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The white birch’s bark is so thin it may be peeled away like paper. Scholars believe that the word Birch came either from the Sanskrit word ‘bhurga’, which meant ‘a tree whose bark is used
for writing upon,’ or from ‘bher’ – meaning ‘shining white.’
Healing Properties: An infusion of birch leaves can be used to break up kidney and bladder stones. Birch bark can be used as an astringent. Tea made from the inner bark of the birch and/or
its leaves is a mild sleep aid. Birch sap can also be boiled down into a syrup, and makes a natural sweetener when used in this way.
John Josselyn in a book written in 1672 called ‘Herbs of New England’ says that “Bark of birch is used by the Indians for bruised wounds and cuts, boyled very tender and stamped betwixt two
stones to a plaister, and the decoction thereof poured into a wound.”
The leaves of the birch are an astringent and can be crushed and made into a Birch Tea, which may be used as a laxative. Birch tea also makes a good diuretic. Birch tea is especially
effective for eliminating the germs that cause cystitis and urinary tract infections.
Both birch leaves and the sap of the birch are high in vitamin C, so either may be used to prevent colds and flu.
Birch bark be used externally to ease muscle pain. This is done by soaking the bark in hot water and laying it on the affected muscles, with the interior of the bark in contact with the
Oil from birch bark is an antiseptic and were used to heal rashes or skin infections like eczema and psoriasis.
Birch is one of the nine firewoods to be added to the Belfire for the festival of Beltane (May 1). The Nine Sacred Woods of the Belfire are birch, oak, rowan, willow, hawthorn, hazel,
apple, grapevine and fir. In The Way of the Taibhsear, there are Three Pillars of Wisdom. These are represented by the birch, the oak, and the yew. Birch symbolizes the first degree of
Taibhsear learning. It is said that if a birch tree leaves a white mark on your forehead, that you will go mad. If a birch leaves a mark over your heart, you will die soon.
Gods/Goddesses Associated with This Tree/Plant: Brighid and Taranis.