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Betula pendulaBetula pendula/B. alba/B. verrucosa (Betulaceae)

SILVER BIRCH, WHITE BIRCH

 

The juice of birch leaves was said by Culpeper to be "good to wash sore mouths". Today, the silvery-white bark and leaves are prescribed by herbalists for conditions such as arthritis, urinary tract infections, auto-immune disease, and fluid retention.

 

The bark of the silver birch tree has been used since mesolithic times as a paper and house construction material. Found throughout northern Europe, northern Asia and North America, the silver birch is a tall deciduous tree with a silvery-white bark that peels easily into horizontal strips. The leaves are arrow-shaped with a serrated edge and the flowers are known as catkins.

 

PARTS USED

Bark, leaves.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Flavonoids, mainly hyperoside, luteolin and quercetin; saponins; volatile oil containing betulin; resin; tannins.

 

ACTIONS

Anti-inflammatory; astringent; increases urine production; urinary disinfectant; increases the flow of bile; induces sweating.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Used in rheumatic and arthritic disease, and in active auto-immune diseases. Also prescribed for oedema (swelling due to fluid accumulation), urinary tract infections, and kidney stones.

 

PREPARATIONS

Infusion, decoction, tincture, juice.

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