Botanical name: Salix alba Habitat: typical of wetlands and marshes throughout continental Europe.
Plant parts used: bark Active ingredients and nutrients: salicin
Therapeutic properties: Willow is a plant with anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic properties. These activities are attributable to its content of SALICIN which, once ingested and following intestinal and liver metabolism, is converted into salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid carries out its analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activities through the inhibition of the cyclooxygenase enzyme, that is of the enzyme deputed to the transformation of arachidonic acid in prostaglandins responsible for the onset of inflammation, fever and pain. Salicin, therefore, can be considered as a sort of pro-drug.