White willow

Salix alba

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Salix alba, or willow, is a deciduous tree and part of the salicaceae family. The willow tree generally grows to 25m and blooms April - May. It can be found near streams and rivers and in moist woodland areas. It prefers richer, wetter soil. 

Willow has been used for thousands of years to relieve fevers and joint pain and provides salicylic acid (the precursor to aspirin). Additionally it is used in treatments of the digestive tract, arthritis, gout, inflammation, and headaches. An infusion brewed with the leaves is taken to treat nervous insomnia. When added to bath water it can relieve widespread rheumatism. The inner part of the bark can be eaten raw or cooked as well as dried and ground into a powder. This powder can be added to cereals or used in breadmaking, however the llavour is reported to be very bitter, thus willow is only used as a nutrient source in times of extreme scarcity.