It´s a large tree with Eurasian origin; it´s also common in the temperate zones of Asia and North America. It is found in woods and forests but is also cultivated.
It belongs to the Betulaceae family and the used parts are the leaves and sometimes the peels and gems.
The leaves have a high content of flavonoids with a predominance of hyperosides and others (quercetin, quercitrin, myricetin), essential oil characterized by sesquiterpene alcohols and methyl salicylate, tannins, leucoanthocyanidins, vitamin C, phenolic acids, resins and mineral salts. The bark is rich in tannins and betulinol.
The leaves have diuretic effects due to the presence of flavonoids, vitamin C and mineral salts that favours the elimination of water and urea. The barks are essentially astringent.
Birch is traditionally used to prevent formation of kidney and bladder stones, urinary infections and urolithiasis and whenever diuretic action is desired. It is also used as adjuvant in the treatment of rheumatic diseases and phlebitis
Cunha A.P., Silva A.P., Roque O.R. (2012). Plantas e Produtos Vegetais em Fitoterapia, 4ª Edição, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Serviço de Educação e Bolsas, 170-171.
Cunha A.P., Roque O.R. (2011). Plantas Medicinais da Farmacopeia Portuguesa, 2ª Edição, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Serviço de Educação e Bolsas, 153-156.
Physicians Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines (2000), 2nd Edition, Thomson Medical Economics, 78-80.