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Salix sp.

Salix sp.                              Common name: Willow
Family:
Salicaceae

Parts used: Bark (dried from 2-3 year old branches)

Constituents: Phenolic glycosides – Salicylates (salicin, salicortin, tremulacin, populin, fragilin, salireposide, trirandrin, vimalin), Aromatic aldehydes and acids (salidroside, vanillin, syringa-aldehyde, syringin, salicylic, vanillic, syringic). Flavonoids (isoquercitrin, naringin), Tannins (8%-20%), catechins, coumaric acid

Medicinal actions: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, febrifuge, bitter, astringent, antiseptic, anti-rheumatic

Medicinal use: Salix sp. is used in a variety of conditions with symptoms of fever and pain. It’s analgesic effects are slower than that of aspiring, but of longer duration and without the gastric side effects. Mild flus and colds with fever, mild headaches and other pain caused by inflammation are indications for this plant. Salix sp. has been used for various forms of arthritis for centuries and is specific for RA and other systemic connective tissue conditions with inflammatory changes. Conditions with inflammation pain such as anyklosing spondylitis, gout, muscular rheumatism, joint pain, OA, osteoporosis, tendinitis, sprains, sciatica and neuralgia it can be of great use. It should be noted that the irreversible inhibition of platelet aggregation seen with aspirin cannot be induced by Willow. 

Pharmacology:

  • Inhibition of cyclooxygenase accounts for anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, and analgesic effects.
  • Salicin is analgesic & anti-inflammatory. Is metabolized to saligenin in the bowels, then absorbed and metabolized to salicylic acid, which is has aspirin-like effects without irritating the gastric lining. 
  • Salicylates and also uricosuric and promote blood clotting time and plasma albumin binding.

Pharmacy: Dried bark: 1-3 g, TID (the effective dose of salicin is 60-120 mg/day). Decoction:  2-3 g/cup, simmer 20 min, TID. Tincture (1:5, 25%), 5-8ml TID.

Toxicity: Side-effects are not expected when using the whole plant. High doses may cause gastric & renal irritation. Persons with known hypersensitivity to salicylates may experience a reaction (urticaria, rhinitis, asthma, bronchial spasms).

Contraindications: Avoid in children with the flu due to Reye’s syndrome (theoretical)

Interactions: Avoid while using aspirin or other salicylate containing substances, alcohol, barbitutates/sedatives, NSAIDs, anticoagulants, methotrexate, spironolactone, phenytoin, valproate medications.

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