Last update March 7, 2019


Low Risk

Moderately safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.

The bark of the willow tree contains salicylic derivatives (salicin) in varying amounts depending on the type of willow tree (1% in Salix alba to 12% in Salix purpurea) and the season of the year in which was collected.

There is a good level of evidence regarding its antitermic, anti-inflammatory and anti allergic properties (EMA 2017, Desborough 2017, Cameron 2009, Sagnier 2006, Chrubasik 2002, Blumenthal 1998).

At the date of this last update we did not find published data on its excretion in breast milk.

Gastrointestinal hemorrhage has been described in a 4-year-old boy who took a syrup containing meadowsweet and willow bark, both rich in salicylates (Moro 2011).

Due to the high content of salicylic acid, which is excreted in breast milk, there is a theoretical risk (unpublished) of causing Reye syndrome in the infant.

Until there is more available and published data regarding this plant and breastfeeding it could be wise to avoid or have low and occasional consumption during lactation, specially during the neonatal period or in the case of prematurity.

Precautions when taking plant preparations:
1. Make sure they come from a reliable source. Cases of poisoning have occurred by mistaking one plant with another with toxic properties, also due to heavy metals extracted from the soil and from contamination with bacteria and fungi (Anderson 2017).
2. Do not consume in excess. Follow recommendations from experts in phytotherapy. “Natural” does not mean that it can be consumed freely and in any amount. Plants contain active substances from which much of our traditional pharmacopoeia comes from and therefore can be a cause of poisoning or act as endocrine disruptors (contain phytoestrogens: Powers 2015, Zava 1998) if used in inappropriate quantity or duration.

See below the information of this related product:

  • Aspirin (Moderately safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.)


  • Ibuprofen ( Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.)
  • Paracetamol ( Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Willow is also known as

Willow in other languages or writings:


Willow belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Willow in its composition:


  1. Desborough MJR, Keeling DM. The aspirin story - from willow to wonder drug. Br J Haematol. 2017 Abstract
  2. Anderson PO. Herbal Use During Breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Abstract
  3. Powers CN, Setzer WN. A molecular docking study of phytochemical estrogen mimics from dietary herbal supplements. In Silico Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 22;3:4. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  4. Moro PA, Flacco V, Cassetti F, Clementi V, Colombo ML, Chiesa GM, Menniti-Ippolito F, Raschetti R, Santuccio C. Hypovolemic shock due to severe gastrointestinal bleeding in a child taking an herbal syrup. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2011 Abstract
  5. Cameron M, Gagnier JJ, Little CV, Parsons TJ, Blümle A, Chrubasik S. Evidence of effectiveness of herbal medicinal products in the treatment of arthritis. Part I: Osteoarthritis. Phytother Res. 2009 Abstract
  6. Gagnier JJ, van Tulder M, Berman B, Bombardier C. Herbal medicine for low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Abstract
  7. Chrubasik S, Pollak S. [Pain management with herbal antirheumatic drugs]. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2002 Abstract
  8. Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998 Abstract
  9. Blumenthal M. The American Botanical Council. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Ed. Integrative Medicine Com. Boston. 1998

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