Canoe Birch

Betual sp. common names: black birch, silver birch, white birch, sweet birch, canoe birch

birch, sweet birch, silver birch Canoe birchor white birch bark, comes from a slender tree and virtually all parts of the tree are utilized in herbal medicine except the roots. The bark, flowers, leaves and sap are all useful. Birch leaf is slightly bitter and faintly aromatic.

You are more likely to find this from locally owned herb stores rather than retail, however there are specialty outlets on the internet that may supply this herb in various forms. It is preferable to use birch leaf as a tea for all conditions except for bladder and kidney infections. The tea can also be used as a douche. Women with impaired heart or kidney function can have adverse effects and should avoid birch leaf douches.

Benefits of Canoe Birch

As an anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmotic and diuretic, this herbal supplement is quite useful. Benefits of birch leaf for specific helath condition include the following:

  • Arthritis, rheumatism, muscle pain. Strong pain reliever that helps drain the toxins causing pain and inflammation.
  • Bladder infection, kidney stones, PMS. Tea leaf flavonoids stimulate urination. May not control symptoms of severe infections.
  • Cancer. Betulinic acid in birch bark may inhibit melanoma cells.
  • Warts. Betulinic acid and betulin in the bark have antiviral activity. Poltice or a piece of bark can be applied directly to wars.

Used in its natural form the bark is a blood thinner and is included in cardiac treatment. The American Cancer Society has published information from studies showin betulinic acid from the bark causes cancer cells to start dying.

The University of Illinois reported in 1995 that betulinic acid killed melanoma cells in mice. German studies have found anti-tumor activity from betulinic acid in pediatric nerve cell tumors.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the salicylates in the bark in the topical treatment of warts.

Considerations For Use

It is preferable to use the leaf tea for all conditions except for severe bladder infections, kidney failure and warts. The tea can be used as a douche.

People with impaired heart and kidney function should avoid this herb. Do not use if you have an allergy to aspirin. Along those lines, if you are on blood thinners such as aspirin daily, coumadin, warfarin, Plavix or Aggranox, you should not take this herb.

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