willow tree

Historical Background

The use of Willow Bark (Salix Nigra) dates back to the time of Hippocrates when patients were advised to chew on the bark to reduce fever and inflammation. Willow bark has been used throughout the centuries in China and Europe and continues to be used today for the treatment of pain, headache and inflammation.

Ancient Egyptians used the bark of the white willow to treat pain and inflammation. Hippocrates and Dioscorides recommended willow bark as a remedy for gout and rheumatic joint diseases, but it fell into disuse in Europe during the Middle Ages. Kuan-Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion, is often depicted holding a willow branch as a symbol of healing.

Native American healers also relied on willow for its analgesic properties. The English clergyman Edward Stone rediscovered the therapeutic value of willow bark in 1763. Willow bark has been used to treat many different kinds of pain, including rheumatic pain, back pain, toothache, headache, and menstrual cramps. It is also used to relieve sore throat, fever and headache associated with upper respiratory tract infections and influenza.

The bark of the willow contains salicin, which is a chemical similar to aspirin and is thought to be responsible for its pain‐relieving and anti‐inflammatory effects. Willow Bark Extract is derived from the bark of both the black and white willow tree.

How is this ingredient useful for my skin?

Willow bark extract contains anti-inflammatory salicin, a type of salicylate, willow bark is a source of salicylates (specifically, salicin), which may then be chemically converted into salicylic acid, but is not salicylic acid itself but a related substance. Salicylic Acid is classed as a ‘Phenolic Aromatic Acid’ PHA not a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) as commonly stated. PHAs (Polyhydroxy Acids) carry similar effects of AHA without the possibility of skin irritation, PHA is more compatible with sensitive skin, has better moisturisation activity and enhances skin barrier function.


  • Natural anti-inflammatory – Properties alleviate acne and irritation – Salicin has been shown to diminish wrinkles
  • Salicin – Helps to reduce the appearance of pores, evening out skin tone while promoting increased firmness
  • Active Ingredient – Providing consistent levels of salicylic acid
  • Help to enhance cell turnover – Natural salicylates will enhance skin cell renewal without irritation
  • A natural exfoliant – Salicin sloughs off dead skin cells and clears pores to reveal a more radiant, clear complexion
  • Acts as a natural anti-microbial agent
  • Natural Plant Based – Alternative for synthetic salicylic acid
  • Helps to protect – Collagen and aids in restoration


Botanical Name: Salix Nigra
White Willow Bark: Potentially Active Chemical Constituents

  • Glycosides (1.5-11%): salicylates (salicin, salicortin, populin, fragilin, tremulacin)
  • Tannins (8-20%) a higher concentration than in almost any other plant
  • Aromatic aldehydes and acids: salidroside, vanillin, syringin, salicylic acid, caffeic and ferulic acids
  • Salicyl alcohol (saligenin)
  • Flavonoids

Tannins – Are phenolic compounds found in many herbs and common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb. Tannins are astringent and are traditionally used topically to treat wet or oozing skin conditions such as poison ivy and eczema.
Flavonoids – Are type of polyphenol, high in antioxidant properties helping fight free radicals, flavonoids help diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Effective in protecting the skin’s barrier from environmental damage, think UV Rays preventing DNA damage. Flavonoids have even been shown to inhibit photodamage after UV exposure.

CONCLUSION: As both the Founder and Formulator of Human & Kind {organics} my man focus is sourcing active ingredients from plant based sources which are certified organic. Willow Bark Extract is a source of natural salicylic acid-like ingredient, which has been shown to contribute effects similar to those seen from synthetic salicylic acid with none of the drawbacks associated with its use, primarily skin irritation. Incorporating Willow Bark Extract into Superb Serum [face] is a safe and gentle way to get the benefits of a ß-hydroxy acid (BHA) without the skin ‘downtime’ of recovering from irritation.

until next time..

be human | be kind | be you

founderGabrielle is the founder and creator of Human & Kind {Organics} The aim of my blog is to share information to educate the reader with the latest research on skin health. I believe we can all achieve beautiful, radiant, healthy, glowing skin without using products containing toxic chemicals which will damage your skins microbiome. Certified organic (ACO) skin care is better for your skin health and the planet Earth.


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Działo, M., Mierziak, J., Korzun, U., Preisner, M., Szopa, J., & Kulma, A. (2016). The Potential of Plant Phenolics in Prevention and Therapy of Skin Disorders. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17(2), 160. http://doi.org/10.3390/ijms17020160

Posted by:Human & Kind {organics}

Human & Kind Organics Premium Australian Certified Organic Skincare | Non-Binary | No Plastic | Vegan | Pro-Ageing | This is my BLOG to help Educate Curious People. be human | be kind | be you.

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