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Reviews > Health & Safety > Pain Relievers > Natures Willow Balm > Test Report by David Wilkes

Test series by David Wilkes

Nature’s Willow Balm

Initial Report - August 18 2020
Long Term Report - October 7 2020

Tester Information

Name: David Wilkes
E-Mail: amatbrewer@yahoo.com
Age: 52
Location: Yakima Washington USA
Gender: M
Height: 5'11" (1.80 m)
Weight: 210 lb (90.7 kg)

Biography:

I started backpacking in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have backpacked in all seasons and conditions the Northwest has to offer.  I prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me. I have finally managed to get my basic cold weather pack weight, not including consumables, to under 20 lb (9 kg).

Product Information

Manufacturer:

    WB Ventures, LLC.

Year of Manufacture:

2020

Manufacturer’s Website:

https://natureswillowbalm.com/

MSRP:

$10.00 USD

Size:

3.5 fl oz (104 ml)

Product Image
Product Image

Product Description:

Nature's Willow, Willow Balm is a natural pain relieving cream made from a blend of camphor, eucalyptus oil, geranium oil, helichrysum gymnocephalum oil, lavender oil, spearmint oil, white willow bark, as well other ingredients. It is intended as a topical cream for the temporary relief of minor joint and muscle pain. It is also described as a replacement for oral pain relievers to help lesson migraine and chronic pain.


Initial Report

August 18 2019
I received one 3.5 oz (104 ml) tube of the Willow Balm as well as two 4 ml (0.13 oz) sample packets (the sample packets do not appear to be for sale on the manufacturers web site), and a 0.5 oz (15 ml) tube of Bug Bite Balm Itch Relief Cream. (The package also contained a rather attractive sew-on patch with their logo).

Upon hearing about this product I was quite interested because I am aware that extracts from willow bark (e.g. salicylic acid. Aspirin is a synthesized version of salicylic acid) have long been used for various medicinal purposes including pain relief, and I don't like to take medications if I can avoid it so this sounds like a possible alternative. I would also mention that I am a skeptic about most claims for 'natural' or alternative products. However I try to keep an open mind and am very happy when a product surprises me. I have also used a few different topical pain products and have found few to be effective.

Upon receiving the product I read all of the instructions, warnings, etc that were on the product packaging as well as on the manufacturer's web site. I applied a small amount of the Willow Balm to the back of my hand to check for any adverse reaction and had none. I did find the product to have a rather pungent aroma, I would say stronger than any other topical cream I have used but I would not go as far as saying it is unpleasant but rather the opposite. The most distinct aroma I picked up was of menthol, and it kind of reminded me of the over the counter nasal inhalers that were a popular decongestant when I was a kid. The menthol odor faded rather quickly leaving a predominantly eucalyptus like aroma. Again not unpleasant, and rather herbal. The balm initially left my skin feeling slightly oily, as would be expected for this type of product, which quickly became more like I had used a skin softener.
After I was confidant I was unlikely to have any adverse reaction I applied a small amount (about the size of a large pea) to one calf. I felt a little bit of a cooling sensation for a few seconds and then nothing further.

I have a chronic problem with my Achilles tendon (tendinosis) and obviously being in my 50's and active I experience occasional soreness in my joints and muscles, mostly from overwork and/or strain.(aka Doing something that I should be old enough to know not to.)
As for the bug bite balm, I am not especially affected by bugs, and take precautions when I am in mosquito/tick areas, but do get the occasional bite.

Long Term Report

October 7 2020
BitesSince receiving the product I used it on my ankle and knees as well as calf, all due to pain from working in my yard (digging, lifting and carrying bricks, etc). In one case both my knees hurt so I treated only one of them. I can't say I experienced any relief due to applying the product aside from an immediate and short term lessening of discomfort during the initial cooling stage of the application, but that only lasted a short time (a few minutes). However after a short backpacking trip (1 night, about 6 miles / 10 km) I experienced some mid and lower back pain (probably due to some difficulties I had getting my hammock hung correctly and being rather cold all night due to an inadequate under-quilt). I had my wife apply the Willow Balm on my back. I experienced immediate reduction of the discomfort and after about an hour, no pain at all. I was fine by the following morning.

I have used the bug bite balm on a couple of suspected bug bites I discovered after working in my yard, as well as a couple my wife had after a picnic in a park. In both cases I treated all but one bite (my wife was not excited about that part but agreed it was a good way to evaluate the effectiveness). The treated bites stopped itching very soon after application, while the untreated bites continued to itch. The redness and swelling of the treated bites started to subside within hours and were completely gone within a day, while the untreated bites took about 2 days to fully heal.

The attached image is of two bites prior to application of the Bug Bite Balm.

It is not what the product is intended for, but just to see I used the bug bite cream on a skin irritation cause by a bandage (tape on some tender skin after I gave blood). The discomfort subsided withing moments of application and healed quickly with no problems.

As noted above my experience with the product was obviously mixed. My experience suggests that for me at least, the Willow Balm can be effective on some minor muscle pain, and as I don't like to take medication for minor discomfort this provides me with an alternative in at least some cases. I will probably try to keep at least some of the Willow Balm on hand for those times.

I don't get many bug bites, and when I do they tend to cause only minor discomfort. However my wife and kids tend to get many more bug bites than I do and experience much more discomfort, so I am glad to have discovered this product and plan to keep this on hand at home as well as carry it when we travel (e.g. Tropical areas) as well as when we visit parks and such where bites are more likely.



This concludes my  Report.
I would like to thank the folks at Nature's Willow
and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.

 



Read more reviews of WB Ventures, LLC gear
Read more gear reviews by David Wilkes

Reviews > Health & Safety > Pain Relievers > Natures Willow Balm > Test Report by David Wilkes



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