Willow-Power

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he ability of willow bark to alleviate pain and reduce fever has been known for at least two thousand years. Traditionally, the bark of the white willow tree was collected in the springtime and soaked in cold water to extract the strong bitter liquid for medicinal use.

Research in Europe during the early 19th century indicated that the active ingredient in willow bark is a glucoside called salicin, which the body converts to salicylic acid. Chemists were able to manufacture salicylic acid for use as a pharmaceutical, and later further refined it to become acetyl-salicylic acid, which is now the world's most popular drug for pain -- ASPIRIN®.

Today white willow bark is again available in its natural form for those who wish to avoid drugs. Aptly named PainAway®, it may be purchased at health food stores. As a herbal analogue for A.S.A. preparations, it is an easy substitute with fewer side effects.

Comparative blood level studies show that salicin may reach peak levels in the body more slowly than synthetic salicylic acid, but that it stays active for a longer period of time.

Natural salicin has not been proven to have the cardiovascular benefits associated with ASPIRIN®, and so is not a substitute for it in that sense.

To reduce fever and the pain accompanying colds, flus and headaches, PainAway® is the natural solution. An added benefit is that it is available in easy to swallow Vegicaps®, which are cellulose based capsules that dissolve easily in the stomach.

The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia does not record any known side effects of standardized white willow bark, but to be on the safe side the same precautions which apply to the use of A.S.A. products should be observed. Catherine thanks you for your many letters, but regrets that she cannot answer any further correspondence at this time.

Catherine thanks you for your many letters, but regrets that she cannot answer any further correspondence at this time.

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By Catherine Myerowitz

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