Willow Bark Tea

Willow Bark for headaches, fever, pain, and inflammation

Willow provides relief from pain, fever, and inflammation, without the stomach upset that chemical aspirin causes.  It is plentiful and easy to collect in the spring.

How to harvest willow bark for medicine

Strip the bark from the young branches of Salix varieties of willow in the Spring just before the sap begins to run, when the branches are rich with their new spring colour.  This is the easiest time to separate the bark from the branch. You can simply start at the base of the cut edge of the branch and peel it upwards toward the tip. The bark will peel off in strips.  You can recognize Salix varieties by their brightly coloured bark in early spring — usually yellow, orange, or flaming red.

Sustainable Harvesting

When foraging Willow bark, it is important to only take a small strip (2 inces max), per branch and only from 3 branches, (or stems) per bush.  Never cut deeper than the cambium or inner bark, it comes off smoothly.  This technique mimics deer browsing on willow bark and ensures there is enough for everyone.  Pussy Willow (Salix discolor Muhl.) is the most recognizable Willow here in Southern Alberta.

For tea/decoction

Once the strips of bark are harvested, allow to dry at room temperature in a dry, and airy spot, stirring frequently until it is fully dry before placing in a jar and storing in a cool, dry place.

Dosage of willow to replace aspirin with herbal remedies

You might take three to four cups of tea made by simmering 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried bark in 8 ounces of boiling water for 15 minutes.


Ask your doctor about the correct dose of willow bark or aspirin before taking either remedy.

Courtesy of Joybilee farm