BIRCH


Birch bark, leaves & buds from this & related birch trees are used in herbal & folk medicines. 

The leaves of the tree contain lots of vitamin C.
Birch is said to have antirheumatic, stimulant, astringent, anthelmintic, choloagogue & diaphoretic qualities.
Birch tree is renowned for being a good diuretic, without forcing the kidneys.
It has the capacity to produce perspiration & to help in treating rheumatism & inflammations of the urinary bladder.
It has been used to treat gout, rheumatism & mild arthritic pain.
Birch leaves are also for cramps & wounds.
Birch eliminates cholesterol from the blood & disinfects the body.
It is also efficient against liver diseases, ascitis, diarrhea, constipation or intestinal parasites.
Cardiac edemas, originating in circulatory insufficiency, arterial hypertension & atherosclerosis are also treated with the help of brews based on birch.
It is also recommended in treating the flu, fevers, colds & chronic sinusitis.
Also in internal use, it is used for easing headaches produced by hyperzotomy, dizziness, allergies & for tonifying the nervous system.

One of the chemicals that has been isolated from birch bark is called betulin. Betulinic acid, which is made from betulin, is being studied as a possible cancer treatment.
Birch bark has positive effects on the bowel, which makes it tonifiying to the whole body.
It can aid in conditions of diarrhea, dysentery & cholera infantum.
It can be used to expel worms.
The bark as well as the buds have been used when antibacterial, antiviral & cell regenerative qualities are needed. This makes it great for wounds of many types.
Birch bark is said to be a fine herbal pain reliever & anti-inflammatory.
Used in its natural aspirin form,Birch bark is considered a blood thinner & is included in many heart-ailment regimes.
As a diaphoretic, Birch bark helps produce perspiration for cleansing toxins from the body through the skin & helps to cool the body & reduce fever, making it helpful for easing the discomforts of colds & flu symptoms.

The juice squeezed out of fresh leaves is used in treating infections & inflammations of the urinary tract, renal calculosis & edemas.
The birch wood coal is chewed immediately after the manifestation of intoxication.

An infusion made from Birch leaves has been used to eliminate gravel & dissolve kidney stones & to treat cystitis & other urinary tract infections. This infusion can also be used to cleanse the body of excess water.
When used topically in salves, poultices & liniments,Birch bark has provided great relief for bruises, burns, eczema, wounds, skin eruptions (boils & sores), rheumatism & psoriasis.
Birch oil decreases inflammation in tissues & provides a counter-irritant when applied to overlaying & inflamed or irritated joints.

A tea of the twigs & bark aids in ridding the mouth of canker sores.
The decoction is also used as a sleeping aid before bed for insomnia.
Tea can also be used as a wash for skin complaints. If the skin problems are severe or chronic, a decoction of the bark can be used as a wash or added to the bath.
The oil extracted from the buds or the bark can be used externally for acne, rheumatism & gout.
Birch tar is often used as an ingredient of ointments for psoriasis & eczema.

Birch is a favorite Scandinavian remedy, birch twig bundles are used in
saunas & steam baths to penetrate the skin & muscles in order to stimulate sweating, invigorate & relieve tender & aching muscles.
Birch oil, extracted from the leaves & twigs, is a traditional northern European product, commonly used in external applications for rheumatic aches & pains.

                                                                                           Estonian floating sauna

PRECAUTIONS:

Birch is a very common allergen & should be avoided if you have any type of pollen allergy. If you are sensitive to celery, mugwort, or wild carrot you may be more sensitive to birch.
The most common side effects of birch are allergic reactions including hives, rashes, red & itchy eyes, runny nose & wheezing.

RECIPES:


Tea:

5 -10 tsp of powdered or cut leaves every day.
Pour boiling water over the dried herbs & strain after 15 minutes.
Birch leaf tea can be taken 3 to 4 times per day.

The infusion of birch leaves:

20 g of leaves cut into small fine pieces.
Pour over 200 ml boiling water.
Cover & leave until it cools down to room temperature.
After 6 hours strain.
Consume in 2 portions with a pause of 4 hours between them.
This infusion can also be used externally for strengthening hair roots.

A decoction from Birch buds:

Boil 200 buds  in 1 liter of water until the volume of the liquid is diminished to half.
Consume in one day, in 4 portions.
For obesity, cellulite & edemas, renal & cardiac hydropisis, rheumatism.

Birch bark decoction:

2 tsp of dried & cut bark,boil for 5 minutes in 200 ml of water.
Infuse for 10 minutes, keep macerating for 6 hours,strain.
Sweetened & drink in portions of 3 cups per day, before meals.
For digestive, depurative, anti-ulcer effects, with applications in gastric ulcer & skin diseases.


BEAUTY:

Birch leaf baths help strengthen hair roots, prevent the forming of dandruff & contribute to the healing of skin irritations.
A decoction of the leaves has sometimes been used to prevent baldness, as is the fresh juice.
A decoction of the bark can be used as a wash for impurities of the skin.

Tonic hair rinse that promotes healthy growth of hair: 

2 handfuls of birch leaves
1 tbsp of arnica flowers
1 tbsp of nettle roots
2 tbsp of nettle leaves
4 cloves
Cover with 70% alcohol, steep for 3 weeks, strain & bottle. Massage into the scalp & hair as a conditioner.
Or, make a strong infusion with the leaves & add 1 part apple cider vinegar.

Tincture of buds:

Add 100 g birch buds to a 1 l of alcohol of 40 degrees.
It is macerated for 10-14 days, being stirred daily.
It is used to massage the skin on the head for stimulating hair growth.


MAGIC:

Birch was thought to protect against all daemons & witches.
In a milder form of exorcism Birch twigs were often pinned above the doors of house & barn to avert their mischief & protect against or undo spells & curses, such as those that caused impotence, or those that caused the flow of milk to cease.

In magical folk medicine, Birch was associated with transfer magic used to alleviate the pain of rheumatism. Three days before the new moon the sufferer had to go & plead with the Birch tree to relieve him from his pains by solemnly reciting certain prayers & winding a wreath & tying knots into the bendy birch twigs. Thus the painful rheumatic knots were transferred to the Birch in exchange for some of the flexibility of her twigs.


If a birch tree withers & dies near your house,you will lose your life.
A man under a birch tree will never be struck by lightening.

The month of Birch is a good time to do magick associated with new beginnings. Magickal work done in this moon adds strength & momentum to any new choices made.

The Birch has applications in magick done for protection, creativity, exorcism, fertility, birth, healing, Forest Magic, Inner Authority/Self-Discipline, Lunar workings, love & purification. 

Tying a red ribbon around the trunk of a birch helps ward off the evil eye. 

Gently whapping someone with a Birch twig drives out negative energy & Birch branches hung near a cradle will protect the newborn from psychic harm.
Cradles can be made from Birch wood to protect a newborn. 

Gather Birch bark from a tree that has been struck by lightning & the Birch paper will keep the writings safe. 

Birch twigs are traditionally used to make witches brooms. Brooms made of a mixture of Ash, Birch & Willow are said to be especially powerful in magick. 

Birch rods are also used in rustic rituals to drive out the spirits of the old year. 

Birch wood is a good choice for making rune sets to use for divination. Be sure to harvest your branch for the rune set during the waxing moon & make sure you ask Odin or Byarka to inspire your work. 
Ask the tree if it will allow you to take a branch & be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. 
Birch trees especially appreciate gifts such as pretty stones, sea shells, flowers or herbs. 



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