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“One of the traits of the willow tree is its flexibility. It has strong branches that are flexible and can bend without breaking. The trunk and roots symbolize our connectedness to the Earth and the importance of being firmly grounded.” —Carrie Armstrong
This June, we’re sharing one plant description every Friday from Alberta plant guides. Today’s “Flora Fridays” feature comes from Mother Earth Plants for Health and Beauty: Indigenous Plants, Traditions & Recipes by Carrie Armstrong.
This book features twenty-six edible and medicinal plants that you can gather in nature as Carrie and her grandmother did. Create a luxurious and natural beauty regime by crafting your own lotions, soaps, and teas from all-natural ingredients. From stress-busting teas and bath bombs to skin-smoothing lotions and creams, get vibrant skin and a healthy glow with Carrie’s creations based on her grandmother’s traditional teachings.
Willow (Bark) • Nêpisê
I love the willow plant. It is naturally anti-inflammatory and astringent. The active ingredient in the medicine made from willow bark is called salicin. Some people use willow bark as an alternative to aspirin. As a tea, this plant is amazing for the relief of body aches and pains and for arthritis, but if you make a strong brew, you can also apply it as a facial treatment. It will naturally brighten your skin (the salicin helps reduce fine lines and removes dead skin) and will also help reduce any inflammation, making it a great acne treatment as well. After cleansing your skin, apply some of the liquid to your face with a cotton ball. Avoid applying close to your eyes. Leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes. It may begin to tingle, as the salicin begins to break down the dead skin cells. Rinse well and apply moisturizer.
- 250 mL distilled water
- 45 mL white willow bark
Bring the water to a simmer. Add the willow bark and cover. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 1 hour. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth. Store the liquid in a glass bottle in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
Warning: People who are sensitive to aspirin should not take willow internally. Large amounts will irritate the stomach.
Children should not take willow because there is a risk of Reye’s Syndrome.
From Mother Earth Plants for Health and Beauty: Indigenous Plants, Traditions & Recipes by Carrie Armstrong. © Eschia Books 2020. Used with permission from Eschia Books.