White Willow Bark – Salix alba
White Willow Bark has long been used in Europe and China. The active extract of the park is called salicin, from which salicylic acid, like aspirin, is derived. Salix alba (white willow) is a species of willow native to Europe and western and central Asia. The name derives from the white tone to the undersides of the leaves.
It is a medium-sized to large deciduous tree growing up to 10–30 m tall, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter and an irregular, often-leaning crown. The bark is grey-brown, and deeply fissured in older trees. The shoots in the typical species are grey-brown to green-brown. The leaves are paler than most other willows, due to a covering of very fine, silky white hairs, in particular on the underside; they are 5–10 cm long and 0.5–1.5 cm wide. The flowers are produced in catkins in early spring, and pollinated by insects. It is dioecious, with male and female catkins on separate trees; the male catkins are 4–5 cm long, the female catkins 3–4 cm long at pollination, lengthening as the fruit matures. When mature in midsummer, the female catkins comprise numerous small (4 mm) capsules, each containing numerous minute seeds embedded in white down, which aids wind dispersal.
Country of origin: Europe
Safety: Do not use if you have an allergy to aspirin.
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