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Aspirin From a Tree

The inner bark of poplars and other trees related to willows can be used just like aspirin for fevers, as a pain reliever, and to reduce the swelling of injuries. The inner bark contains the compound related to aspirin called salicin.

In a wilderness survival setting, knowing how to harvest and use the salicin in tree bark is the most valuable natural medicine knowledge you can have.

Salicin concentrates in the inner bark of trees and shrubs related to willows which include:

Populus tremuloides, : Quaking, Trembling or American Aspen (northern & western North America) Populus grandidentata: Bigtooth Aspen (eastern North America, south of P. tremuloides)white willow/European willow (Salix alba)black willow/pussy willow ( Salix ***** )crack willow ( Salix fragilis )purple willow ( Salix purpurea) weeping willow ( Salix babylonica )

During the spring and early summer it is an easy matter to peel the bark from trees and either chew it directly or steep it in hot water to make a tea. Simply cut into the bark and strip it off.

The smell and taste of poplar bark is very aspirin-like and bitter. You can chew a mouthful of bark and swallow the liquid if you are in a hurry and don't mind the taste.

An alternative is to simmer about 2 teaspoons of the inner bark in cup of water for ten minutes and let cool before straining and drinking. Three or four cups of this bark aspirin tea can be consumed daily.

As with anything you harvest from nature, take only what you need and leave the rest. Do not deface a large tree by removing bark directly from its main trunk. Instead remove small branches so as to limit damage.
 

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All the weeping willows in my neighborhood are use along the shoreline to keep Lake Erie back, excellent root structures. Will have to try them for asprin some time.
 

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I am a little teapot
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Do you have to be careful not to eat too much? I know you said 3-4 cups a day is ok but will consuming too much make you sick?

That is a heck of an idea though, and I certainly didn't know about it before you posted.
 

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White willow is considered the best pain killer compared to the others. Supposed to have the most salicylic acid in it. That is why it is the most usual one you will find when you look for herbal in the health food store.
You can also use a cold brewed tea of the bark as a rooting hormone for plants that you want to root and propagate.
And while willow and other tree extracts are better for you you can take too much. You should limit your intake of white willow to about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the shredded bark steeped in hot water (about 1 1/2 quarts)take a cup every 6 hours- it is a blood thinner so folks with other medical problems should be really careful.
 

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performing monkey
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White willow is considered the best pain killer compared to the others. Supposed to have the most salicylic acid in it. That is why it is the most usual one you will find when you look for herbal in the health food store.
You can also use a cold brewed tea of the bark as a rooting hormone for plants that you want to root and propagate.
And while willow and other tree extracts are better for you you can take too much. You should limit your intake of white willow to about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the shredded bark steeped in hot water (about 1 1/2 quarts)take a cup every 6 hours- it is a blood thinner so folks with other medical problems should be really careful.
Aspirin originally was derived by boiling the bark of the white willow tree. Although the salicin in willow bark has analgesic properties, purified salicylic acid was bitter and irritating when taken orally. Salicylic acid is neutralized with a sodium base to produce sodium salicylate precipitate, which is better tasting but still irritated the stomach. Salicylic acid can be easily modified to produce phenylsalicylate, which is better tasting and less irritating, but I don't recommend it because it releases phenol which is toxic and damaging when metabolized. The active ingredient in today's aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid.

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salicylic acid (C7H6O3) + acetic anhydride (C4H6O3) --> acetylsalicylic acid (C9H8O4) + acetic acid (C2H4O2)
 

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