By Joseph Parish
Since the beginning of medical history mankind has embraced certain types of tree barks which have been praised for there value in reducing fever, inflammation or pain. These barks have one common ingredient which allows them to retain foothold in medical value. It is the most potent pain killer found in nature.
Illnesses ranging from arthritis, bursitis, fever, headache, inflammation, menstrual cramps, muscle aches, osteoarthritis, tendonitis, and trauma are only a few of the problems treated with a healthy dose of this natural salicin. You may be asking where this wonder drug comes from. It is the natural byproduct of a species of tree barks.
The use of this bark reverts back as far as the 1800's, when scientists managed to identify and then to extract salicin as the pain killing medication found in the bark. From there they went on to develop a synthetic version known commercially as acetylsalicylic acid. We all know this is the name given to our modern day "Aspirin".
Aspirin is the most commonly used pain reliever found in the world with yearly consumption reaching over 90 million pounds annually. Thatís a lot of aspirin. Although as consumers today we now use the synthetic version of salicin the original bark from the trees is just as valuable from the survivalist or preppers view.
In a survival situation knowing how to both harvest the salicin and to use it could be one of the most important survival skills that you could learn. Salicin is found in the inner bark of several species of trees including the Willow family. These plants include:
* American, Trembling or Quaking Aspen
* Big tooth Aspen
* White willow or European willow
* Black willow or the popular pussy willow
* Crack willow
* Purple willow
* Weeping willow
In addition, a very readily available source is the popular tree. Using the inner bark of a popular tree is the easiest method of creating a natural aspirin. Usually the younger trees make the more potent products. Poplar trees are a fast growing tree that can often gain as much as ten feet or more in a single season. They have large leaves which grow directly from the plants main stem. When the tree grows in size these stems will form branches from which the leaves become much smaller.
The salicin which we want to harvest is contained within the trees inner bark which is scientifically known as the cambium layer. This inner bark is considered the living tissue of this plant and is found between the rough outer bark and its hard wood.
In the spring or early summer it is a fairly easy task to peel the outer bark of the tree and chew it directly or if you so desire it can be steeped in hot water to create an aspirin tea. Cut in the bark, striping it off. It will appear to be very slippery allowing you to carefully peel it in long continuous strips.
During other seasons you may not be able to peel the bark so easily from the tree. In such case you will need to scrape off the inner and outer barks using a sharp knife. You will quickly notice that the smell and the taste of the poplar bark appear to be very aspirin like. It presents a bitter taste which is undesirable to many people. If you are in a hurry you could simply chew some of the bark in your mouth while swallowing the liquid. If the bitter taste is an issue, an alternative method would be to simmer two teaspoons of the bark in one cup of water for a period of ten minutes. Let the liquid cool and then strain and drink it. You can safely consume 3 or 4 cups of this drink on a daily basis without any undesirable effects.
If you use a product provided by Mother Nature keep in mind to use only what you need and leave the rest for others. Never deface a tree by removing bark from its main trunk but instead use the small branches in order to limit the amount of damage done.
Copyright @2010 Joseph Parish