The bark of the common Willow tree, also known as the Pussy Willow, is the source of a wide range of phenolic glycosides, of which the most important is is salicin. Like Aspirin, indications for Willow bark include mile feverish colds and infections (influenza), acute and chronic rheumatic disorders, mild headaches, and pain caused by inflammation.
Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), a synthetic replacement for salicin, has potentially dangerous gastrointestinal side effects. In its natural form, salicin passes harmlessly through the gastrointestinal tract, becoming saligenin and glucose. The saligenin is then converted to salicylic acid in the blood and the liver. The conversion process takes a few hours, so results will not be felt immediately, but are usually sustained for several hours.
Caution: If you are pregnant or nursing please check with your health care professional before using Willow bark. Individuals who are allergic to salycylates should avoid Willow bark.