Willow bark trials for osteoarthritis
Two RCTs were found examining the effectiveness of willow bark in treating hip and knee osteoarthritis. Willow bark was well-tolerated by participants who received it in both RCTs. Lack of effectiveness was the most common reason for withdrawal.
In the first trial, 127 participants were randomised to receive willow bark (240 mg of salicin), 100 mg diclofenac (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) or a placebo once a day for six weeks.
- Participants who were on diclofenac had the best levels of pain relief.
- Those assigned willow bark didn’t significantly differ from the placebo group.
In the second trial, 78 participants were randomly assigned to either willow bark (240 mg of salicin) or placebo tablets once a day for two weeks. Participants taking willow bark achieved a 14% reduction in pain, compared to only 2% in the placebo group.