March 26, 2014 at 6:06 pm #3626
The slender white barked birch tree can be found growing on the hills and mountain sides in the more temperate areas of the far north. It is considered to be a small tree (some birches are even classified as shrubs) with distinctive white bark that is marked with fine horizontal lines and a dark green triangular (or rhombus shaped) leaves with saw-toothed edges. The bark, for which the tree is most known for, starts out smooth and silvery white then turns bright white as it matures. The bark also develops large black cracks in it as it ages.
For centuries, Birch has been used to treat a large number of different maladies. Birch based brews have been used to help cleanse the body of toxins or intestinal parasites. The leaves have been used to treat infections and skin irritations and the buds have been used as diuretic to help with various bladder ailments. The wood coal has been used to help deal with toxins, the bark, ripped into bands and moistened with water has even been used to help stabilized fractures.
Here are some other things that Birch has been used for:
- Intestinal parasites
- Flu, fever, colds
- Sinus problems
- Poor Circulation
- Liver Problems
- Urinary Tract Health
The Birch tree has many amazing traditional healing properties and recent medical research has shown that the leaves, buds and bark of the birch do indeed have many beneficial substances that can lead to better health and well-being.
The buds of the birch tree, for example, have been shown to be high in Vitamin C, flavonoids, and tannins making them helpful in the prevention of viral infection and the formation of cancer. A decoction of birch buds has also been shown to help increase urination and to aid in the abatement of oedemas.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about the birch tree is the compound that is actually responsible for making the bark so white and shiny. Birch bark is rich in a compound known as botulin, a powdery substance that displays many valuable pharmacological properties.
Studies have shown that botulin could be potentially effective in the treatment of skin cancer, respiratory syncytial virus, pneumonia, and has even been tested for its effectiveness against HIV virus.
The unique biology of botulin and betulinic acid have also been shown to help protect the liver from toxic chemicals, and to help reduce the toxic effects of radiation and chemo therapy. It has also been shown that places where birch is abundant and the bark is used for many household items have displayed longer lifespan and less incidences of oncologic disease.
The birch has been prized for many centuries for both its aesthetic beauty as well as for its medicinal value. Throughout the regions where it grows it has becomes a symbol of health, healing, renewal and longevity, and modern research has shown that there is more than just a grain of truth to these myths surrounding this truly magical plant.
Using birch brews or infusions can help cleanse the body, clear the skin, strengthen the hair, and even help reduce the risk of tumours.
To treat diarrhoea brew birch bark tea. Use a teaspoon of ground birch bark and 8 ounces of boiling water. Allow the bark too steep for 15 minutes. Drink 3 cups spaced 4 hours apart to eliminate this health problem.
You can address skin conditions with a birch bark paste. Use sufficient water to cover the bark. Boil until soft and then mash with a kitchen hammer or pestle. Apply the paste to sores, abrasions and inflammations. Repeat daily and watch for improved skin health within a week.
Soothe sore muscles by rubbing them with birch oil, also called birch tar. Massage with the oil after exercise to reduce pain and stiffness.
Repel insects as they carry diseases that can compromise health. Use birch bark extract. It has a high concentration of acid that wards off mosquitoes, gnats and other bugs.
Combine 25 drops with 4 ounces of water. Use a spray pump bottle to distribute the mixture evenly over exposed skin.
Accelerate hair growth by brewing a tea using two handfuls of birch leaves. After shampooing, use the tea as a final rinse. Massage the scalp.
You can also increase urination as this is important for the overall health of the urinary tract and prevention of kidney and bladder stones. Brew a birch leaf tea or take a tincture made from 2.5 grams of dry birch leaves. Drink one cup of tea or 25 drops of tincture, 3 times a day.March 26, 2014 at 6:19 pm #3636
Thank you, what a useful tree! I would love to see a new and separate (or sub-) forum on these things, like this, and the cattails, and garlic – wild plants with medicinal or edible usage. Clove oil (from the myrtle tree) is another very advantageous one; it’s a mucous-membrane-safe anti-infectant, so it’s also good on puncture-type animal bites, but its primary reason is to numb dental pain… and boy does it work!
Thanks, instructor!March 26, 2014 at 6:22 pm #3640
Never knew the simple birch was so useful, other than good tinder. Thanks for sharing!
Canadian Patriot. Becoming self-sufficient.March 26, 2014 at 6:41 pm #3649
I agree a sub-forum would be great. Selco are you reading this my friend?March 26, 2014 at 6:42 pm #3650
My pleasure Mr. RedMarch 27, 2014 at 4:42 am #3941
Gypsy Wanderer HuskySurvivalist
Instructor great post!!
Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.
George S. Patton
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