Birch Tree

Birch tree belongs to the Betulaceae family and is closely related to the oak/beech family. These trees are mostly found in temperate climates and are widespread in the Northern hemisphere. In North America, Europe, and Asia, birch trees are known by several names, the most common ones being, Paper birch, Yellow Birch, Silver birch, Cherry birch, White birch and Himalayan birch. These trees are used both for commercial as well as medicinal purposes. The wood from these trees is used for making furniture and paper while the bark, leaves, and sap are used for medicinal purposes. The birch tree contains powerful anti-inflammatory, astringent, laxative, and diuretic properties that are helpful in treating a number of health problems.

Nutritional Information and Properties  

The sap from the birch tree contains vital vitamins, minerals, and sugars, mainly glucose and fructose. It is rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorous, iron, sodium, and amino acids. It is also rich in vitamin C and B-vitamins like thiamine. The sap from the birch tree is used to make syrup that you can consume directly or use as a part of salad dressings, soups, candies and even wine and beer. The buds of the birch tree contain antibiotic and diuretic properties while the bark contains digestive, diuretic, and anti-pyretic properties.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses

  • Several health practitioners use the leaves and twigs of the birch tree for medicinal purposes. The leaves and twigs are often boiled to make anti-inflammatory treatments. Birch tree contains betulinic acid that gives it its anti-inflammatory properties, which are helpful in treating conditions like arthritis, high cholesterol, heart and kidney edema, and cystitis.
  • The medicinal properties of birch tree stimulate the digestive system and aid in better digestion. Its nutrients are also effective in strengthening the bones and boosting overall immunity. Experts usually recommend soaking birch tree leaves in apple cider vinegar for several weeks to help in the release of its minerals and micronutrients. You can consume this vinegar as a part of beverages and meals and drink it directly for treating coughs.
  • Birch tree contains strong astringent properties that make it an effective natural treatment for skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, and furunculous. You can soak birch leaves in water for few hours and then use the strained solution for washing the skin as a treatment for these skin problems. It is also good for healing various other skin irritations.
  • A bath with birch leaf water is a good way to strengthen the hair roots and prevent problems like dandruff.
  • Birch leaves are commonly juiced and this juice is used for treating inflammations and infections of the urinary tract, edema, and renal calculosis. A decoction of birch tree buds helps increase urination and therefore helps in the treatment of edemas.
  • Birch tree contains powerful diuretic properties that help in flushing out harmful toxins, uric acid, and excess water from the body. This in turn helps in eliminating cellulite from the body and treats problems like obesity over time. It also helps in maintaining good kidney and liver health.
  • The buds of the birch tree are a rich source of vitamin C, tannin, and flavonoids, which makes them effective in the prevention of viral infections and even the formation of cancer.

Other Uses

  • Birch tree pulp is used to make paper.
  • Its wood is used in construction, to make furniture and musical instruments.