With its white bark streaked with black, the birch is a tree very present in our forests. But not only! The sap from this tree also plays an important role in phytotherapy.
The birch is one of the few trees whose sap is used for cures. Also known as "birch water", birch sap is one of the most effective natural cures available. It contains potassium, calcium, zinc, chromium, magnesium, sodium, selenium and many other minerals. Thanks to this composition, the birch has many benefits for our health.
The inclusion of birch sap in European medicine goes back quite far in history. Already in the Middle Ages, it was used by apothecaries to treat kidney stones. In the 22nd century, St. Hildegard of Bingen also used it to relieve ulcers.
Nowadays, birch sap is harvested in the spring during the months of March and April, as this is when it flows in abundance. In fact, at that time, a birch tree produces between 150 and 200 litres of sap per day, but only part of it is harvested.
The sap of the birch tree, yes but not only!
Everything is good in birch!
In phytotherapy, it is known for its many therapeutic virtues and every part of the tree can be used in natural medicine.
The leaves are used in phytotherapy to make birch juice which is good for the kidneys, cellulite and rheumatism.
The bark produces a natural sugar which is used in chewing gum for dental health.
The buds have draining and anti-inflammatory properties similar to those found in sap.
The kittens are an endocrine tonic useful in cases of hyperthyroidism, among others.
The rootlets are macerated and used for their anti-inflammatory and diuretic actions.
The essential oil is made by distilling the bark and branches. It has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties in cases of arthritis, cramps and tendonitis.
Benefits of birch sap
As explained above, birch sap is rich in minerals, trace elements (potassium, magnesium, ...) and also in active ingredients such as salicylic acid and flavonoids.
All these elements give it various properties.
Preventive against cardiovascular diseases
Intestinal function regulator
The alliance of birch sap and buds
For added benefits, buds can be added synergistically to the birch sap. Thus, the synergy obtained plays a role in a greater number of health problems and offers more effective and powerful actions.
Syrups in gemmotherapy
In pharmacopoeia, syrups are medicines in the form of sweet, aqueous liquids containing active ingredients. But there are also other forms of syrups:
traditional syrups obtained from cereals, plants or trees (barley syrup, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, agave syrup...).
flavoured syrups used in drinks and desserts. The syrups of this second category are made from sugar and food additives.
How are syrups made?
In phytotherapy and gemmotherapy, syrups are created in several stages.
After harvesting the plants needed for the syrup, the ingredients are placed in pure water heated to about 60°C.
When all ingredients are placed in water, the mixture is stirred until all ingredients are completely dissolved. If none of the elements have any particular sensitivity to heat, stirring can be done with heating to speed up the process.
3. Adding the sugar
Sugar is an ingredient that reduces the solubility of the solution. That is why it is only added to it in the decoction solution. Sugar can be added in the form of honey, cane sugar or sweeteners of your choice. It is only after the addition of this ingredient that the extract takes on the term "syrup".
4. Filtration and finishing
The resulting syrup is then filtered and cooled. Some last minute ingredients can sometimes be added such as essential oils. These are very useful to ensure the preservation of the syrup while providing additional active ingredients.
Finally, pure water is added so that the syrup reaches the desired mass and volume.