An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.


Willow, Black - Salix nigra - family: Siliacaceae (Willow Family).

This is a deciduous tree that grows to about forty feet high. It has finely-toothed slender lance-shaped pale green leaves. In the spring it produces pale yellow flower clusters (staminate catkins) on the male trees and pale yellow-green flower clusters (pistillate catkins) on the female trees. The female flowers are followed by small capsule fruits which contain its seeds. When the fruit capsules matures and dries, it bursts open and releases its down-covered seeds The buds and bark contains salicin, a form of salicylate, which is closely related to modern aspirin (Acetylsalicylic acid). Salicin is a bitter white crystalline glucoside with the chemical formula C13H18O7. The buds and bark have the highest concentration of the salicin. Traditional American folk use of bark as a remedy for fevers and arthritis pain. Modern European folk use of bark as a remedy for congestive heart failure, osteoarthritis and slipped disks. Modern American folk use as a remedy for heart disease, inflammation and pain in bursitis, repetitive strain injuries, tendinitis and sprains. Native to eastern and central United States.



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Web page last updated on 25 May 2003.