Epilobium or Willow Herb (Epilobium parviflorum, Epilobium angustifolium)
Epilobium includes many varieties that are known collectively by the common name of Willow Herb. Often overlooked as weeds, they have small flowers that resemble wild geranium blossoms, although some of the other varieties have much larger, showier flowers. They like to grow in moist areas like marshes or places where the soil has been disturbed. Willow herb has a long history with the human race, having been used for both food and medicine. It is attributed to be a cooling, astringent herb that is useful for inflammation and problem with the urinary tract.
Key Medicinal Uses
Epilobium is used to treat prostate problems, bladder problems and bedwetting. It may also be beneficial to the kidneys.
Internally Traditional uses for this herb includes treatments for enlarged prostate, inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis), gastrointestinal disorders, kidney and bladder disorders, rectal bleeding, menstrual disorders, cystitis, urinary infections, diarrhea, mouth lesions and irritable bowel syndrome. Powdered epilobeum has been used to control internal hemorrhage. It has also proven useful in controlling urinary incontinence in both men and women.
Externally An ointment is made from the plant to treat children's skin problems. Epilobium angustifolia is sometimes added to cosmetics to help prevent and treat acne, and it is widely added to shampoos and skin cleansers. Therapeutic products for eczema, rosacea and other skin conditions often contain willow herb.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Epilobium is often combined with saw palmetto for prostate treatments. It is also often an ingredient in many commercial skin products.
Whole plant All parts of the plant are used, including the bark, the root, the flowers and the leaves.
Epilobium interferes with the hormone progesterone, so if you are pregnant, taking hormone replacement therapy or on birth control pills, you should avoid using this herb.
Preparation and Dosage
To make an infusion, use 1 heaping teaspoon of the dried herb per ¼ liter of water. Drink only two cups per day, one in the morning before eating, and the second a half hour before you eat dinner. To make the infusion, pour your boiling water over the herb and let steep for ten minutes. Strain before drinking.
This short steeping time is just right when you are making a tea from the flowers or leaves of epilobium. If you are making an infusion from roots or bark, use cold water and let steep for 12 hours. Heat slowly, and then strain before sipping slowly. Infusions should always be taken slowly.