White Willow Bark, Ancient Native American Treatment For Pain
Well, here I sit, typing away while sipping on a cup of White Willow Bark tea. Yes, I know, that sounds as foreign to me as it does to you. And let me tell you, it taste like tree bark as well. Or a better description is that it has a soapy twang to it. I live in Georgia. We say twang. Despite the taste, I continue to sip away and I’ll tell you why. I’ve been trying ancient Native American herbal remedies every since my life took a turn for the worst and I had back surgery. Which failed by the way and left me with chronic pain that I will have to deal with for life. Until this point in my life, medicine wasn’t anything I thought about too much. I got sick, I took medicine. I got a boo-boo, I took medicine. I’ve since decided to change my way of thinking and that isn’t always easy to do because of my nursing profession.
It wasn’t until I started researching natural remedies that I even thought about the fact that Indians had access to and were using hundreds of herbs and plants as natural remedies. They didn’t have doctors, and nurses, there weren’t any hospitals and yet, they were thriving by treating their illnesses with ancient natural herbal remedies. It was when this realization really sunk in that I started trying natural remedies for pain relief. I’m still on a mission to find the right herbal option or options for my needs. Over the summer, I headed to an Indian Festival that was being held in our area and I asked about some treatment options for my back pain. I came home with White Willow Bark and have been sipping on it since. I purchased a nice hardy amount from The Creators Place as they had a booth at the Indian Festival. I grabbed their business card so I could share their website with you and so that I can try some of their other remedies after I research my treatment herbal options a bit more. I’m looking for multi-purpose herbs so I don’t have to ingest any more than I possibly need.
Please note that I discuss everything with my doctor before making any changes in my medicines. I saw my doctor the day of the festival to ask about trying White Willow Bark. I can’t stress enough how important it is to research anything you put in your body.
Because I don’t like the taste of the White Willow Bark tea (see instructions below on how to make it), I’m masking it with flavored teas and coffee. I don’t want the taste of it to be the reason I don’t try it so I took care of that obstacle right away. The first cup, I added 4 oz of brewed willow bark to a half a cup of strong coffee. I’ve since decided that I can tolerate it better with 4 oz of brewed willow bark and a cinnamon apple flavored tea bag or any other Lipton flavors. Thank goodness for Lipton’s herbal flavored teas. Other options would be to add honey or a cinnamon stick, whatever helps you get it down. FYI the willow bark runs $1.50 oz. That’s low enough to fit any budget.
To make White Willow Bark tea, I used 1 teaspoon of White Willow Bark per 8 oz of water. I haven’t determined yet if I need to increase or decrease that amount. I’ll keep you updated. Now you boil these two ingredients (water/willow bark) and let sit 5 minutes or longer. I put a lid on my pot to let it steep and then I use a strainer to keep the bark out. The bark will not hurt you, I’ve been told. In fact, Indians used to chew on it to relieve pain and inflammation. Personally, I don’t think I’d like it. I added a tea bag AND a spoonful of sugar…
A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down-wown
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way
The tea is a reddish color and really pretty even before I add my tea bag.
Just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you or me. We are all different and so are our illnesses or pains. It takes time and patience to find herbal treatments that work and I’m sure sometimes they may not work for some individuals. With persistence, I believe I can find the right treatment plan for myself and so far I’m my own best walking example of that; post op 4 years bed-bound and 17 specialists, later. I can now walk, sit, drive, and do quite a few things I did prior to my surgery, even though I can only do each of these for very short periods of time. There are things I’ll never be able to do again but I’m living outside of the bed once again and I’m trying to enjoy life without all of the chemicals it would take to keep my pain under control.
Here are a few photos from the Indian Festival that I’d like to share. Fun times in Georgia.
Have you every tried any ancient Native American treatment options? What did you try and how well did it work?