White willow bark is traditionally used as an all-purpose pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. It supports joint health, as well as for alleviating occasional headaches in healthy individuals. The bark of white willow contains salicin, which is a chemical similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). In combination with the herb’s powerful anti-inflammatory plant compounds (called flavonoids), salicin is thought to be responsible for the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of the herb. Because is acts a lot like aspirin, it is used for pain, including headache, muscle pain, menstrual cramps, fever, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis, gout, and a disease of the spine called ankylosing spondylitis. Willow bark is considered to be a safer and natural alternative for those who can’t stomach the side effects of aspirin.