Deciduous, spreading tree growing to 65 ft (20 m). Has oval, slightly sticky buds and round, finely toothed leaves that quiver in the wind.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to North America, quaking aspen prefers damp and moist areas, and grows alongside rivers and in valleys, hedgerows, and groves. It is also widely cultivated in temperate regions. The bark is collected in early spring.
The bark contains phenolic glycosides (including salicin and populin) and tannins. Salicin and populin are salicylates, substances that have fever-reducing, pain-relieving, and anti-inflammatory properties that are similar to those of aspirin.
History & Folklore
The Ojibwa people used an oily compound made from quaking aspen and bear fat to treat earache. Other Native Americans used the bark for a variety of purposes, including as an eyewash for sore eyes.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Like willow bark (Salix alba), quaking aspen bark has widely recognized anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It is often taken to treat arthritic and rheumatic aches and pains. It is also used to lower fever, especially when this condition is associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Being stimulant, quaking aspen bark acts as a tonic remedy in the treatment of anorexia and other debilitated states. The bark’s significant astringent and antiseptic qualities make it useful for treating diarrhea and the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. It is also used to treat urinary tract infections.
Do not take quaking aspen if allergic to aspirin.