Willow bark extract is a substance that is obtained from the bark of willow trees. There are many different species of willows, and most of them can be used for willow bark extract. Willow bark extract is used to treat various conditions, mainly pain and inflammation.
The efficacy of willow bark extract has been proven in clinical studies, and its main active ingredient is salicin. When ingested, salicin is converted by the body into salicylic acid, which is also found in aspirin. This is the main reason that willow bark extract is used in lieu of synthetically produced medication for conditions such as fever, chronic pain, and inflammation.
There have also been studies conducted on the use of willow bark extract to treat heart conditions, to see if it has the same cardio protective effect that aspirin does. So far, more studies have to be done but it seems that willow bark may not be as effective as aspirin in this regard. It does present fewer negative side effects, though.
Salicylic acid is also used for skin care products as it acts to clear pores, to slough away dead skin cells, and to stimulate the production of new skin cells. So far, however, the tests that have been conducted only point to the positive effects of willow bark extract on the skin after it has been affected by acne. It does not seem that willow bark extract can stop the formation of acne.
There has been some talk about using willow bark extract to treat cancer but this has not been proven yet.