Birches are so common that many never really think of their significance in our lives. For its active substances and wide application in the household, folk medicine and cosmetics, a birch could be referred to as the Lithuanian tea tree.

Teas are made of birch leaves (Folia Betulae) and buds (GemmaeBetulae). Birch leaf tea is rather bitter, so it tastes better with other fragrant herbs. Goes especially well with the cooling flavour of a peppermint. Birch buds accumulate 5-8 % of essential oil, which contains betul, betulin, betulinic acid, alcaloids (0.1 %), flavonoids (kaempherol, quercetin, apigenin, isorhamnetin, etc.), fatty acids (43.78 %), resin substances and organic acids. Leaves contain flavonoids (rutin, avicularin, hyperoside, etc.), saponins (3.2 %), betuloretic acid butil acetate, group of fermenting substances pyrocatechols (5-9%), vitamins C, E, PP, carotene, coumarin (0.09 %), sugar and resins.

More about herbal qualities:

Birch leaf infusion is used for propelling urine and in cases of swelling, caused by heart failure. People suffering from renal insufficiency should not use it, because the resin substances irritate the renal parenchymal tissue. For its chilagogic, antimicrobial and expectorant qualities birch leaves are used to treat cholecystitis, bronchitis, tracheitis and pharyngitis.

Birch sap is a valuable drink. It contains numerous minerals, which stimulates metabolism. It is also beneficial for people with pulmonary diseases: bronchitis or pulmonary tuberculosis. Patients should drink 1 glass 2-3 times per day. Sap is perishable, thus should be kept in a tight container somewhere cold.

Birch leaves are also widely applied in medicine for infusions for propelling urine or perspiration. Leaves gathered in spring are recommended for relieving neurotic pains.

Literature

Butkus, V., et. al. Mažieji miško turtai. Vilnius: Mokslas 1987.

Čekauskaitė,  L. Gamtos vaistinėlė.  Kaunas: Spindulys, 2003.

Kaunienė, V.; Kaunas, E. Vaistingieji augalai. Žinynas.  Kaunas: Varpas, 1991.

Obelevičius, K;  Petkevičiūtė, S;  E. Šeinauskienė, E.  Prieskoninių augalų ir jų vartojimo žinynas.  Kaunas: Lututė, 2011.

Ragažinskienė, O.;  Rimkienė,  S.;  Sasnauskas, V. Vaistinių augalų enciklopedija.  Kaunas: Lututė, 2005.