Red willow is mixed with sacred pipe blends and is thought to make the link to immortality. This discussion of willow bark for medicine is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Unlike chewing on raw willow bark, the tea is not bitter at all. It has a woody, medicinal flavor and always numbs my mouth a bit.
This is because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome, a rare condition that causes brain and liver damage. Pregnant and breast-feeding women are also discouraged from taking any medication that contains salicylates. People with gastric ulcers should be especially careful with willow bark, in the same way that they would be cautious with aspirin, because too much could cause stomach bleeding. If you have an allergy to aspirin, it’s possible to have a reaction to willow bark as well. Willow bark can also interact with certain medications, like blood thinners and beta-blockers. Willow bark contains chemicals that might increase the amount of acetazolamide in the blood.
Its origins have been closely linked with Hippocrates, the famous ancient Greek doctor and so-called father of medicine. He’s said to have used willow for pain relief, inspiring the development of aspirin centuries later. This is the inner bark, carefully shaved from the stem after the outer “paper” bark is removed. Also called Cancasa or Chanshasha, Red Willow Bark is used in the sacred pipe either by itself or blended with other herbs such as Uva ursi and Mullein leaf. Our Red Willow Bark, Cornus stolonifera, is hand-picked by a First Nations family in Canada, and is hand-processed with love, respect and prayer. Lakota and Dakota people pray with ċanśaśa to the Four Directions and Ťuŋkaśila .
This is a high quality product harvested in an environmental and sacred way, as it must be to be used to it’s potential in ceremonies. This herb has many uses, ceramonial and otherwise, but predominantly is for personal protection & well-being. A personal favorite of mine due to the instantly ‘warming’ effect it has, can be extremely helpful for anyone feeling alone or insecure. The bark works well in incense and was an important ingredient in sacred smoking ceremonies.
It’s also been widely used throughout history to help treat inflammatory conditions such as bursitis and tendinitis, as explained as Penn State Medical Center. Willow bark can be especially helpful for fevers when combined with cooling herbs, such as wintergreen or peppermint, in essential oil form or tea. It also seems to affect prostaglandin production, reducing inflammation that leads to pain like cramps and also fevers.
Drink one cup and wait several hours before taking another dose to make sure you don’t react poorly. White willow bark extracts are generally standardized to salicin content, which means their strength/potency depends on how much salicin the extract contains. The more salicin, the more pain relief that the extract should provide. This is the most basic way to reap the salicylic rewards of willow bark, and it’s the same method my grandfather taught me when I was a boy. Simply find a willow, peel off 3-4 small, 2-inch strips of bark from a young branch or shoot, chew the strips, and swallow the juices . Now, I’m not going to lie — the taste is incredibly bitter , but it’s simple and effective.
It also helps us think of these products as safe, beneficial and part of a long healing tradition. So when we find ancient references to willow, we think ancient people natural remedies weedmaps discovered salicin before us. Willow bark and leaves were used in some ancient medicines. However, these were often used externally, rather than swallowed.
The Ancient Egyptians used this bark to treat pain and inflammation, whilst Hippocrates and Dioscorides recommended it as a remedy for gout and rheumatic joint diseases. Native American healers also relied on White Willow bark for its analgesic properties. Painful menstrual cramps are usually the result of inflammation of the uterine lining and the contractions which are triggered by prostaglandins. As we know Willow bark regulates the production of prostaglandins and reduces inflammation, it will help to soothe not only cramps but other PMS symptoms. The only side effect to using this remedy could be an increase in the flow of blood due to its blood thinning effects.