regulate the genes in our skin. It’s also associated with regulating gene clusters which are linked to the skin aging process. The salicin that is present in this extract has a part in the creation of collagen which is maintaining the elasticity of our skin and prevents it from wrinkling.
A research that was done on 30 individuals who were between 40 and 70 years old and applied and extract that had 0.5% salicin had positive results after doing it every day for 12 weeks.
It’s believed that salix alba extract has the best anti inflammatory properties because of the amount of salicin it contains. People find it helpful when they have facial acne, sunburns and herpetic inflammation.
Research that supports this was done on 30 individuals that were 16-35 years old where 15 of them had oily skin and 15 had moderate acne skins. They applied cosmetics containing salicin to their skin for 14 days and showed great results at the end of the study.
Salix Alba Extract Possible Side Effects
While using this extract for a short time hasn’t shown any side effects and it’s perfectly safe, research into long-term usage of it isn’t very conclusive and it’s still unclear whether it’s safe or not. Since it has similar properties to aspirin it’s quite possible to have the same side effects especially if you’re using it a lot. Some of those unpleasant side effects may be vomiting, dizziness, gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney impairment, upset stomach, and liver toxicity.
It’s not recommended for teenagers and younger children because they might develop a condition known as Reye’s syndrome which is very rare but it can be fatal. Another group that should stay away from using this extract are new mothers who are still breastfeeding because they might unintentionally harm their newborn baby. As for pregnant women, there aren’t any studies done but it’s not recommended and much better to keep some distance just to be on the safe side.
Another possibility might be an allergic reaction to this bark extract. Since it has similar properties as aspirin, people who are allergic to it should also keep their distance from salix alba bark extract as well. It’s not certain that people allergic to aspirin will have an allergic reaction to the extract too but avoiding it is the smart way to go because it can lead to a serious condition known as anaphylaxis which, if untreated may cause coma, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, asphyxiation and even death.
Interactions With Other Medication
The extract of the salix alba bark might cause slow blood clotting which will make bleeding time longer so it shouldn’t be taken together with medicine that are anticoagulants and antiplatelet medicine such as Coumadin and Plavix because it may interfere with the purpose of the drug.
If you’re using salix alba bark extract and you have a scheduled surgery coming up, you have to stop at least 2 weeks before because it may cause your body harm making it bleed excessively during the surgery. People who have bleeding disorders should also avoid this extract.
The compounds in this extract are very similar to those present in pain killers including Discalcid and Trilisate so mixing this extract with them might cause some side effects like nausea, diarrhear, constipation or upset stomach.
Salix Alba Bark Extract Dosage
Basically, it’s safe to take this extract up to 400mg per day when used for a short time period if you’re looking for a relief of joint pain or muscle pain. Usually supplements with this extract are easily found on the market as capsules with already prepared dosages but they can also be found as powders and liquids where you need to be aware of the dose you’re taking so staying on 400mg per day or less is best for your safety and well-being.
Salix alba bark has been used for a very long time as a medicine that provided relief from pain, inflammation and symptoms of fever in many native cultures because of the salicin that it contains which our body turns in salicylic acid, a forerunner to aspirin.
This bark extract is believed to be one of the best natural pain relievers and has a lot of health benefits rivaling even the best over the counter anti inflammatory drugs available today. Although, more research needs to be done on this extract there’s some available that suggests it can help people who are suffering from arthritis and low back pain.
Some research suggests that combining salix alba extract with Ephedra and cola nut might help overweight and obese people lose weight but it’s not recommended because of the possible Ephedra side effects which can he severe and very harmful.