Common name: Birch, Silver Birch
Latin name: Betula pendula
Habitat: Silver birch is distributed throughout Europe and Asia minor. Grows on dry and sandy soils.
Description: Deciduous, medium-sized tree (grows up to 25 meters in height). Young trees have reddish-brown bark, which turns silvery-white as they mature. Diamond shaped black marks appear at the barks base. Leaves are triangular, double-toothed along the margins, pointed at the top. Flowers are grouped into catkins, produced before leaves, in early spring. Small, winged seeds ripen in August.
Parts used: Leaves, bark, sap
Useful components: Flavonoid glycosides, methyl esters, phenylpropanoids, steroidal saponins, methylsalicylate and resin.
Medicinal use: The plant is a strong diuretic and laxative. Generally it is considered useful in reducing inflammation, increasing perspiration, and relieveing pain. Used internally, Birch has shown to be very helpful in treatment of arteriosclerosis, arthritis, cystitis, fevers, gout, rheumatism, and kidney stones. External use is helpful in cases of psoriasis and eczema. Silver birchs sap has strong astringent properties, increasing elasticity of the skin.
Safety: Some herbs could react with certain medication. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor before consumption of any herb.