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Birch (Betula spec.)

Birch (Betula spec.)Birch (Betula spec.)

There are about 100 species of birch in the temperate climate zone of the northern hemisphere, pharmaceutically Moor Birch (Betula pubescens) and Hanging Birch (Betula pendula) are used. Both have typical white-black bark when young and are light-hungry site artists. However, one copes with particularly wet sites, the other with very dry ones. Their small, diamond-shaped leaves with their strikingly fresh, bright green are perfect harbingers of spring.

Origin of the birch

After the last ice age, birches were among the first trees to reclaim the areas freed from the ice, and even today they are pioneers in colonizing disused factory sites, construction pits and railroad lines. Especially in Scandinavian and Eastern European countries, when the birches awaken from their winter dormancy in spring, their trunks and branches are bored to a depth of 2 to 5 cm and the escaping water is collected. A large birch tree can yield up to 10 liters of birch sap per day and 200 liters per season. If more moderate amounts are taken and the hole is resealed with tree wax, the birch remains healthy.


Birch leaves contain about three percent flavonoids, which stimulate the metabolism, but especially the kidney function and thus have a strong diuretic effect. Essential oils and tannins have an antibacterial effect. The combination of both properties makes birch leaves the perfect remedy for urinary tract diseases. Birch water (= birch sap) tapped from trunks and branches is also used, it is considered anti-inflammatory and detoxifying. Because it contains, in addition to many vitamins and minerals, the xylitol known as birch sugar, its taste is slightly sweet.

Use of the birch

Birch teaBirch tea
  • Birch leaves and buds are used as a tea against kidney and bladder infections and to prevent kidney stones. Because the increased kidney activity also increased toxins are excreted, birch leaf extracts improve the complexion
  • The circulation-promoting effect of the leaves relieves discomfort in diseases of the musculoskeletal system, so also gout and rheumatism
  • Birch water can be used externally as a tonic for the scalp or drunk directly. As a hair growth and anti-dandruff agent, birch sap is found in many hair tonics, in this form of application it also ensures shiny hair.
This is what you should pay attention to when using birch water.

Birch water can be enjoyed pure as a drink. However, the xylitol it contains has a toxic effect on some pets, including dogs.

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