Medicinal Shrubs and Woody Vines: Salix, Willow


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,690 admin

    We too often think of a plant for one main use, in this case as the precursor for aspirin. But there are usually many other uses, as you have pointed out. I'm surprised that St. Hildegard's opinion of willow, although it is considered a cooling herb.

    We have 51 listed species of willow in BC plus 3 non-natives that are trying to establish themselves outside of their plantings. Willows are truly escape artists.

    Not all grow in my region but many do. Its often hard to identify them as individual species because they seem to be quite indiscriminate in their breeding habits, producing many hybrids. I am learning to tell some of them apart, although it doesn't seem to matter about the species. They all contain similar constituents.

    Sure is tannic to the taste! If I am suggesting it to people, I will usually tell them to try capsules. I can't imagine having to drink even a couple of cups of the tea per day. The tincture isn't any better but at least its a smaller amount and could maybe be hidden in something like a strong tasting juice.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,498 admin

    I want to get some of the basket/wicker willow and red osier dogwood growing soon - dual use for medicine and baskets.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,186 ✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 Quite interesting—-I enjoyed reading the uses for willow and wondered why St. Hildegard had such an opinion about Willow!

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,498 admin

    I really have no clue. Her entire system of herbal medicine was quite different from the Greek tradition, but shared the same idea of humors. That is somewhat of an energetic system and it seems the cooling properties and bitterness of Willow may have been the issue.