Birch is a natural pain reliever due to the presence of salicylate, the active compound in aspirin. It reduces the inflammation and pain of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and general muscle pain. Birch leaf teas act as a diuretic thus relieving bladder and kidney infections flushing pathogens out of the body.
Birch essential oil is an astringent and has curative effects on skin afflictions, especially eczema.
Instructions for Use
Only very small amounts of this essential oil should be used topically. Muscle pain is eased if it is diluted then applied to the skin. Please consult with you doctor before using birch for skin ailments. Best used in a diluted massage blend for pain relief.
If you have fresh birch you may use both the leaves and bark of the tree to prepare tea, or make a tincture by steeping two tablespoons of ground birch in one cup of vodka for two or three days.
History and Additional Information
The etymology of birch is quite simple. It is said to originate from the Sanskrit bhurga and it roughly translates to “tree with bark for writing.” Some of the oldest surviving written documents from the Middle Ages in Russia where written on birch bark, and some of the earliest Buddhist texts in Afghanistan were as well. The bark is strong and water-resistant, can be easily bent, cut, and sewn, and has been used since prehistoric times.
It has been used for hundreds of years to make sweet beverages and is gives birch beer its signature flavor.
- Latin/Botanical Name: Betulaalba, betula spp.
- Other Names: White Birch, Sweet Birch, Cherry Birch
- Family: Betulaceae
- Part of Plant Used: leaves, bark
- Place of Origin: widespread through temperate and boreal climates of northern hemisphere
- Odor/fragrance: sharp, sweet, fresh, crisp, minty (smells like wintergreen)
- Color: clear
- Aroma strength: strong
- Consistency: Thin/light
- Note: middle/top
Blending Suggestions: Jasmine, rosemary, sandalwood, citrus oils, woody oils and benzoin.
Safety Precautions for this Essential Oil: Do not take birch leaf tea or oil internally if you are already taking a diuretic, or you are on blood thinning medicines. Use oil in very small quantities as it may prove to be toxic. Those with aspirin allergies should never use birch oil.
Buy Essential Oil:
Best Value per ounce: Nature’s Kiss
This brand is less expensive per ounce, but still offers a great value.