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Salix alba

Hippocrates, Galen, Pliny the Elder and others knew willow bark could ease aches and pains and reduce fevers. It has long been used in Europe and China for the treatment of these conditions. This remedy is also mentioned in texts from ancient Egypt, Sumer, and Assyria. The first "clinical trial" was reported by Reverend Edward Stone, a vicar from Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, England, in 1763 with a successful treatment of malarial fever with the willow bark. The bark is often macerated in ethanol to produce a tincture. The active extract of the bark, called salicin, after the Latin name Salix, was isolated to its crystalline form in 1828 by Henri Leroux, a French pharmacist, and Raffaele Piria, an Italian chemist, who then succeeded in separating out the acid in its pure state. Salicylic acid, like aspirin, is a chemical derivative of salicin.

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