© Joseph Dougherty. All rights reserved.
Brightly colored willow (Salix sp.) twigs stand out against the sparse snows of late autumn. 8900 feet elevation, near Lake Tahoe.
The leaves and bark of the willow tree have been mentioned in ancient texts from Assyria, Sumer and Egypt as a remedy for aches and fever, and the Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates wrote about its medicinal properties in the 5th century BC. Native Americans across the American continent relied on it as a staple of their medical treatments. This is because willows contain salicin, a substance that chemically resembles aspirin. It temporarily relieves headache, stomachache, and other body pain. Salicin is metabolized in to salicylic acid in the human body, which is a precursor of aspirin.