Part of the plant used: bark
Willow bark is the bark of the white willow, which is indigenous to Europe and North America. The Latin name of this tree was used to name salicylic acid, from which acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin) was developed. The bark contains several active principles such as glycosides, tannins, flavonoids. Salicilin, the constituent of interest, is first metabolized to saligelin in the digestive tract before being metabolized in salicylic acid upon absorption. Salicin is extracted from the bark of 2 to 3 year-old branches, harvested in early spring. Willow bark is associated with all of the properties of Aspirin. Several species of Salix can be used to collect salicin, but they have highly varying salicin content. Salicine standardized extract should be used.
Tea - 1 to 3 grams bark steeped in boiling water for 5 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.
Standardized salicin extract - 60 mg 1 to 4 times daily. Better results have been seen with a daily dose of 240 mg.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
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