Leonard: Hurting All Over? Two Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Herbs Worth Trying

Doctor of Chiropractic
Los Alamos

Willow Bark is the active ingredient in willow tree bark is salicin, which was used in the 1800s to produce aspirin.

Salicin’s effects on pain take longer than aspirin to kick in, however some research points to the effects being longer lived.

Willow bark is considered a prodrug (metabolized to the active compound after ingestion) because it is converted in the lower intestine by intestinal bacteria to salicylic acid. Willow bark has been shown to reduce fevers, inflammation and pain.

“No serious adverse effects were reported from trials of willow bark extracts delivering 120-240 mg salicin (the purported active constituent) daily for up to 8 weeks. All studies involved adults only; none involved special subpopulations such as pregnant or breastfeeding women, or children.

The most common adverse effects associated with willow bark are gastrointestinal; a few allergic reactions also were reported. (Planta Med 2019 Nov; 85 (16): 1192-1202. H. Oketch-Rabah, R. Marles.)

Boswellia Serrata, one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine, has been used for thousands of years. Boswellia serrata, grows in the mountainous regions of India, Northern Africa and Middle East. Oleo gum-resin extracted from the Boswellia tree was traditionally used to treat various chronic inflammatory diseases such as asthma, arthritis and bronchitis.

Recent research shows that boswellic acids inhibit the production of inflammatory enzymes in the body. Beneficial effects demonstrated in human and animal research trials include reduction in joint pain with improved function and slowed growth of prostate tumors. Indian J Pharm Sci 2011 May-Jun; 73(3): 255–261. M.Z. Siddiqui

Boswellia serrata is likely safe when used in amounts commonly found in foods. But there isn’t enough reliable information to know if Boswellia serrata is safe to use in larger amounts as medicine when pregnant or breast-feeding. General side effects reported include GI upset and itching.

The recommended dose is 150-200mg/day of products containing a 60 percent boswellic acid concentration. Webmd.com

Disclaimer: Always consult with your physician regarding medication interactions and any health conditions you are diagnosed with prior to adding herbs to your daily regimen. Inform your physician prior to surgery about any herbs and supplements you are taking as some can increase bleeding.

About Dr. Laura Leonard:

Dr. Leonard’s practice focuses on posture and performance using a combination of soft tissue release, adjustments and exercise recommendations. She also coaches patients on nutrition, self-care and body awareness so they can manage themselves in between visits. Los Alamos Chiropractic Center is in the Mary Deal Building on Trinity Drive.


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