Updated: Jan 9
The History of Birch Sweet
Birch is a tree that is grown in bitter climates that occur throughout the Northern Hemisphere, from Siberia to Scandinavia, Scotland, England as well as North America, the Himalayas, Japan, North Korea and China. Some species have travelled south to the temperate regions of the Mediterranean, and beyond (almost to the equator). The woodsy essential oil is steam distilled from wood and has a very similar chemical make up to Wintergreen. Birch Sweet is from the Betulaceae or Birch family, which has about six different genera, one hundred and twenty species and it can reach a height of up to 30m. They reach maturity at around fifty years of age but can live up to one hundred years.
In the early 1900s, Sweet Birch was plentiful in the mountains of Pennsylvania, where mountaineers would use crude stills to steam the wood to produce oil. About a hundred slight sapling birch trees were required (on average) to be chopped and ground to extract a quart of oil. This was then sold by the quart to country storekeepers, making its way in turn to wholesale druggists who would then refine it and use it for flavouring in sweets, medicine and drugs.
Birch leaves are known to be very useful as a diuretic and have previously been employed in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and gout. They also earnt a reputation for dissolving stones. The diuretic action also helps to relieve oedematous conditions and urine retention. Birch has a historical tradition of being used by Native Americans and early European settlers to flavour their tea. They had reason to believe that the oil could offer support to your circulatory system, maintain a healthy urinary tract, and promote radiant skin.
Birch Sweet in Numbers
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