Botanical Name Betula spp., including B. alba (white birch), B. lenta (cherry birch), B. nana (dwarf birch), B. nigra (black birch), B. pendula (silver birch), B. populifolia (grey birch)
Betulaceae (Birch Family)
The word birch is believed to come from the Sanskrit bhurga, meaning "tree whose bark can be written on." It may also derive from the Old English beorht, "bright," about the glowing white bark. The genus name, Betula, is the Latin name for this type of tree.
Birch bark has been used as paper; it was used to make clothing, shoes, and containers in ancient times. The new leaf wards off bugs and was once used as a strewing herb, and smaller birch branches were used for broom handles. Tar made from birch is used to waterproof leather, and the sap is distilled and used to treat mange in animals.
As birch wood is full of air pockets and thus very buoyant, it was used to make canoes by some Native American peoples. It is used today to make plywood and furniture.
In Russian and Finnish saunas, people strike their bodies with birch branches to stimulate circulation. At the same time, Laplanders carve statues from birch wood.
Birch leaves organic whole
Vitamins B and C, magnesium, potassium, saponins, essential oil (methyl sali- cylate), betulinic acid, tannin, flavonoids (hyperoside, luteolin, quercitin), bitter principle, glycosides