by Yohanan Burket
A few years ago, a study showed that taking aspirin reduced the risk of a heart attack. As a result, some people took excessive amounts of over-the-counter aspirin, which contains salicylic acid, damaging their stomach lining and causing bleeding. The drug called aspirin today is an artificial concoction that is supposedly superior to the pain killer used by people hundreds of years ago, namely White Willow bark.
Hippocrates is known as the father of modern medicine, and lived sometime between 460 B.C. And 377 B.C. He made use of the bark and leaves of the willow tree for pain relief.
Why is White Willow Bark a Pain Reliever?
The primary pain reliever in White Willow is called salicin, discovered in 1829. Other natural pain relievers must also be contained in White Willow bark because equal amounts of White Willow bark and the isolated salicin do not provide equal amounts of pain relief. The White Willow bark actually outperforms what would be expected as a pain reliever based on the amount of salicin it contains.
What is Wrong with Synthetic Aspirin?
Briefly speaking, much is wrong with synthetic aspirin. First of all, instead of using salicin derived from White Willow bark, it is further processed to produce salicylic acid in synthetic aspirin, which is an irritant to the stomach. Salicin is normally converted to salicylic acid in the body in a safe manner.
Because of its high acidity, the salicylic acid (or acetylsalicylic acid) needs to be buffered, and the buffer is usually calcium carbonate, hence the term “buffered aspirin”.
Uses for White Willow Bark
White Willow bark can handle all pain issues that synthetic aspirin can handle, including relief for headaches, muscle pain, and joint pain. The White Willow bark works by inhibiting prostaglandin production, where prostaglandins are body chemicals used for blood clotting and sensitizing nerve endings. Because White Willow bark desensitizes nerve endings, it is classified as a mild, non-narcotic analgesic.
Like the synthetic aspirin, White Willow bark should not be used if excess bleeding is an issue. Conversely, White Willow bark can prevent blood clots.
When Aspirin Should not be Taken
It is commonly stated that aspirin should be taken for fever or the flu, but in fact this is very bad advice. When the body develops a fever, it is for the purpose of destroying pathogens via heat. The only justification for taking a substance to reduce fever is when the temperature becomes excessive, say for temperatures over 104 °F (40.0 °C).
Aspirin was recommended for victims of the 1918 flu, with disastrous results. According to the New York Times, over-use of aspirin was discovered to hasten the demise of many suffering with influenza. Oddly, the New York Times could not figure out that many people died of aspirin because aspirin lowers body temperatures, making people more susceptible to succumbing to the virus. Heat from the body reduces the number of viruses.
In Europe, heat saunas are used specifically to induce an artificial fever to kill pathogens. A neat way to induce body heat is to take flushing niacin. I have used it on occasion to eliminate the common cold.
- The Evidence Against Aspirin And For Natural Alternatives. (dalternative.wordpress.com)