Birch TreeA leafy tree, known from ancient times as the medicinal plant used in treating many diseases, the birch tree is also known as the "tree of life".
Description of Birch TreeThe birch tree, belonging to the Betulaceae family, is a tree or a shrub of small size, with white bark, marked with fine, horizontal lines. It prefers a temperate Nordic climate, growing on hills and mountainsides up to an altitude of 1500 m. The bark is smooth, silverfish-white colored, with blackish cracks when it grows old. The branches are thin and hang down. The leaves have a rhombus shape, or the shape of a sharp triangle. Their edges are dentated and have a dark green color and a lighter shade on the outer side. The flowers have an elongated shape.
The leaves, buds, bark and sap are used from the birch tree.
PropertiesThe leaves contain saponin, a bitter substance, mucilage, procatechinic tannin, essential oil, betulin, saccharose, resins. These substances offer the following properties to the birch leaves: diuretic, detoxifying, cicatrizing, anti-rheumatic, astringent, antiulcer, choleretic, slightly hypertensive, anti-fever.
The buds also have a diuretic and antibiotic role. The bark is diuretic, digestive and anti-fever.
TreatmentsAppreciated for its properties, birch tree is renowned for being a good diuretic, without forcing the kidneys. It has the capacity to produce perspiration and to help in treating rheumatism and inflammations of the urinary bladder.
Birch eliminates cholesterol from the blood, and disinfects the body. It is also efficient against liver diseases, ascitis, diarrhea, constipation or intestinal parasites. Cardiac edemas, originating in circulatory insufficiency, arterial hypertension, and atherosclerosis are also treated with the help of brews based on birch. It is also recommended in treating the flu, fevers, colds and chronic sinusitis. Also in internal use, it is used for easing headaches produced by hyperzotomy, dizziness, allergies and for tonifying the nervous system.
Through diuresis, it eliminates the excess of uric acid, toxins and water from the tissues, having an important role in eliminating cellulite and obesity. Birch leaf baths help strengthen hair roots, prevent the forming of dandruff and contribute to the healing of skin irritations.
The juice squeezed out of fresh leaves is used in treating infections and inflammations of the urinary tract, renal calculosis and edemas. The birch wood coal is chewed immediately after the manifestation of intoxication.
Externally, it is used for treating affections of the skin - dermatitis, eczemas, and furunculous.
The bark, rich in betulin and betulinic acid is used in the pharmaceutical industry. Ripped into bands and moistened in hot water, it can be used for immobilizing articulations or fractured arms.
MixturesThe infusion of birch leaves is prepared out of 20 g of leaves cut into small fine pieces and 200 ml boiling water. It is then covered and left until it cools down to 40 degrees C, sodium bicarbonate is then added with the tip of a knife, which lessens the diuretic action of birch leaves and neutralizes the betuilnic acid. After 6 hours the liquid is passed through a sieve and consumed in two portions with a pause of 4 hours between them. This infusion can also be used externally for strengthening hair roots.
A decoct is obtained out of 200 buds which are boiled in one liter of water until the volume of the liquid is diminished to half. It is consumed in one day, in 4 portions, having an influence in obesity, cellulite and edemas, renal and cardiac hydropisis, rheumatism.
Birch bark decoct is obtained according to the following recipe: 2 teaspoons of dried and cut bark, which is boiled for 5 minutes in 200 ml of water, it is infused for 10 minutes, kept macerating for 6 hours, then it is filtered, sweetened and drunk in portions of 3 cups per day, before meals, having digestive, depurative, anti-ulcer effects, with applications in gastric ulcer and skin diseases.
Birch sap stems are recommended in early spring, especially during the months of March through April. After extracting it, it is kept in the refrigerator, not in a freezer, and daily a quantity of 200-400 ml is consumed, in three portions. This has energetic, nutritive, mineralizing, tonifying, depurative properties. Because of its taste, it is also recommended in small doses for children suffering from intense weakness.
The birch sap wine is prepared out of 25 liters of sap with 3 kg of sugar. The mixture is stirred until its volume decreases to half of its initial one. The foam is removed; the liquid is passed through a sieve and poured into a wicker bottle, adding a little beer yeast to it. It is kept to ferment, adding 5 liters of quality wine and 4 lemons cut into slices and with their seeds removed. After the stop of the fermentation, the wicker bottle is plugged with a cork and kept that way for 30 days after which the wine is placed in bottles without filling them completely.
Tincture of buds is obtained from adding 100 g birch buds to a liter of alcohol of 40 degrees. It is macerated for 10-14 days, being stirred daily. It is used to massage the skin on the head for stimulating hair growth.