Birch is one of the most mentioned trees in the literature. In fact, the American poet, Robert Frost, wrote a famous poem called “Birches.” But why are these trees so present in the western imagination? The explanation is simple: the birch has very useful properties and since ancient times it was part of daily life in the northern hemisphere, both in America and in Europe. In addition, they are beautiful, light and upright trees that embellish the place where they are found.
One of the uses of birch is medicinal. For this, its leaves, shoots, bark and even ashes are used. At home, we can also take advantage of the benefits of this wonderful tree through its essential oil.
Birch oil properties
Birch oil can be obtained from both the pulverized bark of the tree and its leaves, through a process known as steam distillation. A curiosity is that, unlike oils from other trees, birch oil does not have a woody smell. Rather, its smell is reminiscent of mint.
Although there are not many studies on the effects of birch oil, various investigations, such as that of Cape Breton University in Canada  , have shown that it can be used to combat certain diseases and to protect health. Next, we review the most important properties of birch oil :
- Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties – Birch oil contains triterpenoids, chemicals known for their broad pharmacological activity. In fact, it has been shown to be effective against six different bacterial strains, making it a powerful natural antibiotic.
- It is an antioxidant : birch is rich in flavonoids, phytonutrients well known for their powerful antioxidant effects. This makes birch an excellent product for treating the skin.
- It is anticancer : a recent study confirmed that birch bark extracts have a powerful anticancer effect, as it helps prevent the proliferation of malignant cells.
- Helps Fight HIV/AIDS – Research conducted in Ghana discovered birch's properties to lower the viral load of human immunodeficiency, showing that it could help in the management of HIV.
On the other hand, birch oil is well known in holistic medicine, as it is claimed to have purifying, astringent, febrifuge, purifying, detoxifying, antirheumatic and antiarthritic properties. There is still a lack of scientific research that explores all the properties that birch oil can bring us.
If you want to take advantage of the properties and benefits of birch oil, discover How to make birch oil by clicking on the link.
What is birch oil for?
Today, birch oil is used as part of medicinal therapies, as well as beauty and personal care treatments. We tell you about the most widespread uses of birch oil so that you can try them and see for yourself.
Birch oil for headache
For mild headaches, some people use birch oil for its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. To this end, they place a few drops in coconut or olive oil and gently massage the forehead.
Birch oil for rheumatic and arthritic pain
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, birch oil is also often used to treat rheumatic pain caused by arthritis. To use it, you just have to:
- Dilute 3 to 6 drops of birch oil in 30 ml of base oil such as evening primrose, coconut, olive, almond or another of your choice.
- Gently massage the oil into the sore area.
- Another option is to mix 4 drops of oil in the bath water and soak in it.
Take into account that the amount of birch depends on the severity of the pain. 2 or 3 drops will suffice if you only experience ailments. If you're in a cold environment, it's a good idea to heat the oil up a bit, but it shouldn't be hot.
Birch oil to tone the skin
Thanks to its astringent properties, birch oil restores its softness and tone to oily and tired skin. For this reason, it is a widely used product to treat cellulite and orange peel skin.
If you apply it regularly, it improves the general appearance of the skin. Of course, it should be used in very small quantities and always diluted in a fatty base, be it oil or another skin cream. Two drops is enough for a 50 ml cream container.
Find out more in our article How to get rid of orange peel skin on legs and buttocks .
Birch oil for hair
Thanks to its antiseptic and astringent properties, birch oil is useful for those who suffer from dandruff or oily hair. You just need to add two drops of the oil to your shampoo and wash as usual.
If you want to know other home remedies for scaling of the scalp or dandruff, do not hesitate to enter the link and discover more.
Birch oil as a mouthwash
Many oral ailments are due to the presence of microbes and bacteria in the mouth. To prevent these diseases and protect oral health, add a drop of birch oil and a drop of peppermint in a liter of water. Use this solution as a mouthwash. Remember that you should not consume it.
Birch oil for massage
Massages are ideal when muscle aches and pains occur. To enhance the effect of this therapy, use a diluted drop of birch oil on the affected area. The oil will help improve blood circulation and eliminate toxins.
Birch oil for minor wounds
The treatment of scrapes or small wounds can be complemented with birch oil, even if they are wounds in people with diabetes. This was demonstrated by a 2016 study, whose main conclusion is that birch can be useful to prevent diabetic foot, which is the aggravation of wounds in people with this disease due to nerve damage and decreased blood circulation. Of course, the oil should not be used on open or very large wounds.
Birch oil contraindications
Birch oil is toxic in large quantities . As there are still no studies that guarantee the safety of this product in pregnant or lactating women, specialists recommend not using it in either case. It should also be avoided in young children.
It should also not be used by people allergic to carrots, pollen or celery, nor by people with high blood pressure or dermatitis.
It is important to note that, being an essential oil, birch oil is not usually used in its pure form, but is mixed with other components to soften its effects.