A common tree in Latvia, found in individual groves or mixed forests. Birch buds and leaves are used in teas.

Birch is a deciduous tree, up to 20 m tall, with white, lightly layered bark. The leaves are arranged alternately, triangular-ovate or ovate-rhombic with a broad or wedge-shaped base, the edges of the leaf are sharply toothed. Young leaves sticky. The flowers are arranged in female and male panicles.

The young shoots of the drooping birch  are pinkish-brown, bare, covered with resinous glands, the branches droop. In older trees, the bark at the base is black-grey.

The branches of the swamp  birch are not drooping, and the bark at the base remains white until old age. First-year shoots and leaves are covered with small hairs, shoots without glands.

Birch buds, young leaves, spring sap, often bark, birch black fungus (chaga), birch tar are used for medicinal purposes.

Birch leaves are collected at the beginning of flowering - in April and May, when they are still sticky. Dry in the fresh air on sieves or tied in bundles, it can also be dried in forced dryers not exceeding 25-30C.

Birch buds are collected in early spring, depending on the region where the birch grows, starting from January until March, guided by the moment when they begin to swell, but not yet burst. Cut with all branches and dry for 3-4 weeks in well-ventilated rooms. After drying, the buds are separated from the branches. Dried buds acquire a dark brown shade, a pleasant smell and a bitter taste.

Birch leaves contain essential oil with a pleasant balsamic smell (up to 0.8%), which also contains sesquiterpene alcohol betulol (25-47%) and its essential substances with acetic acid (30-40%), bicyclic sesquiterpene betulene lactone, triterpene bicyclic alcohols, triterpenoid betulin. The leaves also contain glycosides of flavones and flavonols (1.96-5.56%), hyperoside, rutin, avicularin, tannins, coumarins, phenolic acids, vitamins E, C, PP, caratonoids.

Birch buds contain essential oil (0.2-0.8%), which consists of sesquiterpene alcohol betulol (25-40%), betulenic acid and palmitic acid, bicyclic sesquiterpene bicyclic alcohol alpha, beta, gamma- betulenol (1.8-14%), alpha betulenol acetate, betulin triterpene, alkaloids (0.1%), naphthalene, paraffin, yellow dye, n-pentacosane, resins (5-oxy-7,4-dimethoxyflavone).

Birch buds also contain glycosides of flavones and flavonols (1.96-5.56%): hyperoside (0.8-1.5%), 5-oxy-7,4-dimethoxyflavone (0.3%), 3-D-glucuronide myricetin (0.37% ), quercitrin (0.14%0, avicularin (0.57%), 3-glucuronide quercetin (0.25%), isoramnetin, other kaempferol and apigenin derivatives; sterols, tannins (1.07-9%), bitter substances , coumarins (0.09-0.44%), anthocyanins, resin (betulester), betulorethic acid butyl ether, sugars (8-10%), inositol, ascorbic acid (up to 2.8%) and nicotinic acid, nicotinamide and carotene.

Medicinal significance

Mixtures containing birch buds acquire diuretic, choleretic, disinfecting and expectorant properties. It is most often used in the reduction of swelling caused by the cardiovascular system and in cases of respiratory diseases.

Leaf teas are also used in cases of edema caused by disorders of the cardiovascular and renal systems. The effect of the leaves will be many times weaker than that of the buds, but the leaves will not cause kidney irritation if used carelessly.

Decoctions and leaf extracts will be effective in mild forms of cholecystitis. The patient's pain, nausea, vomiting will decrease and the general condition will improve.

Let's also not forget about a great way to get the powerful substances of birch - using birch sap, which contains many vitamins. Juices will effectively help the general condition of the immune system and help to regulate the functioning of the stomach, in cases where the stomach has problems caused by a reduced content of gastric juice. The juice also has diuretic properties, which will help to recover well after various kidney stone and urinary tract operations.

Alcoholic infusions are often made from birch buds, which are mainly used externally, in cases of skin inflammation and bedsores.

In folk medicine, infusions and decoctions are used for edema, bladder inflammation, kidney stones, stomach diseases, liver and gall bladder diseases, arthritis, myositis, rheumatism and gout. A decoction of the buds and an alcohol infusion are used to treat various skin problems. Also, birch sap can be used as an excellent beauty care product.

Birch leaves are most often used (buds equivalent, only sharper in effect):

  • Neuralgia;
  • Gout;
  • Rheumatism;
  • Arthrosis;
  • Lamblioze;
  • Acne;
  • Herpes;
  • Arthritis;
  • Worms;
  • Gastroenteritis;
  • Papilloma men;
  • Anemia;
  • Bronchitis;
  • Pleurisy;
  • Etc. respiratory system problems.

Not recommended for use

It is not recommended to use:

  • Kidney failure;
  • Esophageal problems;
  • Pregnancy;
  • U.c.

Birch preparations should not be used during pregnancy and lactation.

Birch is also not recommended in case of kidney failure, epilepsy, kidney inflammation, anemia. Of course, even if there is an increased sensitivity to its components.