Birch leaves: medicinal properties, use and contraindications. What are the useful birch leaves?
The entire aboveground part of the white-barreled tree, symbolizing the Russian expanses, is saturated with biologically active compounds. The most useful substances in the leaves are essential oil, tannic compounds, flavonoids. The bark is rich in organic pigment betulin. Healing effect is possessed by buds, birch bark, tar, juice and birch leaves. Therapeutic properties are due to the wide therapeutic effect of essential oils, betulin and tannins on the functions of the human body. We will find out how useful a sheet of birch is, how to prepare raw materials, use it for its intended purpose.
Tree-healer in "flax sarafan"
Birch is an ordinary perennial plant in Russia. The Slavic peoples considered the tree Bereginya - the symbol of the Mother Earth. A beautiful white trunk, the openwork crown has long been sung by writers, poets and musicians.
It was birch brooms in the bathhouse, when she appeared in Russia, they entrusted care for the cleanliness of the body. The liquid that oozes from the notches in the trunk is a tasty and healthy drink. When dry distillation of wood is obtained tar - a valuable raw material and component of drugs, cosmetics. They have a rich curative composition of birch leaves. The healing properties are combined with the valuable economic qualities of the whole plant. The biological effect of the active components that are present in birch leaves is antibacterial, wound healing, analgesic and choleretic.
Not all birch leaves are equally useful
It is believed that only 4 species from 120, belonging to the genus Betula family of birch( Betulaceae), can be harvested for treatment. They have almost equal medicinal properties of 4 species, from which birch leaves are harvested. The application in the scientific and folk medicine has found the following kidneys, birch bark, leaves of the following natural species( synonyms in parentheses):
- Betula pendula( B. verrucosa) - birch warty( dangling, European, white) - tree with smooth white bark;
- B. pubescens - B. fluffy - more northern species, growing in the Caucasus;
- B. platypliylla - B. flat-faced;
- B. mandshurica - B. Manchurian.
A birch leaf( pictured below) is familiar to residents of the central strip of Russia and other regions with its rhombic or triangular shape.
A typical representative of the family and genus in temperate latitudes is European or white birch. Brilliant leathery leaves of this species are painted in dark green color, on the underside they are lighter. The form is rhombic-ovoid, the edges are serrate. The opening of the sticky young leaves of the European birch coincides with the flowering of the tree. This phenomenon occurs in May, and the medicinal raw materials are being harvested later - in June.
The chemical composition of birch leaves
Different parts of the white-wood tree differ in the content of medicinal ingredients. Biologically active compounds rich in young leaves of birch. Therapeutic properties are due to the presence of the following components:
- derivative of betulin -betuloretinic acid;
- ascorbic acid( vitamin C);
- tanning agents;
- glycoside hyperoside;
- nicotinic acid;
- essential oil;
- provitamin A;
- bitter inositol;
The presence of white pigment and its derivatives is due to the unique therapeutic effect of herbal preparations from birch bark and leaves. The resinous substance accumulates in the cavities of the cells of the tree, imparts a white color to its cortex. Betulin or birch camphor acts against the causative agents of respiratory diseases, tuberculosis and poliomyelitis. According to the researchers, the white pigment is able to suppress the growth of malignant tumors, for example melanomas.
Birch leaves. The healing properties of the decoction and infusion
Domestic folk medicine has long recommended taking a golden broth and infusion of young dried or fresh birch leaves as a diaphoretic, choleretic and diuretic. The solution improves the condition with the following diseases and conditions:
- inflammation in the urinary tract;
- stones in the kidney and bladder;
- urate acid diathesis;
- heart disease;
- stomach ulcer;
Than useful birch leaves with external application. Contraindications
Hot baths and warming compresses with birch leaves are used for joint pains prone to rheumatism, for gout and skin diseases. The leaves help to heal burns and bruises. Birch essential oil is one of the components of balsams for the treatment of skin diseases, in particular eczema and psoriasis. Tannins of leaves improve the skin condition with furunculosis and dermatitis. Usually, when used locally, fresh and dry ground birch leaves are steamed and applied to the affected area. Contraindications to the external use of hot compresses:
- exacerbations of inflammatory skin diseases;
- varicose veins, thrombophlebitis;
- heart failure, atherosclerosis;
- skin damage;
- elevated body temperature;
- active form of tuberculosis.
Benefits of birch leaves for hair
Decoctions and infusions of birch leaves with external application for rinsing the hair strengthen the roots, improve the condition of the curls. Active components of medicinal raw materials eliminate dandruff and itching, prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth.
Three steps to improving the scalp:
- Strengthening and growth of hair promotes the use of decoction of leaves to rinse your head after washing. Preparation: pour incomplete glass of dry crushed leaves 500 ml of boiling water, leave in a water bath for another 10 minutes. Strain the broth and add to the water when rinsing the hair.
- The birch leaves for hair help to cope with dandruff in the form of alcohol tincture. Preparation: approximately 1 glass of fresh leaves to grind, pour into a jar, add 200 ml of vodka. Infuse 2 weeks. The finished product is applied to the skin of the scalp with massage movements. The duration of the course of treatment is from 1.5 to 2 months.
- To improve the condition of hair follicles and curls, infusion is used. Preparation: pour half a cup of dry crushed leaves 1 ½ cup boiling water. After 1.5-2 hours, the finished infusion is filtered, the resulting solution is rubbed into the scalp 1-2 times a week after washing.
Birch leaves birch
Each family can prepare, use universal "money boxes" - birch leaves. Contraindications for use are the same as for other types of medicinal plant raw materials - hypersensitivity to individual components. It should be noted that pollen from birch inflorescences during the collection of medicinal raw materials can cause allergic reactions, seasonal hay fever in people with increased sensitivity.
The plate of a white-barrel tree catches pollutants, dust and soot from the air. Therefore, it is better to harvest leaves in the countryside, forest belts and forests away from industrial facilities and highways. Time of collection of leaves for the use of broths inside - until the middle of summer;outwardly use raw materials harvested throughout the warm season of the year. Leaves of birch spread a thin layer on a table or other horizontal surface, preferably under a canopy in the air or in a ventilated room. Dry slowly to preserve essential oils.