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Salicylic Acid

By Karen Morris

Salicylic Acid is derived from the White Willow Tree, botanical name Salix alba, a large deciduous tree originating in Britain and Europe, but also naturalised in New Zealand and Australia. The White Willow Tree is commonly seen growing in moist grasslands, along stream beds and in and around marshes and swamp land.

For centuries Herbalists have used and prescribed preparations of the White Willow Tree to treat disorders requiring anti-inflammatory, pain and fever relief including musculoskeletal, respiratory and some nervous system conditions.

Among the active constituents contained in the chemical makeup of the tree are constituents that are eventually metabolised into what is known as Salicylic Acid.

Having anti-inflammatory, pain and fever relieving qualities, Salicylic Acid has been used as the basis for the manufacture of pharmaceutical products for internal use for over a hundred years, one very well-known product being Aspirin.

Salicylic Acid also has great value as an external treatment for some skin disorders and used in a concentrated form on the skin it acts as a skin softener and exfoliating, skin peeling agent. Due to its ability to work in this way Salicylic Acid has made its place in pharmaceutical and natural products alike and is used topically in liquids, pastes, gels and creams to treat various skin conditions including acne, some dermatitis, psoriasis, skin discolourations and also the gentle removal of corns, calluses, sunspots and warts.

While Salicylic Acid based products may assist with many conditions it is always advisable to be totally sure of the spot or disorder in question prior to any treatments by confirming a diagnosis with your Doctor, Natural Therapist or Skin Specialist.