Birch oil is extracted from Betula alba (also known as B. alba var. pubescens, B. odorata, verrucosa or pendula), of the Betulaceae family and is also known as European white birch or silver birch.
Birch oil has a balsamic smell and is pale yellow in color.
Origin of Birch oil
This decorative tree is native to the northern hemisphere and grows up to 15-20 meters in height. It has slender branches, silver-white bark broken into scales and light green oval leaves. Birch buds were formerly used as a tonic in hair preparations.
In Scandinavia, young birch leaflets and twigs are bound into bundles and used in the sauna to tone the skin and promote the circulation. The sap is also tapped in the Spring and drank as a tonic.
White birch oil is extracted from the leaf-buds by steam distillation.
Crude birch tar is extracted by slow destructive distillation from the bark; this is subsequently steam-distilled to yield a rectified birch tar oil.
The main components of birch oil are salicylic acid, methyl salicylate, betulene and betulenol.
White birch oil is generally non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing but should be avoided during pregnancy due to possible irritation occurring.
The therapeutic properties of birch oil are analgesic, antiseptic, astringent, depurative, disinfectant, diuretic, febrifuge, insecticide and tonic.
White birch oil is useful for dermatitis, dull or congested skin, eczema, hair care and psoriasis, although it could irritate the skin.
It is also helpful in cases of poor circulation, the accumulation of toxins in the muscles, for arthritis, rheumatism, muscular pains, edema and cellulite.
- Vapor therapy or used in a bath
- As vapor therapy or diluted in the bath, White Birch oil can help with muscular aches and pains, arthritis and rheumatism.
- Cream and ointment
- The crude tar from birch is used in pharmaceutical preparations for dermatological diseases.
Birch oil blends well with
Although most essential oils blend well together, birch oil blends particularly well with benzoin, jasmine, sandalwood and rosemary.
Skin Care ~ helps reduce wrinkles & saggy skin ~ tones & softens skin & promotes circulation & remove cellulite ~ helps treat dull or congested skin ~ dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema ~ astringent properties ~ skin toner ~ tightens pores ~ protects skin from bacterial & fungal infections
Digestive System ~ promotes & improves digestion
Immune System ~ can reduce fever by promoting perspiration & helps headaches
Insect Repellent ~ naturally repels insects
Musculoskeletal System ~ powerful pain relieving, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic & detoxifying properties that are beneficial for muscle & joint aches & pains, sprains & strains, cramps, arthritis, rheumatism, lumbago, sciatica, neuralgia, gout, edema (swelling) & fibromyalgia ~ helps treat poor circulation ~ removes toxins in the muscles
Nervous System ~ can help to stimulate the nervous system & lift feelings of depression
Urinary System ~ promotes urination ~ helps weight loss, removes toxins from the body, helps infections
Emotional ~ Spiritual ~ gives feelings of strength, warmth & vitality ~ enlivens the senses ~ cleanses out cluttered unwanted thoughts ~ allows for self-acceptance & re-evaluation of one’s thoughts towards self
Blends Well with ~ Benzoin, Cedarwood, Grapefruit, Grapefruit Pink, Jasmine, Lemon, Lemon Balm, Lemongrass, Lemon Myrtle, Lemon Verbena, May Chang, Melissa, Lime, Mandarin, Orange, Peru Balsam, Rosemary, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Tangerine, Vanilla
Safety ~ may cause skin irritation ~ must use diluted into a carrier oil ~ main constituent is methyl salicylate (the active ingredient in aspirin) ~ should not be used on those who are sensitive/allergic to aspirin, liver problems, blood thinning medication, epilepsy or subject to seizures ~ avoid using on children, do not use whilst pregnant & breast feeding