White Willow – Salix Alba



Family: Salicaceae
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Part Used:

Buds & Flowers

NOTE: These indications are only for use with embryonic plant stem cell tissues. Adult plants do not have the same constituents, actions or applications in most cases.

The Salix alba is a rapidly-growing, deciduous tree that is native to Great Britain. It grows 30 to 80 feet tall and has numerous round, widely spreading branches. Branchlets are dark green to brown and are often covered with long, silky hairs. Its brown bark is thick and full of cracks, but green and smooth on smaller branches. The simple, alternate leaves of the Salix alba have toothed margins and are about 1.5 to 4 inches long and elliptical in shape. They are glaucous and bluish on their tops with grayish-white undersides that are covered with silky, silvery hairs. Yellow flowers blossom simultaneously with the leaves. Fruit is a capsule that bears seeds with basal hairs.

Edible uses include inner bark, leaves, and tea. Other uses include basketry, charcoal, paper, pioneer, shelter belt, string. Its elastic, soft wood is useful for construction, turnery, poles, tool handles, etc.

Justly famous as the original source of salicylic acid (the precursor of aspirin), white willow and several closely related species have been used for thousands of years to relieve joint pain and manage fevers.

The bark is anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antiperiodic, antiseptic, astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, hypnotic, sedative, and tonic. It has been used internally in the treatment of dyspepsia connected with debility of the digestive organs, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, inflammatory stages of auto-immune diseases, feverish illnesses, neuralgia, and headache. Its tonic and astringent properties render it useful in convalescence from acute diseases, in treating worms, chronic dysentery, and diarrhea. The fresh bark is very bitter and astringent. It contains salicin, which probably decomposes into salicylic acid aspirin in the human body. This is used as an anodyne and febrifuge. The bark is harvested in the spring or early autumn from 3 to 6 year old branches and is dried for later use.

The leaves are used internally in the treatment of minor feverish illnesses and colic. An infusion of the leaves has a calming effect and is helpful in the treatment of nervous insomnia. When added to the bath water, the infusion is of real benefit in relieving widespread rheumatism. The leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season and are used fresh or dried.
Willow bark has been used as a treatment for pain and fever in China since 500 BC. In Europe it was primarily used for altogether different purposes, such as stopping vomiting, removing warts, and suppressing sexual desire. However, in 1828, European chemists made a discovery that would bring together some of these different uses. They extracted the substance salicin from white willow, and this was soon purified to salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is an effective treatment for pain and fever, but it is also sufficiently irritating to do a good job of burning off warts.

Chemists later modified salicylic acid (this time from the herb meadowsweet) to create acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin.
As interest in natural medicine has grown, many people have begun to turn back to white willow as an alternative to aspirin. One double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found it effective for back pain; it is also used for other painful conditions such as osteoarthritis, bursitis, dysmenorrhea, tension headaches, migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, and tendonitis.

Aspirin and related anti-inflammatory drugs are notorious for irritating or damaging the stomach. However, when taken in typical doses, willow does not appear to produce this side effect to the same extent. This may be partly due to the fact that most of the salicylic acid provided by white willow comes from salicin and other chemicals that are only converted to salicylic acid after absorption into the body. Other evidence suggests that standard doses of willow bark are the equivalent of 1 Baby Aspirin daily rather than a full dose.

From the Complete German Commission E Monographs, research studies show willow to prevent inflammation, relieve pain, and to have anti-fever agents.

Evidence suggests that willow, taken at standard doses, is the equivalent of 50 mg of aspirin, a very small dose. Willow doesn't impair blood coagulation to the same extent as aspirin and also does not appear to significantly irritate the stomach. Nonetheless, it seems reasonable to suppose that if it is used over the long term or in high doses, willow could still cause the side effects associated with aspirin. All the risks of aspirin therapy potentially apply. For this reason, white willow should not be given to children due to the risk of Reye's syndrome. It should also not be used by people with aspirin allergies, bleeding disorders, or kidney disease, and it may interact adversely with "blood thinners," other anti-inflammatory drugs, methotrexate, metoclopramide, phenytoin, probenecid, spironolactone, and valproate.

Bach flower applications: For those who feel they have not deserved as great a trial as they have received; for those who feel resentful, bitter or are filled with self-pity as a result. The positive aspect of this remedy is positive outward thought and optimism. These applications also apply to Plant Stem Cell Therapy.


Abstracts of Published Research on White Willow – Salix Alba:

1. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2007 Jan 1;32(1):82-92
Herbal medicine for low back pain: a Cochrane review. Gagnier JJ, van Tulder MW, Berman B, Bombardier C.

2. Clin Drug Investig. 2006;26(5):287-96
Tanacetum parthenium and Salix alba (Mig-RL) combination in migraine prophylaxis: a prospective, open-label study. Shrivastava R, Pechadre JC, John GW.


Oligo-elements:

Cr, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, P, Se, Si. Ti, Zn.


Vitamins and Minerals:

A, B-1, B-2, B-3, C, Calcium.


Phytochemical Constituents:

4-O-Mehtyl-Glucuronoxylan, Apigenin, Ascorbic-Acid, Beta-Carotene, Catechin/Gallic Acid, Cellulose, Cyanidin, Fiber, Glucomannan, Glucose, Isoquercitrin, Lignin, Oenothein B, P-Coumaric-Acid, Quercetin Quercimeritrin, Rutin, Salicin, Salicortin, Salicylic-Acid, Salidroside, Starch, Tannin, Triandrin, Xylose.

Aspirin and related anti-inflammatory drugs are notorious for irritating or damaging the stomach. However, when taken in typical doses, willow does not appear to produce this side effect to the same extent. This may be partly due to the fact that most of the salicylic acid provided by white willow comes from salicin and other chemicals that are only converted to salicylic acid after absorption into the body. Other evidence suggests that standard doses of willow bark are 9 drops for the day, taken at 3 drops 3 x a day, which is the equivalent of 1 baby aspirin daily rather than a full dose.

Evidence suggests that willow, taken at standard doses, is the equivalent of 50 mg of aspirin, a very small dose. Willow doesn't impair blood coagulation to the same extent as aspirin, and also doesn't appear to significantly irritate the stomach. Nonetheless, it seems reasonable to suppose that if it is used over the long term or in high doses, willow could still cause the side effects associated with aspirin. All the risks of aspirin therapy potentially apply. For this reason, white willow should not be given to children due to the risk of Reye's syndrome. It should also not be used by people with aspirin allergies, bleeding disorders, or kidney disease, and it may interact adversely with "blood thinners," other anti-inflammatory drugs, methotrexate, metoclopramide, phenytoin, probenecid, spironolactone, and valproate.

Salicylates-Salicylic acid (SA)-Methyl salicylate (MSA) Salicylic Acid is a Plant Immune Hormone (PIH) in plants. It is an organic acid biosynthesized from the amino acid phenylalanine. Salicylic acid is a phenolic phytohormone and is found in plants with roles in plant growth and development, photosynthesis, transpiration, ion uptake and transport. It is derived from the metabolism of salicin. In addition to being a compound that is chemically similar to but not identical to the active component of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). Triggers systemic immune response. Acts as a mild antibiotic. Salicylates stimulate flowering and cause disease resistance in plants. Salicylates are now recognized as a growth regulator. They are thought to promote disease resistance, increase flower life, ethylene synthesis, and inhibit seed germination. They may also block the wound response and act antagonistically to Abscisic acid. Salicylates were first isolated from Willow by the French pharmacist Henri Leroux in 1829. This gave rise to the eventual development of the drug Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) by the German company Bayer in 1899. The first recorded use of salicylates dates back about 4,000 years to the Sumerians, who noted the pain remedies of the Willow tree on early clay tablets. White Willow (Salix alba L.) takes its botanical name from the Celtic word sal, meaning near, and lis, meaning water.

Salicylic acid (from the Latin word for the Willow tree, Salix, from whose bark it can be obtained) is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) with the formula C6H4 (OH) COOH, where the OH group is adjacent to the carboxyl group.

Salicin.jpg
Conversion of Salicin to Salicylic Acid

Modern research has given us an understanding of how Willow exerts its therapeutic effect. The bark and buds contains phenolic glycosides named salicylates, including salicin, which is responsible for the pain-relieving action.

Conversion of Salicin to Salicylic Acid
When ingested, salicin is hydrolyzed in the intestine and liver to saligenin, which in turn is absorbed and then oxidized to thetherapeutically active compound salicylic acid. Because of this conversion process, White Willow generally takes longer to act than aspirin,but the effects last for an extended period of time. Salicin provides a more sustained release of salicylate than acetylsalicylic acid (ASA - aspirin) itself. As a result, White Willow buds are very mild on the stomach and usually does not cause bleeding or other gastrointestinal discomfort that often occurs with aspirin usage. This water-soluble compound inhibits prostaglandins, which induce inflammation, pain, and fever.


Salicylates-Salicylic acid (SA) Biological Activities:

  • Suppress the proliferation in lymphoblastic leukemia, prostate, breast and melanoma in human cancer cells induce apoptosis
  • Potentiate NADPH oxidase-mediated reactive oxygen generation in some cancer cells to promote apoptosis
  • Anti-Cancer- Anti-Neoplastic; prostate, breast, ovary and colon
  • Triggers systemic immune response
  • Immune reporters response signaling pathways
  • Mild antibiotic and Antipyretic
  • Antifungal Agent
  • Anti-inflammatory drug NSAIDs and Analgesic
  • Works as a keratolytic by causing the cells of the epidermis to shed more readily, preventing pores from clogging up, and allowing room for new cell growth
  • Cyclo-oxidase-2 (COX-2) protein inhibitors
  • Salicylate equipotently suppress COX-2 induction
  • Potent EGF-R tyrosine kinase inhibitor
  • Prostaglandin inhibitor
  • The mild anti-clotting effect of natural salicylates provides cardioprotective benefits, Antiaggregant
  • Release of Natural Endorphins
  • Hyperglycemic, Hypoglycemic, Insulinic
  • Anti; Acne, Dandruff, Psoriasis, Calluses, Corns, Keratosis pilaris and Warts
  • Salicylic acid can be listed among antioxidants and phytochemicals

Evidence suggests that Willow, taken at standard doses, is the equivalent of 50 mg of aspirin, a very small dose. Willow doesn't impair blood coagulation to the same extent as aspirin, and also doesn't appear to significantly irritate the stomach. Nonetheless, it seems reasonable to suppose that if it is used over the long term or in high doses, Willow could still cause the side effects associated with aspirin. No risk ofstomach ulcer with Willow buds.

All the risks of aspirin therapy potentially apply. For this reason, White Willow should not be given to children due to the risk of Reye's syndrome. It should also not be used by people with aspirin allergies, bleeding disorders, or kidney disease, and it may interact adversely with "blood thinners," other anti-inflammatory drugs, methotrexate, metoclopramide, phenytoin, probenecid, spironolactone, and valproate.

Contraindications: Do not give to children or pregnant women. Do not use in patients or in known allergy to aspirin, anti-seizures medications, anti-inflammatory or bleeding disorders and not with Maidenhair - Ginkgo Biloba (buds)If you are taking blood-thinning medications such as Coumadin® (warfarin), heparin, Plavix® (clopidogrel), Ticlid® (ticlopidine), Trental® (pentoxifylline), or aspirin; methotrexate; metoclopramide; Dilantin® (phenytoin); sulfonamide drugs; spironolactone and other Potassium-sparing diuretics; or the antiseizure drug valproic acid: It may be wise to avoid combining white willow with these substances.. Salicylates are contraindicated in gout, as along with the above functions, they also lead to foster uric acid discharge in the kidney and have a mild diuretic consequence. Pregnant women and those with chronic gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcers, colitis or Crohn's disease should not use this herb.


Plant Stem Cell Therapy:
Polycrest all


Musculoskeletal System:

'P' Rheumatoid Arthritis,back pain and Osteoarthritis, gonarthrosis and coxarthrosis,Painful articular (joint) and muscular conditions, Bursitis, Tendonitis, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Bursitis, Tendonitis, Fibromyalgia, Anti-inflammatory, muscles contraction, pain reliever. Inhibit both the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. NSAIDs.However, willow extract did not show efficacy in treating rheumatoid arthritis.


Cardio Vascular System:

Helps to regulate blood pressure, headaches.Prevention of occlusive vascular events during acute evolving myocardial infarction (MI) and in primary prevention, or occlusive stroke. Angina, Weak heart.

References: Cardiovascular Research Institute, Mount Sinai Medical Center – Miami Heart Institute, Miami, FL, USA. January 2004, Vol. 5, No. 1, Pages 109-115, DOI 10.1517/14656566.5.1.109.


Neurological System:

'P' Headaches, Sciatica, Neuralgias.


Endocrine System:

The buds contain phytoestrogen is also a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor. Triandrin, a plant phytochemical, likely to start making headlines for its ability to act has a stimulant. A selective androgen receptor modulators. Muscle mass, strength, recovery, testosterone, anti-estrogen, anti-aging. Oenothein A1, B1 and B2 (14%), (are dimeric macrocyclic ellagitannins): for hair loss and prostate health. Oenothein B activity against 5 alpha-reductase (testosterone inhibitor) and aromatase, two enzymes which are involved in the etiology of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Oenothein A and B in the herb work to promote healthy cells and restore proper function and reproductive systems.


Infectious Diseases - Immunology:

Reduce fevers, and help overall immune function.. Innate immune systems provide immediate defense against infection which is what Salicylic Acid offers. By improving altered gastrointestinal immunity. Relieve sore throat, upper respiratory tract infections and influenza (1; 2). Anthelmintic. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Although controversial, there are increasingly compelling data that Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis “inflammatory” bowel disease (MAP) may be an etiological agent in some or all of IBD. Impairment in systemic and mucosal immune function is noted after hemorrhagic shock (HS). Overgrowth of gut microflora is common aftershock insults and may act as a reservoir for intensive care unit-acquired infections and subsequent remote organ failure. White willow direct pathogen response in the gut. Secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA), the principle immunoglobulin in intestinal secretions, is the first line of defense of mucosal surfaces. Salicylic acid helps in silencing certain protein in inflammatory bowel diseases. Evidence that suggests a natural antiviral role for RNA silencing in vertebrates as well as experimental approaches that may facilitate the identification of first mammalian viral suppressors of RNA silencing.

Chemical factors produced during inflammation (histamine, bradykinin, serotonin, leukotrienes also prostaglandins) sensitize pain receptors, cause vasodilation of the blood vessels at the scene, and attract phagocytes, especially neutrophils. The innate leukocytes include: Natural killer cells, mast cells, eosinophils, basophils; and the phagocytic cells including macrophages, neutrophils and dendritic cells.

Systemic acquired resistance (SAR) is a type of defensive response that renders the entire plant resistant to a broad spectrum of infectious agents. SAR involves the production of chemical messengers, such as salicylic acid or jasmonic acid. RNA silencing mechanisms systemic response, as they can block virus replication. A plant that makes high levels of salicylic acid SA all the time will be safe from infection but will grow slowly. A plant that makes little or no salicylic acid SA will grow like gangbusters but be very susceptible to infection. Research published in Science on 3 April 2009. The researchers also found that azelaic acid stimulates the production of AZ11, a protein that the researchers discovered. AZ11 helps prime the plant to build up its immunity by generating additional salicylic acid. (Professor Jane Glazebrook and her graduate student Lin Wang at the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Minnesota).

Tannins are also responsible for converting highly soluble protein into a by-pass (slow release) protein, digested in the lower gut and reducing the amount of Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) and Milk Urea Nitrogen (MUN) which contributes to compromised immunity. Plant secondary metabolites (PSM’s), which are produced by plants to protect themselves from the extremes of weather, ultra violet radiation, insects, diseases and excessive grazing. These PSM’s become a major component in the healthy metabolism and immunity of animals and humans that consume them. Veterinary Medicine: Eliminates Rye grass staggers which occurs in sheep, cattle and horses.

Oenothein B inhibits the expression of inhibits 1,3-beta-glucan synthase PbFKS1 transcript and induces morphological changes in Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. The fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis is the causative agent of paracoccidioidomycosis, the most prevalenthuman systemic mycosis in Latin America. The glycoside precursor Picein converted into a secondary metabolite monophenol p-Hydroxyacetophenone pHAP when plants are under mycosal attack, fungal infections were severely inhibited with 1mM pHAP. This may be a potential for human mycosal infections which salicylic acid is also known for. Phytoalexins.


Hematology Oncology:

Anticoagulant. 'P' Hemochromatosis. Chemo preventive agents against colorectal cancer. The mechanism of its cancer preventive action may be the suppression of inflammatory processes such as cyclooxygenase-2 expression, the inhibition of mitosis, and the induction of apoptosis at various stages in the progression and promotion of cancer.

Additionally, salicylic acid may be effective in reduction of risk of other cancers as well; including those of the prostate, colon, pancreas, upper GI tract and lung may be due to the fact that such tumors have high amounts of COX-2 enzymes expressed in them, especially adenocarcinomas and tumors caused by asbestosis. Salix Alba is known to inhibit both the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. Likewise, if there is a specific connection between COX-2 and lung cancer, other COX-2 inhibitors might also have the same effect.

Oenothein B, a macrocircular dimeric ellagitannin, was found to be a potent and specific inhibitor of poly(ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase. Oenothein B suppressed glucocorticoid-sensitive mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) transcription in 34I cells. This suppression was accompanied by inhibition of glucocorticoid-induced endogeneous de-poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of high mobility group (HMG) 14 and 17 proteins. These results suggest that de-poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of these proteins may be closely connected with the events initiating glucocorticoid-sensitive MMTV gene transcription.

Oenothein B exhibited a strong antitumor activity against MM2 ascites tumors stimulated release of an interleukin 1 (IL-1)-like activity and IL-1 beta from the cells. These results suggest that oenothein B exerts its antitumor effect through potentiation of the host-immune defense via activation of macrophages. Inhibitory activity against the metallopeptidases: neutral endopeptidase (NEP), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), and aminopeptidase N (APN).

Picein (p-Hydroxyacetophenone-D-glucoside): Their cytotoxic activities against brine shrimp and a human lung cancer cell line (H1299). Reported has being a strong regenerative agent.


Gi Digestion Hepatology:

'P' The high concentration of Oenothein B, a macrocircular dimeric ellagitannin, may be responsible for relieving gastrointestinal disturbances and reducing tumors of the esophagus, stomach, colon, and rectum. Salicortin is that a chronic (daily) in vivo dosing schedule is required for salicortin to produce an effective cytotoxic level in the tumor-bearing, against HCT-116 colon cancer. Therefore the studies done on salicortin will not move forward since they require high dosage but is a definite beneficial phytochemical in the prevention of colon cancersynergistically with salicin, salicylic acid.


Dermatology:

Topical Uses: P Excellent germicide and insecticide, mainly due to presence of Salicylic Acid and Methyl Salicylate content. These two components are excellent cures for eczema, ring worm and other skin diseases and infections. A regular external application (in low dosages) effectively reduces wrinkles and sagginess of the skin and the muscles. Bleaching action for the brown liver spots (chlosma) but not superior to betulinic acid concentrate. But mixing the two together: salicylic acid and betulinic acid and you have a very extremely effective bleaching complex. Its astringent property strengthens gums and hair. Anti Septic & Disinfectant: These are the two of the most important biological activities of embryonic White Willow buds for topical use. They also protect the skin from bacterial and fungal infections. Good as a mouth wash for sore gums, gargle for tonsillitis, hair rinse for Dandruff, Seborrhea, Scalp Psoriasis, Male Pattern Baldness, compress and poultice for burns, insect bites and wounds, foot soak for sweaty feet, corns, warts, decubitus ulcers.

Oenothein B anti- irritant and anti-inflammatory properties when applied to human skin and free radical scavengers (useful for treating exposure to free radicals such UV solar rays).

White Willow buds are as effective as the isolated or synthetic salicylic acid: Softens the skin layers that form a wart so that the wart can be rubbed off with a pumice stone or file. Repeatedly irritates a wart, which is thought to trigger an immune system response. A heightened immune response fights the human papillomavirus that causes wart growth. Salicylic acid can irritate or damage healthy skin surrounding the wart. As a prevention measure, cover the surrounding skin with a doughnut-shaped band aid when applying salicylic acid. If you experience discomfort with salicylic acid treatment, try applying it less often. Used in skin care as an astringent and has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic properties. It is also used to stimulate circulation.

Topical Use: For decubitus Ulcers, Oak – Quercus Pedonculata (buds) a few drops topically with White Willow – Salix Alba (buds) initially you must use it 4x a day; then once noticeable improvement reduce to 2x a day till ulcer is gone; approximate duration to completely heal is 60 days.


Renal – Uro Genital System:

Help soothe an irritated urinary tract especially post urinary Lithiasis. Also may lead to hyperuricemia, Gout which is one of the few contraindication of White Willow but these side effects have yet to be reported by the use of embryonic buds of White Willow. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Oenothein A and oenothein B, as the main constituents responsible for the inhibition of the two enzymes Inhibition of 5 alpha-reductase and aromatase. Its anti-inflammatory properties work quickly to shrink an enlarged prostate. Restore proper function of theurinary tract.


Dental:

A Toothache.

Note: Inhibits prostaglandins and does not cause the same gastric and in intestinal upset associated with synthetic aspirin. It is much safer to use these buds since they are just as potent and they also contain other plant hormones which work synergistically with the plant’s various biological activities.


Hematology Oncology:

Hemochromatosis. Chemo preventive agents against colorectal cancer. The mechanism of its cancer preventive action may be the suppression of inflammatory processes such as cyclooxygenase-2 expression, the inhibition of mitosis, and the induction of apoptosis at various stages in the progression and promotion of cancer.

Additionally, salicylic acid may be effective in reduction of risk of other cancers as well; including those of the prostate, colon, pancreas, upper GI tract and lung may be due to the fact that such tumors have high amounts of COX-2 enzymes expressed in them, especially adenocarcinomas and tumors caused by asbestosis. Salix Alba is known to inhibit both the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. Likewise, if there is a specific connection between COX-2 and lung cancer, other COX-2 inhibitors might also have the same effect


Environmental Medicine:

Removes mercury & heavy metals.

Note: Does not inhibit prostaglandins and does not cause the same gastric or intestinal upset that synthetic aspirin does. Much safer to use the buds and just as potent.

Warning: Do not give to children or pregnant women.