Birch oil is a purifying, uplifting and stimulating oil that encourages detoxification of the body when inhaled or applied topically. The properties in birch essential oil promote comfort and relaxation and support the body’s own ability to boost the effectiveness of its healing cycles. These properties render it useful in overcoming feelings of sadness, inertia or fear.
Traditionally, applied topically, birch oil was used as an astringent and was recognized for centuries as among the most effective of toners and tighteners of skin. Its active ingredients of salicylic acid and methyl salicylate make this minty, versatile oil an excellent choice for supporting skin health. Consider adding it in very small concentrations to some of your favorite skin care routines.
The noble smooth bark of wild-harvested Betula lenta trees in Canada is removed, pulverized, and then steam-distilled to produce this potent and refreshing classic essential oil.
Both birch bark and wintergreen were popular herbal teas among Native American and European settlers in the 1700s. Today birch bark is used as a fragrance component in men’s perfumes, and more extensively as a flavoring agent in chewing gum, toothpaste and especially in root beer.
Birch oil production is in decline as most industries have replaced the natural oil with commercial synthetics. The wintergreen plant, also known as eastern teaberry, produces an essential oil with naturally occurring methyl salicylates and has a very similar smell and traditional use to birch oil.
Betula lenta is also known as black birch or spice birch. As well as supplying essential oil, this tree can also be tapped and a strong syrup can be collected similar to maple syrup, although it is much stronger and similar to molasses.
Though birch essential oil is non-toxic in standard aromatherapeutic dosages (highly diluted), it is a powerful oil that must always be diluted. It contains methyl salicylate, the active ingredient in aspirin. Do not take birch essential oil internally.
Sweet birch oil should not be used near open wounds or mucous membranes. Because the smell is sweet and resembles wintergreen-type candies, it is especially important to keep this, like all essential oils, out of reach of children.