Herbal uses and health benefits of birch
What is Birch?
Birch is a leafy tree that has a long history of being known as the tree of life. There are seveal species in the birch family; white birch, canoe birch, black birch, and silver birch. Used as a medicinal herb, birch contains active compounds that come from the bark and twig of the native birch species found in North America, Europe, and parts of Russia. In Germany there is exciting research being done on a compound found in birch that can be used to fight against tumors. Betulin which is found in the bark of the birch has been scientifically shown to kill cancer cells—an exciting fact that is currently being studied. Birch comes in several forms including essential oil, dried bark, and tea.
What are the benefits of Birch?
Birch has earned its ancient healing title for it is sought after and used for a plethora of conditions: bladder infections, gout, skin irritations and disorders, pain relief, hair growth, rheumatism, digestive problems, and headaches. In addition to that long list birch is also very effective in the treatment of edema or fluid retention. There are various benefits of birch.
Don’t waste a thing—everything about the birch tree can be used except the roots. The leaves, flowers, sap, and bark are all up for grabs and have their own unique healing abilities… Typically the leaves and flowers are used to create potent tea that can be used to stimulate the kidney and bladder relieving the body of excess water and toxins. The flavonoids in the leaf and flower are the ones we can thank as they responsible for stimulating the urinary system.
Because birch is a powerful diuretic it is also used to relieve pain and aching in conditions such as: arthritis, rheumatism, and muscles pain. Birch dilutes and flushes the body of toxins that are responsible for inflammation and pain that result in pain.
Uses of Birch
There are plenty of uses of Birch. A tea can be made by boiling 20grams of finely crushed dried birch leaves in 200mililiters of water. After boiling cover and cool and add a pinch of sodium bicarbonate. Let the tea sit for 6 hours then strain. If using birch as a diuretic, drink one cup of the tea then repeat in 4 hours.
Birch bark and sap is well known for its antiviral qualities due to the betulinic and betulinic acid it contains. Simply mash up birch bark or place a piece of bark directly to get rid of irritating warts.
The betulinic acid in the birch bark has been a lead player preventing melanomas. Although at this time not enough research has been completed to consider birch extracts in the treatment and prevention of cancer in mainstream medicine.
Birch may cause an increase in sensitivity to other plant allergens or to seasonal allergies. Report any increase in nasal or respiratory symptoms such as itching, congestions, or coughing to your health care practitioner.
Do not use birch if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Those with any heart or kidney conditions should not use birch due to its strong diuretic action.