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erbal Medicine Materia Medica
 


Birch

© David L. Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH

Betula alba

Betulaceae

Names : White Birch.

Habitat : Commonly found in woods in Britain and Europe.

Collection : The leaves are collected in late spring or summer. When collecting the bark, it is important not to ring-bark the tree, in other words not to take off the bark all around the circumference; otherwise the tree will die.

Part Used : Young leaves and bark.

Constituents : Flavonoids, mainly hyperoside, with luteolin and quercetin glycosides.

Actions : Diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, tonic.

Indications : Birch leaves act as an effective remedy forcystitis and other infections of the urinary system as well as removing excess water from the body. Perhaps because of this cleansing diuretic activity, the plant has been used for gout, rheumatism andmild arthritic pain. The bark will ease muscle pain if it is applied externally, putting the fresh, wet internal side of the bark against the skin.

Ellingwood, following German usage, recommends it for the following pathologies : water retention, kidney stones.

Combinations : For urinary infections it may be used with Bearberry, whilst for rheumatic pain it combines well with Black Willow.

Preparations & Dosage : Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried leaves and let infuse for l0 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Tincture: take l-2 ml of the tincture three times a day.

About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary......more
 
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