Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem- simmering October 3, 2014

Wake with the head ache.

Set willow bark shavings

simmering on the stove

fifteen minutes to a rich russet hue.

Steep for an hour, salicin leeching.

Sip all day the natural medicine.

Heal the head.




While I am a terrible gardener (I have no patience, and forget to water) I am intrigued with botanical medicines.  In Outlander, the character of Claire is an expert in this area, and author Diana Gabaldon has studied thoroughly to make her books accurate.  One of Claire’s stand-by medicines is willow bark tea, so when I saw willow bark for sale at the local health food store, I had to give it a try.  It’s not bad tasting (just like willow smells, if that makes sense) and it does sooth a head ache, as well as keeping you hydrated.


32 Responses to “poem- simmering”

  1. howardat58 Says:

    willow bark – salicylic acid – aspirin
    but willow trees in PR are so rare.

    • Exactly, but easier on the stomach.
      I bought mine from the health food store, though my neighbour does have a willow which graciously shares its leaves with us every autumn! (ha) I wonder if I could take his spring prunings (which also fall into our yard) and shave the bark for tea. Not sure if it’s a White Willow though.

  2. This is good information to have. Thank you.

  3. Willow bark is a great natural anti-inflammatory. I used to drink the tea for relief from lower back pain. It also does wonders for a sore stomach. 🙂

    • I was reading details on the University of West Virginia web site where they outline the scientifically supported claims (vs. placebo), and lower back pain is one of them. Good to know it’s not just anecdotal, isn’t it?

  4. Willow bark is extraordinary. Hope you have an herbalist, or two, nearby.

  5. I use Ginger Tea for my stomach. Hope you feel better soon. Please get rest. I thought about you yesterday while I was at the Brooklyn Museum. They have a Special Exhibit called Killer Heels. I actually saw some high heel Fluevog boots!! Talk about Kinky Boots! (No I did not see the Broadway Play of the same name) Take good care of yourself.

  6. Elouise Says:

    Fascinating! I never would have known. I love natural remedies. Thanks, Shawn.

  7. xoxosanaz90210 Says:

    Good fun fact (hope I remember it)! And I love this piece. Very smartly crafted.

  8. Needs to be Salix alba! Chamomile ( Matricaria recutita) and / or ginger root are just as effective for migraines / headache….

  9. I loved every single book. Thank you for trying it. I’ll buy some of I ever come across it. Peace and kindness I wish for you. Love, Sheri

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