Birch Bark

In general, Birch is said to have diuretic, antirheumatic, stimulant, astringent, anthelmintic, choloagogue and diaphoretic qualities.
Being a blood purifier, the tea, twigs and bark can be helpful for boils and sores when taken internally as well as used as a wash.

Birch bark has positive effects on the bowel as well, which makes it tonifiying to the whole body. It can aid in conditions of diarrhea, dysentery and cholera infantum. It has historically been used to expel worms. A tea of the twigs and bark aids in ridding the mouth of canker sores.

The Salycilates in Birch bark have been used effectively against warts. The bark of Birch as well as the essential oil of Birch both contain salicylates that can ease sore muscles or joint pain if applied externally. Birch oil decreases inflammation in tissues and provides a counter-irritant when applied to overlaying and inflamed or irritated joints. Additionally, the bark as well as the buds have been used when antibacterial, antiviral and cell regenerative qualities are needed. This makes it great for wounds of many types. A study was done with patients who had infected wounds ranging from shallow to very deep cuts. Each patient was treated with the tincture of Birch buds. Very good results were obtained after using the tincture on all of the patients including ones with anti-biotic resistant infections.

The inner bark has been used for intermittent fever and cardial dropsy, and the wood of Birch has a yellow fungus that is used as a Moxa.
Betulin is a compound that can be turned into Betulinic acid, however Betulinic acid also exists in the bark naturally. Scientists are researching the potential of Betulinic acid as well as just Betulin as a treatment for the herpes viruses, for AIDS as well as for skin cancer and brain tumors, especially in children. The herpes viruses cause cold sores, genital infections, chickenpox, shingles, infectious mononucleosis, and are thought to play a role in multiple sclerosis and Karposi’s sarcoma which is the cancer that often puts someone with AIDS over the edge. In the research, “Betulin -based treatment was several times more effective than the current most popular herpes treatment.” Betulinic acid has been noted as a “highly selective inhibitor of human melanoma growth and was reported to induce apoptosis in these cells.” In some studies on mice that were carrying human abnormal skin growths and were treated with betulinic acid, the growths were “completely inhibited without toxicity.”

It is likely that over time, even more medicinal qualities will be discovered of this great tree.

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