Home Remedies – Facts or Quacks?
That’s what I recently asked myself. Myths and legends often have their basis in a grain of truth. Are home remedies based on truth too? A little research provided this unusual perspective on one of our most frequently-used medicines.
Are We Barking Up The Wrong Tree?
Not if it’s a willow tree! Chewing on willow bark to reduce fever and inflammation dates back to the time of Hippocrates (400 BC). Willow bark was used as a medicine in China and Europe for centuries because of its ability to relieve pain and lower fever. Early American settlers even found Native Americans gathering bark from willow trees to treat the same conditions.
What’s So Special About Willow Bark?
Willow trees, including the white, black, purple and violet species, contain a chemical called salicin. Chewing or pulping this bark releases the salicin. Once the bark is ingested, the body converts the salicin from the willow bark into salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is still used today to treat fevers, decrease inflammation, and even help heart disease.
There’s no need to gnaw on a tree like a beaver every time you have a headache. Nor is it necessary for drug companies to plant, grow, and harvest groves of willow trees and remove the bark. Today salicylic acid is produced synthetically in chemical factories as little white pills of acetylsalicylic acid. Perhaps you know it by its more common name…
Introducing The Miracle Drug – Aspirin!
That’s right – centuries of chewing on willow bark led to the creation of one of our most widely-used medicines: aspirin. Once the amazing curative abilities of the active ingredient in willow bark were recognized, ways were found to mass-produce it as a cheap yet effective product.
Originally hailed as a wonder drug, aspirin was found to have multiple medical uses. It serves as a pain reliever, fever reducer, reduces inflammation, and even acts to thin the blood to help prevent heart attacks. That’s a lot of power in seemingly ordinary willow tree bark.
Amazingly, this was not a discovery by a single person. As we had discussed above, many groups of people around the world were using this home remedy (or even cave remedy!) for thousands of years. This is definitely one home remedy I would classify as a fact, not a quack.
It makes me wonder though: how many trees did they have to chew on before they found the right one?
You can find free home remedies using the resources below. They might not be miracle drugs, but they can help you avoid the cost and embarrassment of common illnesses.