Willow (Salix alba). Willow and the word witch came from the 
same old English word Wingle. The ancient order of Celtic priests 
the Druids used to sacrifice people in wicker (the Scandinavian 
word for willow) at full moon. Other cultures see willow at a more 
positive light. The ancient Egyptian regarded it a symbol of joy 
and the Chinese associates it with feminine beauty. The wood of 
willow is used to make cricket bats. The first recorded medicinal 
use of willow was by an English clergyman Reverend Edward 
Stone in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire in 1796. He tasted its bark 
and found it to be extraordinarily bitter but at the same time 
discovered that it has antipyretic and analgesic values. The active 
principle Salicin was isolated in 1827. The synthetic form was 
produced by a German chemist Dr. Felix Hoffmann in 1897 for the 
Bayer company and named aspirin. It blocks the enzymatic 
conversion of the fatty acid arachidonic acid to prostaglandins. It 
inhibits the aggregation of platelets and prolongs the bleeding time. 
It is recommended in patients with amaurosis fugax and its related 
compounds are useful in the treatment of ocular inflammation such 
as episcleritis and scleritis.