Get to know the willow tree: its healing power and symbolism

When no there were medications based on aspirin and acetylsalicylic acid or salicylates willow tea was used to treat various health conditions . In fact, science itself has taken advantage of one of willow’s active ingredients, salicyline, to formulate aspirin.

The advantage of using willow as a natural remedy is that it reduces the risk of side effects and adverse reactions, thanks to its antioxidant compounds .

Thinking about this benefit, this content brings more information about this tree its properties, benefits and uses.


the willow It is a tree found mainly in Asia, Europe and North America.

There are hundreds of willow species which belong to the genus Salix inserted into the family Salicaceae .

The best known species of this genus are the white willow ( Salix alba ), black ( Salix nigra ), the brittle ( Salix fragilis ) and red bark ( purple salix ).

In Brazil, it is possible to see the weeping willow ( Salix x chrysocoma, Dode), a tree with long hanging branches that is a hybrid of white ( Salix alba, L. .), very common in Europe, with an eastern-looking species ( Salix babylonica, L. ).

Willow is most abundant in regions with temperate climate and humid soils .

Other names for willow

Willow is also known by other names, such as:

  • tears
  • sincere
  • wicker
  • parsley

Willow through history

Thousands of years before Christ, the Assyrians (4000 BC) and Sumerians (3500 BC) knew the medicinal properties of willow.

In 1829, the active chemical component of willow, salicin, was identified by French pharmacist Henri Leroux and Italian chemist Raffaele Piria.

The result of this investigation led to the aspirin formulation which resulted from the combination of salicin with acetate, giving rise to acetylsalicylic acid.

Traditional Willow Uses

One of the species of the genus Salix white willow has been used for over 5,000 years as a pain reliever.

In ancient Egypt, the bark of this tree was used for relieve fever, pain and inflammation .

Also in ancient Greece, doctors Hippocrates and Dioscorides prescribed this plant as a remedy against gout and joint and rheumatic diseases .

In North American Indian tribes, shamanic healers used white willow bark for their analgesic properties .

What is willow tea used for?

Traditionally, it is used in the form of tea for treat infections, inflammations and pain .

know why other problems is this tea good:

Low risk of toxicity

As mentioned above, the advantage of using willow as a natural aspirin is that it poses a lower risk of toxicity, and this was verified in this chemical test, the results of which confirmed low genotoxic activity.

This study demonstrated that several components contained in willow bark, including polyphenols and flavonoids, have a broader mechanism of action than aspirin, with the advantage that its use is no serious side effects and, unlike synthetic aspirin, willow bark no damages the gastrointestinal system. mucous membrane

Reduces headaches and migraine

In the past, people chewed willow bark to relieve pain such as pain head and the migraine .

This study demonstrated the remarkable effectiveness of tannin associated with white willow in reducing the frequency of attacks, the intensity and the duration of migraine pain.

Tansy ( tanacetum parthenium ) is traditionally used for treat migraine and in combination with white willow has been further improved its action, providing superior prophylactic activity in the treatment of this disorder compared to tannin alone.

Relief of arthritis pain and inflammation.

Salicin reduces the production of prostaglandins in the nerves and its anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce painful joint inflammation . Therefore, consumption of white willow bark can help suppress the onset or progression of arthritis.

This study demonstrated the positive effect of willow bark extract on the osteoarthritis treatment .

Lower back pain relief

This study found that willow bark extract may be helpful and safe in the lower back pain treatment .

It acts as an anti-inflammatory.

This in vitro study examined the anti-inflammatory effects of willow bark extract on human monocytes and macrophages and found that it served to treat inflammatory disorders .

It has an antiproliferative action

The antiproliferative effects (to prevent or delay the spread of malignant cells) from willow bark extract were demonstrated in this in vitro chemical analysis of human colon, stomach and prostate cancer cells.

Protect heart health

Doctors often recommend low dose synthetic aspirin for prevention and as first aid for cardiac disorders.

This is because synthetic aspirin helps reduce the risk of clots in the arteries .

By analogy, the willow bark salicylates they have the same benefit for the heart, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Fight menstrual cramps

In general, menstrual cramps result from inflammation of the uterine lining and contractions caused by the action of prostaglandins .

As already mentioned, willow bark regulates the production of prostaglandins and reduces inflammation, helping to relieve cramps.

The side effect of using willow bark during menstruation is that it can increase blood flow , since it has the property of diluting the blood. So, women with heavy flow they should avoid willow tea.

Improves skin health

The Antioxidant Compounds Found in Willow Bark and Their Properties to improve blood circulation They have beneficial effects on skin health by reducing the appearance of wrinkles and age spots.

How to make willow tea and how to take the tincture

Usually the bark it is used to make tea.

You can find this tea at herbalists , herbalists Where herbalists physical or online.

here is recipe for making tea :

willow tea recipe


  • 1 to 2 teaspoons willow bark
  • 1 cup water

How to prepare

  1. Put the water to boil.
  2. When it boils, add the crust.
  3. Let boil for another 5 minutes.
  4. filter and drink
  5. Don’t waste: use the bark as a soil fertilizer.


how to take the tincture

Willow bark can also be found in the form of dyeing .


To be used as a tincture, the recommended dose is 2 to 4 ml, up to 4 times a day.

Side effects

Even if no It carries as many risks as aspirin, willow should be used with care and correctly.

sensitive people may experience reactions such as:

  • headache
  • stomach ache
  • digestive system problems
  • prick
  • eruption
  • respiratory disorders
  • inflammation of the kidneys
  • hepatic imbalances
  • Ringing in the ears


The medicinal use of willow is contraindicated in the following cases case :

  • pregnant women
  • breastfeeding women
  • Children
  • People with gastric problems or ulcers
  • allergic to aspirin
  • People prone to bleeding disorders
  • People with kidney or liver disease.
  • who suffers from asthma
  • People who suffer from stomach ulcers
  • diabetics
  • who has gout
  • haemophiliacs (people whose blood no coagulated)
  • Those with hypoprothrombinemia (a reduced level of prothrombin in the blood, which can trigger bleeding)
  • Post-surgical patients
  • People using blood thinners or drugs that slow blood clotting

Warning: consult a doctor

If you use willow for medicinal purposes, consult a doctor first assess whether It exists some contraindication or interaction with other medications.

Willow Tree Symbols and Meanings

In addition to medicinal uses, willow has various symbologies What:

in Chinese culture

In China, it is a symbol of immortality because it grows even if planted upside down.

Even in ancient China sheets were placed covering the coffins of the deceased so that they can achieve immortality.

in the Jewish tradition

In the Bible, the willow is mentioned in Psalm 137:1-2:

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept, remembering Zion.

In the willows who are in the middle of it, we hang up our harps;

This tree is also traditionally used in the Jewish ritual called Sukkot (Feast of huts).

In Celtic astrology

The willow is one of the signs of Celtic astrology represented by trees.

People born under this sign They tend to be shy, melancholy, impressionable, empathetic, honest, art-loving, and capable of renewal.

Willow’s Teachings

Willows are flexible but strong trees, with leaves growing down and strong roots, which thrive in marshy areas or near the shores of lakes and rivers.

This tree inspires us to be resilient and keep faith in life, adapt to every change, no matter how difficult .

the hanging leaveswhich have given it the popular name of weeping willow, are associated with crying and sadness, and remind us to accept sad emotions and feelings and sublimate them in wisdom .

This tree reminds us that we can thrive in adverse conditions .

The willow teaches us that difficulties can awaken our potential and make us grow in consciousness.

Did you already know this beautiful tree? Tell us.

By Deise Aur. Article in Portuguese

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