When the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans had pain, fever, pain, or swelling, they all reached for the same thing: white willow bark. White willow bark has been used medicinally for more than 20 centuries.

Its first recorded modern use was in England in the late 1700s, and by the mid- to late-1800s, scientists had discovered its active ingredient, salicin. In its herbal form, it has anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits similar to aspirin, for knee, hip, and low back pain.

In fact, in the late 1890s, a German company (Bayer) created a synthetic form of salicin in the laboratory called acetylsalicylic acid, which was then marketed under the brand name Aspirin.

The best part about white willow bark is that, unlike aspirin, it doesn’t cause ulcers, gastrointestinal or stomach bleeding, and other serious side effects commonly associated with aspirin. In fact, no toxic side effects have been reported.

If you would like to try white willow bark, the recommended dosage is 300 mg in capsule form twice a day with a meal. Just be sure to purchase a product that is standardized to 15 percent of the active ingredient salicin.