Willow herb (Epilobium parviflorum) is a perennial herbal plant. It has thick rhizomes with short shoots at it base. The stem is tall and cylindrical with hairs. It has narrow-lanceolate leaves which are small and sharply toothed. The flowers of willow herb are small and red-purple in color with four petals, eight stamens and a stigma with four lobes.
The fruits of willow flower herb are elongated capsules which contain seeds that are covered with numerous silky hairs. Willow herbs usually bloom between June and August.
Phytochemical Composition of Epilobium parviflorum
The chemical composition of willow herb can be classified accordingly as follows:
These include Kaempferol, Kaempferol-3-O-rhamnoside, Kaempferol-3-O-glucoside, Quercetin, Quercetin-3-O-rhamnoside, Quercetin-3-O-glucoside, Quercetin-3-O-galactoside, Myricetin, and Myricetin-3-O-rhamnoside.
Ellagic, Gallic, Protocatechuric, Syringic, Vanillic, Curinamic, Caffeic and Ferulic acids.
Oenothein A and Oenothein B.
The fatty acids include Oleic, Linoleic, α-linoleic, Palmitic, Stearic and Arachidonic acids.
6 Amazing Health Benefits of Small Flower Willow herbs
Small flower Willow herb contains 6 amazing health benefits that are in high demand.
Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Willow herb is used in the treatment of RA and other inflammatory diseases. Just like Monkey sugarcane, Willow herb contains various groups of kaempferol compounds which suppresses NF-kB inflammatory response by blocking its signaling pathways. Kaempferol also regulates the production of IFN-ϒ and IL-2, both of which are pro-inflammatory factors.
Aside Kaempferol compounds, small flower willow herb also contains Quercetin compounds. Quercetin suppresses the NLRP3 elevation in RA synovial tissues. It also inhibits the release of cytokines and decreases lipopolysaccharide-induced cyclooxigenase (COX-2). It antagonizes bone resorption by suppressing NF-kB and AP-1 activities.
Fig. 1. Chemical structure of Kaempferol
Treatment of Hepatitis Infection
The Oenothein B component of the Tannins present in Willow herb inhibits hepatitis C virus (HCV) invasion. Hepatitis C is a liver infection, which can be transmitted through blood contact with infected objects or through sexual transmission. When left untreated, HCV can cause serious damage to the liver.
Fig. 2. Chemical structure of Oenethein B.
Treatment of Tumors
Another benefit of Willow herb is in the treatment of tumors. The Oenothein B in Small flower Willow herb serves as an immunomodulator and antitumor substance. It carries this activity by stimulating macrophages as well as the release of LAF and IL-1β from macrophages.
Treatment of Prostate Cancer
Willow herb is widely known for its efficacy in the treatment of prostate cancer. Its chemical compounds such as Kaempferol, Quercetin and Oenothein B possess among others, anti-proliferation activities. Oenothein B, inhibits 5α-reductase and Aromatase, which are involved in the etiology of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Fig.3. Chemical structure of Quercetin
Willow herb is made into and taken as an antioxidant tea. It increases glutathione levels and the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD). This maintains a youthful body by mopping up free radicals that attack and destroy the cells.
Treatment of microbial infections
Willow herb is beneficial for treating bacterial and viral infections such as the urinary tract diseases. Tannins contribute to this efficacy of Willow herb against bacterial and viral infection.