Scientific name: Betula papyrifera 

Common names: Silver Birch, White Birch, Paper Birch, Canoe Birch

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    البتولا الثؤلولية (abatula ath-thu’elooliah)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Fabaceae?

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Bark, leaf

Collection:

Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: 60 to 130 feet

Actions: Aromatic, anthelmintic, diaphoretic, stimulant

Known Constituents:  Bark sometimes standardized to betulin and betulinic acid Betulin, betulinic acid and ursolic acid are sometimes considered anti-inflammatorys and used externally for warts.

“The leaves of birch contain: At least 3% flavonoids including hyperoside, quercitrin, myricetin galactoside, kaempferol, myricetin and quercetin glycosides; in the buds, lipophilic flavone methyl esters; up to 1% essential oil and possibly saponins.  The bark of white birch contains several terpenoids and triterpenes including betulin, betulinic acid, a pentacyclic triterpene, and ursolic acid. The bark also contains salicylate and methyl salicylate (natural aspirin). “  reword

Usually >1.5% flavanoids expressed as hyperoside (C21,H20,O12)

Constituents Explained:

Description: 

Considered closely related to Beech or Oak.

Leaves are pointed usually with teeth down the side. They are alternate, petiolate and stiuplate (pictures).

Flowers are monoecious.

Traditional Use:

Bentula lenta is generally considered the common birch, and has a high number of uses. 

Generally considered a herb with an agreeable taste that has been compared to Wintergeen. 

The bark has been used to make paper, the trunk to make canoes and buckets.

The leaves have been used as a kidney tonic. Like most herbs that allow the kidneys to begin to release waste products from the human body, it may ease the joints from excessive stiffness and soreness, and may also assist poor urine flow and fluid retention.

In addition to this it appears to contain salicylic acid, a compound known for its ability ease aches and pains and which is used to make aspirin.

The leaf has been used as a blood purifier, and to prevent hair loss.  

Externally it has been used for skin complaints such as boils and sores.1

The twigs have been used in Scandinavia in steam baths and saunas to promote sweating and provide relief for aching muscles.  

The oil extracted from the twigs or sometimes the leaves has been used in Europe to apply externally to the skin for aches and acne treatments.

Clinical Studies:

The hepatoprotective effect of birch bark extract (BBE) in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) was studied. Forty-two patients with serologically confirmed chronic hepatitis C were treated for 12 weeks with 160 mg standardized BBE per day. 

The primary outcome parameter measured was the rate of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) normalization after 12 weeks. Secondary parameters included the course of ALT, aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels, quantitative HCV RNA levels, subjective symptoms associated with CHC (fatigue, abdominal discomfort, depression, and dyspepsia), safety and compliance.

The qualitative-quantitative analysis of BBE was made using high performance liquid chromatography to confirm the presence of 75% betulin and 3.5% betulinic acid. Significant differences in the mean ALT and HCV RNA levels were observed after 12 weeks of treatment. 

The level of ALT was decreased in 54.0% and normalized. HCV RNA was reduced in 43.2%. After 12 weeks of treatment, reports of fatigue and abdominal discomfort were reduced by 6-fold and 3-fold, respectively. 

References: 

Shicov AN, Djachuk GI, Sergeev DV, Pozharitskaya ON, Esaulenko EV, Kosman VM, Makarov VG. “Birch Bark Extract As Therapy For Chonic Hepatitis C – A Pilot Study.” 2011 July http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21377854

Source material:

Herb Name: Birch

Other Names:  Silver birch, white birch

Latin Name:  Betula pendula  ( silver Birch )

Family:  Betulaceae

Common parts Used: leaves, bark, flowers

There different types of Birch. Silver birch is a tree mostly grown in central Asia, Europe and Britain. It belongs to the family Betulaceae. Its other kinds are white birch, water birch, gold birch etc.

The bark most inner bark is cooked and eaten.  It is mixed with soups, flour. It is also used for making biscuits, bread and other bakery stuff. The sap of birch is used for bears, it is sweet in taste. The leaves are also cooked and are edible.

Birch is used for medicinal purpose. It is considered to be anti-inflammatory and used to induce perspiration.  It is also used for anti-cancer drugs. The inner bark of the tree is used to treat skin diseases and eczema. The leaves are good for reducing cholesterol. The leaves are also used as infusion for dropsy and gout. Birch is also considered good for kidney stones.   

Herb Name: Birch

Others names: Paper birch, White birch, and Canoe birch

Latin name: Betula Alba

Family: Betulaceae

Common part used: Leaves, Bark, Sap

Description: Birch is a tree or a shrub with drooping branches, peeling bark, oval leaves, and yellow catkins. It grows 10-25m in height.

Properties: Birch is an herb that is used in herbal medicine to treat rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones, and various skin conditions (psoriasis, eczema, etc.). Birch is a very popular Russian remedy for treating arthritis. The wood has commercial applications. This bitter, astringent, and tonic herb has the following properties: diuretic, laxative, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving.

Contents: Birch contains flavonoid glycosides, methyl esters, phenylpropanoids, resin, steroidal saponins, and methylsalicylate.

Internal use: Internally, it is used for arthritis, rheumatism, gout, arteriosclerosis, cystitis, water retention, kidney stones, fevers, skin eruptions and various skin problems.

External use: Externally, it is very successful for helping with eczema and psoriasis. The sap has a strong astringent effect, which helps to increase skin elasticity and to improve skin tone. It is also used in hair care products to combat greasy and oily hair. Birch acts as a good hair conditioner.

Essential oil and aromatherapy use: Not noted.

Safety precautions: Not noted.

etula alba   Betula alleghaniensis – Yellow Birch (B. lutea

Betula albosinensis – Chinese Red Birch 

  1. Betula Kamchatka – Kamchatka birch platyphylla 
  • Betula mandschurica – Manchurian Birch 
    • Betula mandschurica var. japonica – Japanese Birch 
  • Betula maximowiczii – Monarch Birch 
  • Betula medwediewii – Caucasian Birch 
  • Betula nana – Dwarf Birch (also in northern North America) 
  • Betula pendula – Silver Birch 
  • Betula platyphylla (Betula pendula var. platyphylla) – Siberian Silver Birch 
  • Betula pubescens – Downy Birch also known as White Birch, European White Birch, Hairy Birch (Europe incl. Iceland, northern Asia; also in Greenland in North America) 
    • Betula pubescens subspecies tortuosa – Arctic Downy Birch (subarctic Eurasia incl. Iceland; also in Greenland in North America) 
  • Betula szechuanica (Betula pendula var. szechuanica) – Sichuan Birch 
  • Betula utilis – Himalayan Birch