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Herb Information
Name: White Birch
Biological Name: Betula alba
Other Names: white birch, canoe birch, paper birch, birch (white)
Parts Used: young leaves, bark
Active Compounds:  

Flavonoids, mainly hyperoside, with luteolin and quercetin glycosides.

Remedies For

Astringent, diuretic, diaphoretic.

Birch leaves act as an effective remedy for cystitis 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 and mild 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.

The leaf tea made by infusion is said to eliminate gravel and dissolve kidney stones when taken daily for a time, 1 to 11/2 cups a day. It is also used as a wash or bath additive for skin problems. A decoction of the leaves is sometimes recommended for baldness (or try the fresh expressed juice). The decoction is sometimes used as a mild sedative for those who have difficulty sleeping. For chronic or severe skin problems, a decoction of birch bark is sometimes used as a wash or bath additive. The inner bark contains an oil which is sometimes substituted for wintergreen in liniment.


White birch is a tree found growing to a height of 65 feet in the northern U.S., Canada, and northern Europe. It has white bark which can be peeled off in horizontal strips. its leaves are cordate, bright green above and lighter beneath, serrate, and hairy. Both male and female trees bear flowers; but only the female will bear seed cones.


Use only fresh leaves.

Infusion: Use 1 tbsp. leaves with 1/2 cup hot water.

Decoction: Use 1 tbsp. leaves with 1/2 cup water. Boil briefly, let stand for 2 hours, then add 1/2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda. Take up to 1 cup a day.

Juice: Take 1 tsp. at a time, as required.

Combinations : For urinary infections white birch may be used with Bearberry. For rheumatic pain combine it with Black Willow.

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