Silver birch Tree Uses
Tree Healing Therapy
Botanical name Betula pendula / Family Betulaeceae
Silver birch is a prolific deciduous tree that is native to Britain, Ireland and most of Europe and parts of Asia. It has a slender crown of arched branches with drooping branch lets and wind-pollinated catkins, disintegrating at maturity to release the small fruits. The tree's tactile bark is a shining white. It was the first tree to colonize the earth's northern domain at the end of the last Ice Age about 12,000 years ago. History, mystery and spiritual healing Silver birch's fertility associations gave it strong connections to Druidic Beltane celebrations, and to Walpurgis Night in Germanic countries, with purification fires being kindled with birch. The Druidic Yule log burned at the winter solstice was traditionally birch, which would burn even when wet. A birch broom was also used to drive out the spirits of the old year and to 'beat the bounds' of property for protection. Cradles made of birch protected an infant from harm.
The birch is a national tree of Russia, where it was worshipped as a goddess during Semik (green week) in early June, now better known as Trinity week or Whitsuntide. At this time, handsome men wore birch charms, crosses or amulets to protect against the mythical Rusalka, mermaid-like fish-women, abducting them.
healing Silver birch is a healer of body, mind and spirit. Birch leaves, bark and oil have been used as an astringent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic, bitter and tonic, and have mild laxative properties. Birch stimulates bile production and is slightly antiseptic, with a mild sedative effect. Birch tea is an effective remedy to combat cystitis, gout, rheumatism and arthritis, urinary problems and oedema. Birch charcoal absorbs poison, and is used commercially in water-jug purifiers and for stomach bloating. A decoction of leaves added to a bath is used as a 30-week treatment to revitalize the body 'inside and out', by osmosis and psychologically.
Xylitol, extracted from birch and used as a sugar replacement for dental chewing gum, is about as sweet as sucrose, but with only two-thirds the food energy. Chaga or clinker mushroom, which grows on silver birch, is a Russian folk medicine under research for its effective anti carcinogenic properties
No birch species should be used by those who are allergic to aspirin. Birch tar is currently believed to be potentially carcinogenic.