When I was a child my mum and dad opened a very risqué (in those days) business. In the little market town of Hinckley, they bought a 3-storey shop. On the ground floor was a health-food café and gift shop; on the next floor was a hair and beauty salon, and on the top floor they had solariums and sauna, along with slimming treatments. Nobody in Hinckley (or indeed much of the UK) heard of saunas outside of Norway in the late 60s and it was a source of great gossip as to whether it would be kosha! They called their shop the Birch Twig and during the 70s and 80s it was very popular indeed. Birch twigs were used at that time in saunas in Scandinavia to burn under the coals, and also, the massage therapist used to whip the skin with the birch twigs to increase the circulation and help to relieve pain.
About Birch - The Tree
The Latin name for Sweet Birch is Betula Lenta, but it has many other names such as B. capinefolia, cherry birch, southern birch, mahogany birch, and mountain mahogany. From the Betulaceae plant family, Sweet Birch Essential Oil is made by steam distillation of the bark after being macerated in warm water. The resultant essential oil is a very pale yellow, or reddish tinted with an intense, sweet, woody aroma, resembling wintergreen.
Betula lenta is a graceful tree about 25 meters high which has a pyramidal shape whist young. It has bright green leaves and a dark reddish brown aromatic bark, which is broken into plates or patches. The tree itself is native to Southern Canada and Southern USA
Birch Sweet Essential Oil Traditional Uses
Traditionally, Native Americans used birch leaves and dried bark as a tea to relieve aches and pains, cramps, colds, congestions, fevers. More recently, this has been translated into a preference for ‘root beer’ flavourings. The essential oil, distilled from the bark, has been used for gout, inflammation, muscle and joint aches, and pain. Russians have used birch leaves in steam baths since recorded history and the tree sap is used as a tonic for skin, muscle and joint conditions.
Birch Sweet Essential Oil Properties
Sweet Birch Essential Oil has many useful properties for us today. It is analgesic (pain-relieving), anti-inflammatory, helps to reduce high temperatures in the body, helps to relieve the pain of rheumatism and arthritis, stimulates the circulation and is also a diuretic. Sweet Birch Essential Oil extracts are used in many over the counter medications for analgesic balms and ointments for the relief of pain.
Birch Sweet Essential Oil Chemical Constituents
The main constituent of Sweet Birch Essential Oil is Methyl salicylate (produced during the maceration process before distillation), which is very harmful in concentration and is classed as an environmental hazard or marine pollutant. This means we need to use the oil sensibly and not in any situation that is considered delicate, such as childcare or use on fragile clients undiluted. In dilution and with other essential oils however, it is perfectly safe in low doses.
Sweet Birch Essential Oil Uses and Benefits
Birch Essential Oil properties are uplifting, aid in calming inflammation, numbing pain, soothing spasms, cleansing and purifying the body. There is an active principle within the oil that is similar to cortisone, and so this means it is also beneficial for bone, muscle, and joint discomfort. Sweet Birch Essential Oil also has reported therapeutic properties that are diuretic, astringent, a circulatory stimulant, a digestion aid, benefits mood swings, antispasmodic, and antiseptic
Sweet Birch Essential Oil Uses - Emotional Wellness
Sweet Birch Essential Oil supports and grounds those who feel emotionally weak or dispirited. It is also connecting for those who feel alienated and apathetic. The oil helps to make the mind-body pain connection, as, with all oils, it works on all levels of human energy and being.
Sweet Birch Essential Oil as an Antiseptic & Antimicrobial
Sweet Birch is an antiseptic and a disinfectant because it contains Salicylic Acid and Methyl Salicylate which are two potent ingredients that can kill off germs and bacteria. There are also some important terpenes that are quite aggressive on microbes present in the oil. The oil is beneficial to heal cuts and wounds and it protects the skin from bacterial or fungal infections.
Sweet Birch Essential Oil as a Detoxifier
Birch essential oil also contains detoxifying agents that can help to remove toxicity from the human body. It can help to flush out uric acid, urea, excess fats, salts and excess water through increased urination and perspiration. The presence of betulenol and betulene make birch essential oil a diuretic, which promotes urination. Sweet Birch Essential Oil can help to alleviate fever as it promotes sweating and the removal of toxins, leading to a faster recovery time. Also, the oil may help to keep the liver and kidneys healthy, as it can help prevent the formation of kidney stones, gout and arthritis.
Sweet Birch Essential Oil as an Expectorant
Birch oil is quite a powerful expectorant, and combined with its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, it is beneficial to treat congestion in the respiratory system. Using the oil can help improve the airways and slow down the build-up of mucus. This would indicate that this essential oil may help in alleviating respiratory health conditions such as bronchitis and asthma.
Sweet Birch Essential Oil as an Anti-arthritic
Birch oil also can help to promote blood flow to improve circulation. This can lead to helping muscle and joint pains within the body. Sweet Birch Essential Oil has high levels of analgesic and cortisone-like qualities which can be effective to promote pain relief to muscles and joints in cases of arthritis, rheumatism or other types of pain. Also, because the oil has anti-inflammatory properties, this oil is a good choice to invest in for ongoing relief and improvement.
Sweet Birch Essential Oil as a Hair Rinse
When added to water and used to rinse the hair, Sweet Birch Essential Oil fights against dandruff and adds lustre to the hair. Add a drop of birch to your shampoo and wash as usual.
Sweet Birch Essential Oil in a Massage Oil
When used in massage oils, Sweet Birch Essential Oil can improve blood circulation and eliminates toxins. To apply topically, add no more than 2 drops of birch in massage oil to the affected area. The oil can also be massaged into the neck and shoulders for stress relief. Do not apply Birch Essential Oil directly to broken or damaged skin.
Sweet Birch Essential Oil Relieves Headache and Migraine
The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties in birch can help to relieve and prevent headaches. To make your own solution, mix birch with a carrier oil and massage at the forehead. This can make the natural solution for treating migraines instead of using prescription drugs.
Sweet Birch Essential Oil Tones the Skin and Tightens the Muscles
The astringent components of the oil can help to tighten the skin, thereby giving it a younger and more relaxed look and feel. The oil gives life to dull and aged skin.
Let’s Make Recipes with Sweet Birch Essential Oil!
You may like to try some of my recipes as below, and if you do, please do give us feedback on how they worked – we love hearing from you!
Asthma Vaporiser Blend
In a 10ml bottle with dropper and cap, blend the following oils:
Use 4-8 drops in a vaporiser, or in the bath, or use 2 drops several times a day in the palms of the hands to inhale deeply.
Sweet Birch Massage Oil for Aches and Pains
In a 100ml bottle with cap, blend the following recipe to make a massage oil for the neck and shoulders to use anytime
Apply sparingly over neck and shoulder area and massage well until the oiliness has been absorbed.
Sweet Birch Body Lotion for Detoxification
In a 100ml pump bottle, blend the following recipe
Mix thoroughly and apply morning and night, or whenever the skin is itchy or red to help soothe and heal.
Sweet Birch Body Cream
Help your body to stay pain-free and healthy with good circulation
In a 50ml jar with lid, blend the recipe below
Apply every day where needed.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog. We love to hear from you so do give us feedback on the blog and the recipes, and how they have worked for you or your clients. All the products mentioned are available from www.penny-price.com or you can phone your order through or get advice on 01455 251020. If you are interested in training with us, please call, or email Lizzie on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading! Penny Price X