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Birch (Betula)

The silver birch (Betula verrucosa) and the downy birch (Betula pubescens) are the main species of the Betulaceae family used in medicine.

What does the birch look like and where can it be found?

The birch is a typical tree of Polish mixed forests. It is also found in other parts of Europe and in Asia. The most distinctive feature of its appearance is the flowers which form catkins. The leaves are heavily serrated on the edges. They are practically naked on both sides, and only in the downy birch the tufts of trichomes are found on the underside of the leaves.

Active ingredient contents in the birch

The medicinal use of the birch is possible due to the therapeutic properties of birch leaves. Both the leaves of the downy birch and the silver birch feature a number of active ingredients, mainly glycosides, flavonoids, ethereal oil, triterpenes, resins, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and minerals (magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper).

The birch and its effect on the human body

The content flavonoids, ethereal oil and triterpenes makes birch leaf extract a diuretic. Note that the diuretic action of the extract does not contribute to any irritation of the kidneys, which means it is safe to use. Another aspect of the medicinal effects of the birch on the human body is its anti-rheumatic action. The plant is also sudorific and improves the metabolism. When applied externally, the birch may help in the treatment of juvenile acne, seborrhoea and psoriasis, and reduce visible reddening of the skin.

Birch tar – Oleum Betulae (Oleum Rusci)

There is a substance called birch tar, which is also used in medicine. Birch tar is dry distilled from the downy birch and the silver birch. It is a brown black, stringy liquid used as a bactericidal applied on the skin.

Birch Water

Birch Water is produced from the juice of the birch, otherwise known as sap. When suitably processed, Birch Water is used in the cosmetics industry, primarily for strengthening hair, reducing it's greasiness and "refreshment" of the scalp.

Can birch leaf extract be used with other plant extracts?

Absolutely. Due to its primary action as a diuretic, birch extract is best used with other plant material with a similar effect, i.e. primarily with lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), beans, parsley and camomile. Such a rich combination of components (as contained in the drug Urosept) ensures diuretic and anti-inflammatory action with improved functioning of the urinary system.

How to prepare birch leaf extract?

The diuretic properties of birch leaf extract can only be obtained if it is prepared in the right way. First measure a tea spoon of birch leaves (the loose herbs are available at pharmacies and herbal stores) and add about 0.5 litre of water. Next, boil the mixture for approximately three minutes. It is best to separate the cooled extract into equal measures (approximately one half of a drinking glass each) and drink three times a day between meals.

 

Products containing Birch

Urosept®

Urosept®

Active ingredients:composite product; 1 coated tablet contains: thick complex extract...

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