Birch Essential Oil
The regal birch tree is well known throughout Asia and Europe as well as in North America. The tree behind this amazing essential oil has more than 50 different species scattered throughout Asia and Europe. Even in North America, there are more than a dozen species of birch. When it comes to the essential oil itself, it is particularly potent, and it should definitely be handled with caution but with more than a dozen different health benefits that come from using essential oil, you should definitely consider it as part of your all-natural medicine cabinet because it may be worth keeping some around.
The Basics about Birch Essential Oil
For thousands of years, the deciduous birch variety trees have been used for decoration and have been harvested to create medicinal products. Since there is such a wide variety, birch essential oils can vary from one manufacturer – or even one bottle – to another. Birch is part of the genus Betula, and there are a number of species within the genus that are currently on the threatened list. You can identify the birch trees that essential oils are made from by the location they are found in and by the look of the medium-sized trees or shrubs, as birch is quite distinctive.
How is Birch Essential Oil Manufactured?
Birch essential oil is extracted from one of the varieties of birch trees that are out there through a process of steam distillation, like so many of the other essential oils that you use. Generally, it is the bark of the birch tree that is used in the distillation process in order to create essential oils.
Types of Birch Essential Oil
Although there are only two primary types of birch that essential oils are made from there are quite a few names for those trees. The first type of birch that is made into essential oil is known by two names: the White Birch for the Silver Birch. The scientific name for this particular tree is Betula Pendula. The other type of birch tree that is used to make essential oil is known as the Black Birch. It also goes by the name Sweet Birch and Cherry Birch, but in botanical circles is actually called Betula Lenta.
How to Use Birch Essential Oil
There are definitely a few things to keep in mind if you are planning to use birch essential oil. Birch oil can be very dangerous and even fatal if used improperly. Whether you are introducing birch essential oil through the pores of the skin such as in a massage oil or you are ingesting birch oil, the fatal dose for children is just 10 mL and just 30 mL for adults. What this means is that you need to use just a drop or two along with a large amount of massage oil (or another carrier oil) and never ingest it. Even a milliliter or two may make you extremely sick. In fact, unless you are 100% sure of what you’re doing, you may want to avoid birch essential oil altogether, as well as a Wintergreen essential oil, which is another oil with the same toxicity.
Composition of Birch Essential Oil
Salicylic Acid, Methyl Salicylate, Betulene and Betulenol are the ingredients that make up birch essential oil. In it is the salicyclic acid that you need to be most concerned about because it is that ingredient that provides the toxicity discussed in the section on use above.
Aromatic Description of Birch Essential Oil
When using it in aromatherapy, birch essential oil can be very healthy and effective. It has a very sweet, wintergreen fragrance that is cool and calming to the muscles and will clear the mind, reduce anxiety and help the patient to relax.
Precautions & Side Effects of Birch Essential Oil
There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning to use birch essential oil. As with all of the essential oils that are out there, make sure that you know what you are doing and that you have done your research carefully, if you’re planning to use it topically (on the skin) or if you are considering ingesting it. Some essential oils cannot be ingested; they will actually make you very sick. When it comes to topical applications, birch essential oil is somewhat dangerous because it is toxic to the skin and can cause irritation or an allergic reaction. Those who are pregnant or nursing should always avoid birch essential oil and it should never be given to children.
Attributes of Birch Essential Oil
In addition to the standard attributes marked below, birch essential oil is a diuretic, removing toxins and excess water from the body as well as helping to treat arthritis, and with astringent properties as well. It also has several attributes that are marked on the standard list that make it very healthy for the mind and body.
|analgesic||X||Reduces pain in muscles and joints|
|antibiotic||Keeps biotic infections from developing|
|antidepressant||X||Helps to alleviate depression|
|anti-neuralgic||Counteracts nerve pain|
|anti-rheumatic||X||Counteracts pain from rheumatoid arthritis|
|antiseptic||X||Prevents growth of organisms which cause disease|
|antispasmodic||Prevents spasms from occurring|
|antiviral||Kills viral agents|
|aphrodisiac||Increasing someone’s sexual desires|
|bactericidal||Kills bacterial agents|
|carminative||Prevents formation of gas in the GI tract|
|cholagogue||Assists with the discharge of bile|
|cicatrisant||Assists in the formation of healthy scar tissue|
|decongestant||Reduces or eliminates congestions of nasal cavities|
|expectorant||Loosens mucous and helps clear it from the body|
|digestive||Helps with the digestion of food|
|emenagogue||Promotes healthy menstrual discharge|
|febrifuge||Aids in the reduction of fever|
|hepatic||Promotes healthy liver function|
|hypotensive||Helps to lower blood pressure|
|Insecticide||X||Kills certain types of insects or pests|
|muscle relaxant||Relaxes tight muscles and prevents muscle spasms|
|nervine||Reduces anxiety and calms the nerves|
|sedative||Aids in calming or induces sleepiness|
|stimulant||X||Increases physiological or nervous system activity|
|Stomachic||Aids in a healthy appetite or digestion|
|sudorific||Promotes or aids in activation of sweat glands|
|tonic||X||Tones the skin or muscles|
|vermifuge||Kills parasitic worms|
What is Birch Essential Oil Primarily Used For?
Birch essential oil has quite a few primary uses. One of the main things it does is disinfects, killing germs and bacteria. Birch essential oil kills fungal infections, bacterial infections and helps protect the skin but it does come with some danger because the salicyclic acid that gives it those protective powers can be dangerous. Birch essential oil acts as both an antidepressant and a stimulant, which means that it can give someone energy or calm down someone that has ADHD. In addition, the antidepressant effect can balance emotions and make it easier to deal with life. Birch is also a pain reliever, helping with rheumatism, arthritis and anything else that requires analgesic medication; it is very good for the body.
Other Uses for Birch Essential Oils
There are a few other ways that this essential oil is used as well. It has tonic properties, which means that it helps to strengthen the muscles, which includes the internal organs as well as the outward muscles, but it also means that it can make a person feel stronger and have more vitality simply by using it. When it is used properly, it can raise body temperature, which makes it very popular in colder climates where people need to stay warm.
Recommended Combinations Involving Birch Essential Oil
There are also some recommended combinations that go well with birch essential oil. When you combine essential oils, you are normally trying to do one of two things: you are either trying to combine multiple health benefits that come from different essential oils into one treatment or you are trying to create a aromatherapy combination that is pleasing and has the effect that you want. Here are some oils that you can try if you want to combine birch essential oil: Sandalwood, Jasmine, Rosemary and benzoin.
The Final Word on Birch Essential Oil
Birth essential oil can be a very effective essential oil for healing. It can also be a great treatment when it comes to aromatherapy. You have to be careful about using it topically because too much and it can cause serious illness, even if entering the skin through the pores. Never ingest birch essential oil and make sure that you do your research carefully before you begin using it.