There’s some evidence that the bark of certain species of Salix trees — commonly known as willow — can ease inflammation and arthritis-related symptoms.
Indeed, extracts from purple, crack, white, violet, and bay willow trees have been used for treating these conditions for centuries, according to Versus Arthritis, an arthritis charity in Chesterfield, England.
Salicin, willow bark’s active ingredient, can reduce the production of pain-inducing chemicals in the nerves, Qureshi says. It’s available over the counter in tablet form. While generally safe, it may cause stomach upset, increased blood pressure, and skin rashes, so you’ll definitely want to check with your doctor before using it.
Willow bark can also increase bleeding in people with bleeding disorders, and it should be used with caution by anyone already taking NSAIDS or blood thinners.