Willow Tree Research Paper

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The Medicinal Properties of the Willow Tree Overview The willow tree has been used since ancient civilizations for its ornament, erosion control, timber, and especially its bark. The story of the willow tree dates to Hippocrates, 4000 BC, when people were advised to chew on the bark of a willow tree to lessen inflammation and reduce fever. The bark of the tree contains a compound called salicylic acid, which is a common ingredient in aspirin and is known for a multitude of medicinal effects ranging from something as simple as a pain-reliever to disease prevention. This paper focuses on the history of the willow tree, its anatomy, and its medicinal properties in relation to disease prevention. Willow Tree Anatomy The willow tree is of the genus…show more content…
Philosophically, the importance of the willow tree has come a long way since the Assyrians (4000 BC) and Sumerians (3500 BC), who had seen its medicinal benefits. The first documented use of willow bark as an analgesic was recorded by Hippocrates in 4000 BC. The evolution of the willow tree’s use as a medicinal treatment occurred first with the question of the clinical potential of willow, then the discovery of the structure of salicin, and finally the chemical synthesis of salicylic acid and aspirin. The pharmacological component of willow bark, salicin, was discovered in 1838 by Raffaele Piria, an Italian chemist. Piria’s discovery of salicin led to further discoveries of the use of the compound and eventually to the synthesis of aspirin in 1893 by Felix Hoffman.For thousands of years, herbalists have looked to nature in order to solve various ailments. Although ancient people had difficulties finding the correct dose of herbal medicines for various ailments, their failures and successes aided future generations in discoveries that piggy-backed on the ideas of their predecessors. The use of willow has evolved since our ancestors first discovered it, and it is now used to derive medicines that are able to treat and prevent modern diseases (Mahdi et al.…show more content…
Aspirin is considered a “polydrug” due to its variety of uses stretching from pain-relief to disease prevention. Salicylic acid is derived from the bark and leaves of the willow tree. Salicylic acid belongs to a group of phytochemicals which have been shown to have positive effects on human health. Salicylic acid is a phenolic compound that can be found in a variety of plants and is a crystal organic carboxylic acid. However, it is more commonly viewed as the primary metabolite and active compound of acetyl salicylic acid, which has been used as an anti-inflammatory drug by physicians for over 100 years. Recently, it has been discovered that prophylactic use of acetyl salicylic acid can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. (Sammuganathan et al,

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