Botanical Name: Betula lenta
Country of Origin: USA
Plant Part: Bark
Distillation Method: Steam
Cultivation: Naturally Farmed
About the Oil
White Birch trees grow up to 20 meters high with slender brances, light green oval leaves and silvery-white bark. They are a native species to eastern Europe, Russia and Germany, yet are now found growing wild throughout the northern hemisphere.
This Birch oil is steam distilled from the bark of wild grown Adirondack (USA) Birch trees. It is believed to be the only true Birch produced today as total crop figures cannot account for the vast majority of Birch tree production that must be planted and harvested to account for commercially available Birch essential oil is not possible.
The oil, while chemically similar to Wintergreen, is a specialty oil; it is much more difficult to extract than wintergreen, as the bark must be macerated and soaked for up to 12 hours prior to distillation. Further, the resulting essential oil is actually heavier than water (this is quite uncommon) therefore the oil sinks in the separation chamber.
This light green oil has an intense yet balanced fresh minty top note layered with a deep molasses, fennel-like middle note and undertones of dark, sweet wood.
Traditionally Wintergreen was chewed by the natives of the Americas in order to increase lung capacity and assist in healing respiratory conditions. Early settlers to North America ritually chewed Wintergreen to help prevent tooth decay.
Therapeutic Properties Described In The Aromatherapy Literature
Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-rheumatic, Antitussive, Astringent, Carminative, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Galactagogue, Febrifuge, Stimulant
Muscles and Joints
Application and Use
Birch is often included in formulas to open the breathing passages and may be blended with Ravensara and Eucalyptus for this purpose. Deep inhalation of the bright aroma can clear the sinuses and stimulate the mind.
Birch essential oil is recommended to be used as an alternative to Wintergreen because the therapeutic properties are the same, yet Birch has subtle nuances that create a complex aromatic that is less intense than the aroma of Wintergreen.
Birch is often added to liniments, ointments and massage oils to help ease muscle and joint pains while increasing blood circulation.
Birch oil should be diluted significantly before topical application; it is often blended to a 10% concentration in the carrier oil and used as an effective pain-relieving massage oil.The salicylates pass through the skin, entering the tissues to inhibit the formation of prostaglandins, thereby reducing inflammation and pain.
The essential oil of Birch is made up almost exclusively of methyl salicylate, a precursor to common aspirin. Therefore, this oil should NOT be used by people who are allergic to aspirin or be ingested in un-prescribed doses. It should only be used topically in dilutions of 25% or less to ensure safe levels of trans-dermal absorption. Care must be taken to use Birch in modest amounts, and to always keep the oil away from children. If pregnant or breastfeeding, please consult a physician prior to use.