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
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Web page last updated on 25 May 2003.