Betula pendula

Plant family: Betulaceae (Birch family)

Part used: leaf

Taste: bitter

Historical commentary: Birch has long been used as a source of tannin for tanning leather. All parts of the tree have been used in medicine, with the leaf used primarily as a diuretic agent in treatment of urinary tract disorders and edema.


Diuretic: alleviates edema and promotes urination.

Anti-inflammatory: reduces inflammation of the urinary system, especially with infections (may have anti-infection activity).

Modern findings: Betulin, a component richest in the birch bark, is being studied for its hepatoprotective, untiulcer, and anti-inflammatory activities. In high concentration, it may inhibit viruses and cancer cell reproduction.

Dosage: 2-3 grams.

Active constituents: The leaves contain flavonoids that may be responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity; one of the components is hyperoside, which is also found in St. John's Wort.

Cautions: none known.

Künzle Formula: Slimming Tea.