If you find yourself suffering inflammation but you neglected to pack aspirin, you may still be able to alleviate your suffering with the aid of some fresh willow bark. Learn how to steep some anti-inflammatory willow tea in the article below.
Before we go any further, I am going to explain what we are making and how it differs from commercial aspirin. Commercial aspirin is a chemical called acetylsalicylic acid (say that one three times fast!). What we will be making is simply an herbal tea that contains salicylic acid, which is the raw material from which acetylsalicylic acid is made.
Step 1: Learn to Identify Willow Trees
One little thing about herbal medicine to remember: If you have any doubt about the identity of a plant, don't use it. NEVER use a plant medicine unless you are 100% sure you have the right kind of plant. Using the wrong kind of plant can result in illness and/or untimely death.
There are basically four types of Willow trees.
The Weeping Willow
The Black Willow
The Golden Willow
The White Willow: Contains the most salicylic acid.
Once you have gotten a positive ID from an expert, you should be able to identify willow trees yourself from then on.
Step 2: Cut a Square of Bark
Once you are absolutely sure that you have found a Willow tree, you are ready to harvest the bark. Like all trees, the willow has an outer bark and an inner bark. The inner bark is what we want.
So, get a good sharp knife out and cut a square into the tree:
Make sure to cut it good and deep. Remember, you are trying to cut through both the outer bark and the inner bark. Go over your lines a few more times with your knife and deepen the cuts.
Now, just keep doing what you've been doing. When three sides are lifted free, you can just peel it.
Notice that some of the bark is white, and some of it is pinkish. The pinkish bark is what we want.
NEVER cut a ring all the way around the bark. Just take a square about as big as your palm, that is all you need for a single dose. If you take too much bark at one time, it can kill the tree. If you cut out a ring around the tree, it will definitely kill it.
Step 3: Making Willow Tea
First, put your pieces of bark on a coffee filter and bundle it into a makeshift teabag.
Now, you just throw your teabag into a pot of boiling water just like any other teabag.
Stir it periodically, and keep an eye on the color of the water. It will slowly begin to take on a deep reddish-brown color, almost like the color of blood.
After about 20 minutes, the tea should be ready. Don't overcook it or you will burn the medicine out of it. Once it is done boiling, let it steep a few minutes.
Now you just have to filter out any remaining solids.
Once you have squeezed all the liquid out, change filters and keep going until all the liquid has been filtered into your drinking glass. All you have to do now is add some sugar (if you want to) and drink the stuff.
You might be surprised when you find out that it tastes pretty good.
That's all there is to it. You just identify your tree, cut out a square of bark, make tea from it, and drink it.
As I said, this tea is excellent medicine for minor pains. I wouldn't recommend using it too often, as you can build up an immunity to it. I also would not recommend drinking more than one glassful at a time. As I said before, salicylic acid can be troublesome if you take it in large quantities, but you don't need to take it in large quantities, anyway. This one glass should be all you need. Of course, this crude aspirin is not that strong, as painkillers go.
If you are experiencing truly severe pain, this treatment probably won't make it go away (although it will probably help). This treatment will provide quick relief for minor aches and pains, just like its commercial counterpart, but it has the advantage of being 100% free and 100% natural.
Willow tea should have a dark pink color to be as effective as it can be. Keep in mind, this may be a little bit bitter, depending on the type of willow you used and how long you let it steep for. Just remember that old saying we all used to live by, “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”
This tea is actually much healthier than a typical aspirin, which is so concentrated that it may cause stomach bleeding. If you limit yourself to one serving of tea, it should be more than enough to help your inflammation without causing this problem.
This is an excellent article that reminds us that all we need for medicine can be found out in nature if we know where to look. To read more about willow tree uses, check out Wonder How To.