Tea in general is an incredible comfort. Whether you need something to soothe your throat or warm up your hands on a cold day, there is a tea for you. However, when you drink tea, you might be wanting benefits other than comfort. When trying to choose your tea, you might ask, “what are the benefits of willow bark tea?”
Willow bark tea is widely known as the best option for pain relief. Drinking some willow bark tea can help with issues like back pain, toothaches, and inflammation. However, there are some other benefits to sitting down with a cup of willow bark tea.
In this article, you’ll learn about willow bark tea’s benefits and what you can do to get the most out of it. In addition, you can read on to learn a little more about why willow bark tea is able to do things like reduce pain and inflammation without any harsh chemicals.
The Main Benefits of Willow Bark Tea
Willow bark itself has many uses, like being a great scalp exfoliator that can leave your hair feeling soft and refreshed. However, the most common way to use willow bark is to boil it and make tea.
When made properly, willow bark tea can reduce pain and inflammation. There is no evidence to suggest that this will be a game-changer for someone who suffers from issues like chronic pain, osteoporosis, or arthritis, it may still help to moderately dull the ache.
Willow bark tea can also be brewed into an herbal tea that is effective in relieving pain, so it’s an excellent tea for toothache pain.
How does Willow Bark Tea Work?
Willow bark tea contains something called salicin. Salicin is a chemical compound that limits the chemicals in your nerves that produce pain. The key word is limits: it doesn’t diminish them completely. If your pain is severe, willow bark tea won’t take it all away. However, if you slept in an awkward position and woke up with a stiff neck, it may help to eliminate your pain over a few hours.
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In addition to salicin, willow bark tea has other naturally occurring chemical compounds in it, such as:
- Flavonoids. Flavonoids are a plant’s greatest defense mechanism while it grows. Flavonoids protect against toxins and carcinogens in your body and are responsible for the anti-inflammatory benefits of willow bark tea.
- Polyphenols. Flavonoids are actually a type of polyphenol. They share many of the same benefits, though polyphenols also contain tannins, which can reduce blood pressure. Polyphenols, like flavonoids, also contain antioxidants that make willow bark tea a great addition to your routine for your hair, skin, and nails.
Humans and animals generally don’t produce these types of chemicals on their own. You can get these benefits into your diet by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. However, if you’re looking for pain relief specifically, willow bark tea is your best bet.
Are There Drawbacks to Willow Bark Tea?
Unfortunately, if you consume too much willow bark tea, there can be issues. It’s a natural blood thinner, so if you know you’re already taking a blood thinner for other reasons, you should avoid it. Taking too much can actually lead to issues like increased blood pressure and stomach pain.
The dose of salicin you get from willow bark tea isn’t very high, so it likely won’t have any negative effects or interact adversely with most medications. If you’re not sure if you should add willow bark tea to your routine, consult your physician.
Even with these potential side-effects, willow bark tea does not damage your stomach lining, which is a risk with prolonged use of over-the-counter NSAIDs like aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen. This means that you’re at a decreased risk for ulcers or internal bleeding. That is another benefit to using willow bark tea to manage your pain.
Preparing Willow Bark Tea
If you want to get the maximum benefits from your willow bark tea, you need to prepare it properly. Not simmering it for long enough will decrease its potency and therefore also decrease the benefits, but so will incorrect measurements. The best way to prepare willow bark tea is:
- Bring about two teaspoons of willow bark to a boil in eight ounces of water
- Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat and let your bark simmer for about ten minutes
- While simmering, prepare a jar with a coffee filter or cheesecloth over it
- Take your mixture off the heat and strain the liquid into the jar
- Let it sit for about half an hour, then pour into your favorite mug and enjoy
This will make eight ounces of tea. However, if you want to reach maximum relief, many recommend doubling or even tripling the recipe. Your tea will taste like warm bark water, as one might expect, so you can add some honey, maple syrup, or even cinnamon to help with the taste.
Willow bark is also available in capsules and tinctures if you don’t want to go to the trouble of brewing your own tisane or herbal infusion.
The Takeaway: Willow Bark Tea is Good for What Ails You
Willow bark tea is packed full of natural chemicals that make it perfect for pain relief and getting antioxidants into your diet. In addition, it’s great for warming you up on a cold day. As long as you make your tea properly, you should be enjoying these benefits quickly!