Betula 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.
Flavonoids, mainly hyperoside,
luteolin and quercetin; saponins; volatile oil containing betulin; resin; tannins.
Anti-inflammatory; astringent; increases urine production; urinary disinfectant; increases the flow of bile; induces sweating.
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.
Infusion, decoction, tincture, juice.