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Author Topic: Is the Willow symbolic in any way?  (Read 2068 times)

Offline seacommander

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Is the Willow symbolic in any way?
« on: 03 February, 2012, 07:04:05 AM »
Apart from being one of the, or the, original sources of salicylic acid, is the willow symbolic in any way in relation to care of the sick? It has just dawned on me that at two hospitals I have been to recently the willow is part of the name of units within those hospitals - at one it is residences and at another the occupational health department. Or, is this just a coincidence?
« Last Edit: 03 February, 2012, 08:27:25 AM by seacommander »

Offline siasl

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Re: Is the Willow symbolic in any way?
« Reply #1 on: 03 February, 2012, 08:34:25 AM »
I wonder how many buildings there are that have trees as names of conference rooms, units & a variety of other things? I used to live in a hall of residence that had houses with that naming pattern...

Offline seacommander

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Re: Is the Willow symbolic in any way?
« Reply #2 on: 03 February, 2012, 08:40:30 AM »
I wonder how many buildings there are that have trees as names of conference rooms, units & a variety of other things? I used to live in a hall of residence that had houses with that naming pattern...

I take your point Ant, however, in these cases willow is not one of a series of names based on trees. But my gut feeling is is that it is just a coincidence - but you never know....

Offline antonymous

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Re: Is the Willow symbolic in any way?
« Reply #3 on: 03 February, 2012, 08:41:51 AM »
Cant find any medical connection apart from the one you quote - however the chinese regard pussy willow sprigs highly as a harbinger of spring , the Lunar New year, and prosperity, whilst in the east european churches, catholic and orthodox it is used as a substitute for palm fronds on Palm Sunday.
In the Czech republic at easter the young unmarried girls make up whips from willow twigs and have the charming custom of using them to assault the posteriors of eligible young men they fancy!(TRUE!) :o
« Last Edit: 03 February, 2012, 08:51:53 AM by antonymous »
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Offline antonymous

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Re: Is the Willow symbolic in any way?
« Reply #4 on: 03 February, 2012, 08:54:37 AM »
I wonder how many buildings there are that have trees as names of conference rooms, units & a variety of other things? I used to live in a hall of residence that had houses with that naming pattern...

I take your point Ant, however, in these cases willow is not one of a series of names based on trees. But my gut feeling is is that it is just a coincidence - but you never know....

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Offline seacommander

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Re: Is the Willow symbolic in any way?
« Reply #5 on: 03 February, 2012, 09:01:50 AM »
I wonder how many buildings there are that have trees as names of conference rooms, units & a variety of other things? I used to live in a hall of residence that had houses with that naming pattern...

I take your point Ant, however, in these cases willow is not one of a series of names based on trees. But my gut feeling is is that it is just a coincidence - but you never know....

*How did I get in here?

Apologies Ant - I'm beginning to wake up now!!! And apologies to siasl. If you could each virtually shout from time to time to keep me awake please.

Offline antonymous

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Re: Is the Willow symbolic in any way?
« Reply #6 on: 03 February, 2012, 09:12:51 AM »
I APOLOGISE I HAVE BEEN MISLED BY TWO CZECH GIRLS I HAD STAYING WITH ME AT EASTER!
In fact its the other way round:
"Boys make a special handmade whip, in Czech called pomlazka, and decorate it with colored ribbons at the end. This whip consists of eight, twelve, or even twenty-four willow twigs, depending on the skills of the boy. Surprisingly enough, the more twigs, the more difficult it is to braid the whip. They are usually from half a meter to two meters long!

On Easter Monday it gets more interesting. In the morning, boys walk from door to door to spank the girls on the legs with their whip. It is to say, that the whipping is rather symbolic. The symbolism is easily traced from the Czech name of the Easter whip – pomlazka, which comes from the world pomladit or “make younger” in English.

It is believed that the freshness, youth and strength of the twigs is passed to the women on this day. Every woman thus wants to be whipped in order to keep her health and beauty during the whole next year. Unvisited females can even feel offended. It is therefore almost a duty for all boyfriends and husbands to whip their loved ones with Easter whip!

The boys accompany the whipping with a special Easter carol, usually asking for an egg or two. The girls “reward” them with an Easter egg or tie a ribbon on their whip. The more eggs or ribbons boys have, the better."

I still have the pomlazka they used on me!
« Last Edit: 03 February, 2012, 09:27:14 AM by antonymous »
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imfeduptoo

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Re: Is the Willow symbolic in any way?
« Reply #7 on: 03 February, 2012, 09:13:06 AM »
There are countless references to the willow being used for healing purposes, but also, names or trees, shrubs and flowers are used everywhere for roads and houses and complexes so it may be coincidence.

But then again, countless trees, shrubs and flowers are used for healing so maybe it's not.

On a herbal level, willow bark has been used for its pain-relieving qualities for at least 2,000 years. The Salix alba (white willow, withe, withy) contains salicin, which is converted to salicylic acid in the body. Salicylic acid is closely related to aspirin, the synthetic drug that has displaced willow bark from popular use. Willow bark reduces fever and relieves rheumatism, a common ailment in these damp isles. A decoction can be used for gum and tonsil inflammations and as a footbath for sweaty feet. The bark is collected in the spring time, being careful not to ring the tree or it will die. The decoction is made by soaking 3 teaspoons (15ml) of the bark in a cup of cold water for 2 - 5 hours. Then bring to the boil. Strain and take a wineglassful each day, a mouthful at a time. The bark can be dried, powdered and stored in an airtight container.

Black willow (Salix nigra) is the pussy willow and has black bark as opposed to the light greens of the white willow. Its properties are much the same, but herbally it was used in the past as an aphrodisiac and sexual sedative.

Goat willow or sallow willow (Salix caprea) is used in very much the same way as the white willow, but sallow bark tea is recommended for indigestion, whooping cough and catarrh. It can also be used as an antiseptic and disinfectant.

Culpeper says in his Complete Herbal "The moon owns the willow" and it was known as the witches' tree and the tree of enchantment. Robert Graves suggests that witch, wicker and wicked are all derived from willow. Willow rods are certainly used for binding magical and sacred objects and the popular witches' broom is traditionally made with an ash handle and birch twigs bound with willow

http://www.whitedragon.org.uk/articles/willow.htm

In folk medicine, Willow has long been connected with healing. A tea of willow bark was used to treat fevers, rheumatism, coughs, and other inflammatory conditions. Nineteenth century scientists discovered that the Willow contains salicylic acid, a synthetic version of which is the primary pain-relief ingredient in Aspirin. In addition to its use as a healing herb, Willow was also harvested for wicker work. Baskets, small curricles, and even bee hives were constructed with this bendable, flexible wood.

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/thecelticogham/ig/Ogham-Symbol-Gallery-/S---Saille.htm

White willow bark has been used throughout the world as an antipyretic and analgesic.
Since the development of synthetic acetylsalicylic acid in the 1890’s, willow bark has fallen into
disuse and has not undergone rigorous scientific evaluation. The concentration of salicin is
actually much lower in willow bark than in other Salix species. The high concentration of tannins
in willow bark (8-20%) usually leads to gastrointestinal toxicity before therapeutic
concentrations of salicylates are achieved. Willow bark does not appear to affect coagulation and
has not been evaluated for use in preventing colorectal cancer, strokes or myocardial infarctions.
Its topical use as an analgesic and wart remover appear safe. Caution suggests avoiding willow
bark in children with influenza or varicella to minimize the risk of Reye’s syndrome, and in
patients with asthma, allergies to aspirin, active peptic ulcer disease, diabetes, or hepatic or renal
disorders. There are no data evaluating its safety during pregnancy or lactation.

http://www.longwoodherbal.org/willowbark/willow.pdf