Betula pendula (the botanical name for silver birch) is a common tree species of the catkin family, easily recognised by its silvery white, flaking bark and its characteristically slender, drooping branches. Although silver birch trees have a wide variety of leaf shapes, the majority of their leaves are oval and taper to a sharp tip.
The leaves are uniform and shiny, but when young, they develop tiny glandular patches. The male catkins on silver birch are droopy and measure between 2 and 5 centimetres in length, while the female catkins occur on shorter stalks and reach a maximum size of 15 centimetres. It's worth noting that the North American betula lenta is very similar to B in terms of its medicinal potential. pendula.
Silver birch's resins and volatile oils are used as an anti-inflammatory in both conventional medicine and alternative medicine to treat arthritic and neuralgic pain because of their similarities to the oil of Gaultheria procumbens (wintergreen).
The North American birch (botanical name B. lenta) is the primary source of wintergreen oil in commerce today. However, wintergreen oil is not present in the original plant but is created due to interaction between the parts of the plant during the distillation process.
Thus, salicylates, which are extremely noticeable in the oil, particularly the freshly acquired sample, cannot be proven to exist. This oil's diuretic and urinary antiseptic action is bolstered by the presence of flavonoids and saponins, which also give it a bitter taste and provide an extra digestive stimulation.
New growth include leaves, bark, sap, and blossom tips.
Multiple silver birch components can be used for medicinal purposes, and they all work in the same way. In fact, they have an especially potent effect on the kidneys and urinary system, making them useful for the treatment of kidney stones and other urinary tract issues. There are additional healing properties found in silver birch.
It has a number of unique properties, including the ability to increase bile production, a mildly sedative nature, and an anti-inflammatory profile that stands out from the crowd. As a result, silver birch is commonly used to treat a wide range of complex inflammatory illnesses, including as arthritis, rheumatism, and skin disorders.
The anti-inflammatory properties of birch products can be used internally as well as externally to relieve arthritic pain. In fact, the oil used in this topical is derived from a substance quite similar to wintergreen lotion. A sign of an internal effect is the diaphoretic (causing sweating) property of birch; in reality, when this herb is consumed in high quantities, it encourages sweating.
In cases of severe rheumatic symptoms, such as those accompanied by fever or a serum ailment, this has a clear and applicable use. The enhanced tissue cleaning that this implies also aids in reducing oedematous situations (excessive accumulation of fluid in the space between the tissues - earlier known as edema).
The cardiac and renal causes of edoema may respond well to silver birch, which has been proposed as a treatment for this condition. The birch tree has long been associated with purification in folklore. Silver birch was revered by Druids for its supposed regenerative powers.
Currently, skilled herbalists may use birch's dried buds, leaves, bark, and sap to treat a variety of illnesses, including as urinary tract issues (in the form of a sanitising diuretic agent) and inflammatory conditions (skin complaints, arthritis, etc.).
While silver birch has been used medicinally for centuries, its branches have also been used as rods for corporal punishment in schools and for the public flogging of adolescents who have committed wrongdoing. Meanwhile, for hundreds of years, penitents have used the birch switch as a tool for self-punishment and spiritual purification.
Silver birch is used not just internally, but also externally in the form of massage oils and other body care products that aid in the elimination of toxins through the skin's pores.
Preparations made from birch oil work wonderfully to soften and firm the skin. The body oils combat cellulite and other issues simultaneously. Amazingly, birch extract has been shown to have positive effects on skin in dermatological trials.
Eczema, warts, and other skin issues are alleviated by applying a topical solution containing betulinic acid and other natural compounds found in silver birch or birch bark. Advocates of birch say the herb can be taken internally as a diuretic or a mild tranquillizer in the form of a tea made from the bark.
They also note that kidney stones, gout, and rheumatism can all be helped with this tea. The leaves of the birch tree are sometimes applied to the scalp to treat dandruff and stop hair loss.
When applied topically, birch tar—essentially an oil distilled from the birch bark—treats skin irritations and drives away parasites. Also, birch bark has been promoted as a treatment for dysentery, diarrhoea, and even cholera.
Several scientists believe that the apoptosis, or self-destruction, of certain types of tumour cells is triggered by betulin, which is taken from the bark of the birch and other sources.
Researchers have found that betulinic acid reduces the spread of HIV and other viruses and slows the growth of several different types of cancer cells (HIV). Additionally, some scientists have hypothesised that silver birch has antibacterial properties.
Biodiversity and agriculture
Due to its shallow roots, silver birch is best suited for somewhat large gardens and should be planted at least 6 metres from any structure. Silver birch is susceptible to severe droughts because its roots are shallow. In the northern hemisphere, this tree can be found in almost any forested area.
The bronze birch borer poses a significant threat to silver birch trees, but its population can be reduced using pesticide application. Trees infested with golden birch borer will inevitably die if insecticides aren't regularly applied.