Last update: March 7, 2019
Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended.
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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Due to the high content of salicylic acid, which is excreted in breast milk, there is a theoretical risk (unpublished) of causing Reye syndrome in the infant.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.
Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
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