Birch Essential Oil
Birch essential oil which is derived from the bark of the birch tree has developed a strong reputation for its ability to treat several health issues. It is notable for its anti-rheumatic abilities as well as its actions on the skin, improving circulation and oral health.
Several types of birch tree are used for its essential oil, silver birch (Betula Alba), black birch, sweet birch and cherry birch known scientifically as Betula Lenta.
Properties and Chemical Composition
Bitch essential oil is made up of Methyl Salicylate (97-99%). It also contains Ethyl-Salicylate and Linalyl Acetate.
It has a number of medicinal properties including analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, astringent and antispasmodic properties. It also has antimicrobial properties effective against both bacteria and a variety of fungi.
Health Benefits of Birch Essential Oil
1. Muscular Pain and Rheumatism
Because of its very high levels of Methyl salicylate and salicylic acid, birch essential oil is one of the very best natural remedies for joint and muscle pain. Its chemical constituents have analgesic, cortisone-like qualities which are extremely effective in relieving joint, bone and muscle pain whether it is caused by injury, tension or rheumatism.
Birch essential oil also has very good anti-inflammatory properties which further help ease your muscle pains.
- The best way to use birch essential oil to treat your painful muscles and joints is to dilute it with a carrier oil like coconut oil and massage it into your aching joints every evening. A friend of mine swears by the effects of birch oil for the arthritis in his hands.
- Another option is to add a few drops of birch oil to your bathwater and take a long soak. This is a great way to relieve the pains of the day.
- Birch oil can also be used to relieve other common pains like gout and aching feet.
2. For Congestion
Owing to its expectorant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties birch essential oil is one of many essential oils which is effective in treating congestion and other respiratory conditions like bronchitis.
When it is inhaled, it can help relieve the build-up of mucus and free up the airways to help you breathe more easily.
The most effective way to treat congestion and breathing troubles is to make a healing steam inhalation.
- All you need to do is add 3 or 4 drops of your birch essential oil to a sink or bowl full of steaming hot water.
- Cover the upper part of your body and lean over the bowl. Be very careful not to scald yourself by getting too close to the water and try and inhale the vapors for around 5 minutes.
As well as clearing out the airways and helping you breathe more comfortably, birch oil may also help cleanse your skin and body of toxins.
- Another option is to add a few drops of birch oil to a hot compress and apply it to your chest while just massaging a few drops of birch oil combined with a few drops of peppermint oil and a carrier oil into your chest is also effective.
3. Antimicrobial Properties
Because of its antibacterial and anti-fungal nature, birch essential oil can be applied to minor wounds and scrapes to speed up the healing process and prevent infections from spreading.
As we have already mentioned, birch essential oil has very powerful pain killing properties that can also help numb any pain that you are experiencing. Research also found that birch essential oil was effective against 4 different types of fungus. (1) When applying birch oil topically, it is important to dilute it well because it is known to cause skin reaction in some people and it should never be applied directly to an open wound.
4. For the Hair
Birch essential oil is perhaps not as well known for its uses on the hair as some others but according to many proponents, it can be used to promote stronger and fuller hair growth as well as maintaining the appearance of your locks. Not only can birch oil help improve the strength and appearance of your hair but it can also help relieve scalp conditions like dryness and dandruff.
To treat your hair with birch oil a simple and effective remedy is to simply add a single drop of your birch oil to your regular shampoo and wash as normal. Don’t forget that most essential oils can be even more effective when combined with other essential oil and when it comes to treating the hair, birch blends well with lavender, ylang ylang, rosemary and lemon.
You can combine these oils with moisturizing, hair healthy virgin coconut oil and massage it into your scalp and hair several times a week. This is guaranteed to improve the health of your scalp and restore shine and luster to your hair.
5. For Oral Health
We all want to keep the dentist at bay and recognize the importance of good oral health. Birch essential oil is an excellent natural remedy for a host of oral problems from toothache to gum infection and halitosis. It works so well on the mouth and teeth because of its antiseptic, antimicrobial, astringent and analgesic qualities. Methyl salicylate is an ingredient in Listerine.
- You can make a gargling formula yourself by just adding a drop of birch oil and a drop of spearmint or peppermint oil to a glass of warm water.
- Gargle with the mixture each evening to prevent infection, ease any pain and strengthen the gums.
- Be very careful not to ingest any of your gargle mix as birch oil may be dangerous when ingested.
6. For Headaches
Because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions, birch essential oil may be an effective natural alternative to prescription drugs for headaches and migraines.
- Add a drop or two of birch oil to a carrier oil and rub it gently into your temples whenever you feel the need or add a few drops to a compress and press it lightly to your head whenever you are suffering.
Birch oil can help break up and remove harmful toxins from your blood. It has diuretic qualities which helps increase the quantity and frequency of urination. Proponents of birch oil suggest that it can help remove the uric acid build-up that leads to gout as well as purifying the blood and organs.
8. For the Skin
You need to be careful when applying birch essential oil to your skin but used in small quantities it can have a tonic astringent effect on the skin which will tighten the skin helping you to look younger and healthier.
How to use Birch Essential Oil
- Inhalation: for congestion and respiratory complaints.
- Topically: to treat painful muscles, rheumatism, gout and headaches.
- Gargle mix: for a variety of tooth and gum issues.
- Shampoo: add a drop to your shampoo to treat your hair and scalp.
- Bath time: add 4 or 5 drops, lay back and let the oil ease your muscle pains.
Blends with: birch essential oil blends very well with a number of other essential oils including
lavender, cedarwood, lemon, chamomile, frankincense, marjoram and wintergreen
Side Effects and Precautions
- Birch essential oil is very strong and should be used with caution.
- Always dilute your birch oil thoroughly with a carrier oil. Do not apply it neat.
- Perform a patch test before going ahead with a larger quantity.
- Pregnant women and breast feeding mothers should avoid birch essential oil.
- Birch essential oil is not considered safe for children under the age of 12 because of its high salicylate levels.
- Do not ingest birch essential oil.
- It may interact with blood thinning medication, anticoagulant medication and aspirin.