Mother Earth Living

Make White Willow Bark Tea for Pain Relief

By Deb

Deb’s family owns a small herb farm and herbal skin care business in Porterfield, Wisconsin. It is there that they play and work with herbs on a daily basis.  Deb is a Master Gardener Volunteer, organizer of a local herb group, and a teaches herb-related and soap-making classes for a local technical college, folk school, and right on the farm. (

Earlier this morning, my husband and I went for a 6-mile run (or a slow jog) in preparation for a half marathon we have coming up in May. Now, I am not a runner with a thin build by any means, so a 6-mile run to me equals pain later. Typically, my husband would be offering me several blue pills for pain sometime later that day and I hate taking pills!

Today I am trying a new kind of natural pain reliever by making a tea of white willow bark. 

White willow bark is an effective ingredient in pain relief remedies.
Photo by Deb Doubek

White willow bark contains salicylic acid that is also found in aspirin. It is recommended that one drink 3 to 4 cups of this tea to benefit from its use. Although the tea may be slower acting than aspirin, it has longer lasting effects.

Start by adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of white willow bark to 8 ounces of water. I used 16 ounces and added about 4 teaspoons. Allow this to boil for about 5 to 10 minutes. Once it has boiled, turn off the heat and allow it to steep between 20 and 30 minutes. You will notice the herbs drop down to the bottom of the pan and the tea is taking on a beautiful red color.

First, steep the white willow bark. Then, strain the bark and use it for compost.
hoto by Deb Doubek

Once the bark is done steeping, strain the bark out and compost it. A coffee filter or mesh strainer will do the trick.

Now, white willow bark does have a strong flavor and truly tastes like the bark of a tree so I added a few cinnamon sticks and honey to my cup for flavor. In the future, I may add the cinnamon at the boiling stage and allow them to steep along with the bark. 

Add cinnamon and honey to your steeped white willow bark for a better tasting tea.
hoto by Deb Doubek 

If you have any medical conditions, please consult your doctor prior to trying white willow bark tea. It should be avoided by anyone under two, if you are pregnant, nursing, have flu or chickenpox, or on blood thinners. Always be sure to research the possible side effects of any herb before beginning its use. I, personally, enjoy drinking tea anyway so replacing a man-made pill with a natural alternative is a no-brainer for simple self-induced pain.

  • Published on Mar 14, 2011
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