white willow

Popular names: silver willow, willow, willow, willow.

WHITE WILLOW (Salix alba L.)Tree of the willow family (Salicaceae), up to 30 m in height, trunk up to 1 m in diameter. The crown is spreading, the branches are often drooping. The bark of young trees is light gray, while that of old trees is dark gray or almost black, cracked. Trunk with dark gray bark. The branches are thin, flexible, yellowish or reddish, glabrous. Leaves on short petioles, lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, finely glandular-serrated along the edge, silvery silky. The plant is dioecious. The flowers are small, collected in erect earrings (they are often called “seals” among the people). Men’s earrings are cylindrical, long, women’s are shorter and thicker. Earrings bloom at the same time as the leaves. The fruit is a single-celled bivalve box with small seeds. The seeds are covered with hairs. Blossoms in April, fruits ripen in May. Distributed throughout the CIS, with the exception of the Far North. It grows in floodplains, along roads, near houses, along the edges of floodplain forests on fertile, moist soils. In Greece, willow was dedicated to the goddess of ghosts and witchcraft, Hekate, also the queen of the gods, the mighty Hera. Weeping forms of willow were a symbol of sadness and grief. In Egypt, willow was also burned in funeral pyres along with oak and hazel, which symbolized the power, wisdom and charm of the deceased. In the Christian religion, Palm Sunday is one of the most important holidays in the calendar. It was one of the 12 most significant holidays of the Orthodox Church, falls on the Sunday preceding Easter, and is dedicated to the event of the Evangelical history – the entry of Christ into Jerusalem. The inhabitants of the capital greeted Christ by throwing palm branches at his feet. In Russia, the holiday later received the name of Palm Sunday, since by this time the willow was blooming. In addition, there was a belief that willow has magical properties: it protects from evil spirits, troubles and accidents. Therefore, its consecrated branches were kept in houses, and sometimes even her earrings were eaten with porridge.


For medicinal purposes, the bark is traditionally used, less often male catkins of willow. The bark is collected from young trees or branches in April – May before the leaves unfold (at this time the bark peels off well from the wood). It is dried in attics under an iron roof, in well-ventilated rooms, scattering it in a thin layer or in special dryers at a temperature not exceeding 40 ° C. The shelf life of raw materials is 4 years. Men’s willow catkins are harvested during the flowering period and dried in the shade.


The plant has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antipyretic, analgesic, tonic and hemostatic effects.


The bark of the trunk and branches. Astringent, hemostatic, disinfectant, antipyretic, diuretic. In folk medicine, infusion, decoction and powder inside – for dysentery, gastritis, colitis, dyspepsia, gout, internal bleeding, women’s diseases, migraine, neuralgia, diseases of the liver and spleen, cystitis, pleurisy, fever, neuroses, tuberculosis, typhoid, articular rheumatism and bedsores; externally for rinsing the mouth and throat, with tonsillitis, stomatitis, gingivitis, periodontal disease; for foot baths with varicose veins, sweating, hyperhidrosis and skin diseases; for dressing bleeding wounds. Before the discovery of quinine, the bark was used as an antimalarial agent. Leaves. Decoction – with severe intestinal bleeding and menorrhagia, as an antipyretic. Flowers. Infusion – as an antipyretic.


♦ Decoction of willow bark: 10-15 g of crushed bark is poured into 200 ml of hot boiled water, closed with a lid and heated in boiling water (in a water bath) for 30 minutes, cooled at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, then filtered. Take 1 tablespoon 3-4 times every day.


The bark of the roots is suitable for tanning fishing tackle, and the wood for pulp production. Wood is very flexible, it is used as a building material for the production of bent products. The trunks are sawn into box boards, small boats, shuttles, troughs and wells for watering holes are hollowed out of them. From thick rods they build premises for sheep (koshara) and pens for livestock. Branches are a good material for coarse weaving products, fences. The bark of the trunk and branches – for tanning leather (back in the 90s of the last century, the consumption of willow bark to obtain a particularly valuable variety of leather – yuft – reached 300,000 tons annually) and dyeing wool, silk and leather in red-brown and yellow colors . Bast fibers are used to make ropes and ropes. Young branches and leaves can serve as food for sheep and goats. The bark and kidneys in veterinary medicine (infusion and decoction inside) – as a fixative, antipyretic and hemostatic, and a decoction of inflorescences for nephritis. Valuable as a spring supporting honey plant. Gives a large number of early nectar and pollen bribes. Sometimes honeydew of animal origin and glue are collected from it. Widely used as an ornamental plant. It is indispensable in protective afforestation during afforestation of ravines, riverbeds, reservoirs, ponds and reservoirs.

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