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Birch has been known and valued for a long time not only because of its beauty.
In the beliefs of Germanic, Slavic and Baltic tribes, birch was considered as a holy tree that symbolized purity. It was also a symbol of spring and rebirth.
Birch is a typical tree of the North but it also grows in the southern parts of Europe. In the ancient Rome, its branches were used in the rites connected with the New Year celebration which started on the 1March; and the famous lictors’ fasces – the symbol of the most powerful officials – are actually birch branches wrapped up with leather straps.
Healing properties of birch were already known in the Middle Ages – they were described by many experts in herbalism of those times: Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Conrad of Megenberg and Matthiolus.
Birch Bark has been used for a very long time, even since the prehistoric times. It was proved by a discovery made in Tirol Alps in 1991 – two bags full of birch bark and two pieces of white birch polypore were found by a human body encased in ice for 5300 years.White polypore contains triterpenes that have antibacterial properties. It can be assumed that the iceman’s bags were a medical kit of those times…The 20th century wasa period of intensive research on chemical properties and possible uses of this resource in medicine.
The chemical compounds contained in Birch Bark Health Embassy (betulin, betulinic acid and lupeol) show many interesting pharmacological properties, they are also very useful for production of cosmetics. A lot of effects beneficial to the functioning of a human organism can be ascribed to its active compounds.
These are some of them:
Active substances protect body cells from free radicals that damage lipids, proteins and genetic material (DNA) that are present in each living cell. Too many free radicals can lead to diseases of affluence, such as tumours, atherosclerosis, neurodegeneration diseases. The research has shown that betulin and betulinic acid neutralize peroxides and reactive forms of oxygen (free radicals). In case of external use, the extract containing betulin protects the skin against free radicals and the factors that accelerate ageing, e.g. ionizing and UV radiation.
- Immunostimulating and anti-inflammatory effects
Anti-inflammatory effects of betulin and betulinic acid result from hindered production of prostaglandins that are responsible for the inflammation process, oedema and pain reaction. Research has shown that active substances of the extract of Birch Bark are also immunomodulators, that is they regulate functioning of the immune system, improve immunological reaction and stimulate the self-healing activities of the organism. However, foreign tissue transplant may be a contraindication. When using infusion of Birch Bark Health Embassy for atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, reduction of skin lesions, oedema and pruritus can be observed.
It is said that betulin has an antiviral effect in case of the following viruses: herpes (HSV-1 and HSV-2), echovirus 6 (responsible for, among others, meningitis, infection of the upper respiratory tract, diarrhoea), influenza A virus.
Antibacterial and antifungal effects
The infusion and extract made from Birch Bark Health Embassyhave antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Extract made from Birch Bark Health Embassy (consisting of betulin, betulinic acid and lupeol) does not show any immunotoxic properties and does not trigger any allergies. It causes a substantial reduction in skin lesions and soothes the symptoms of pruritus.
The effect regulating the process of skin melanogenesis
This property has an application in prevention and skincare of those suffering from disorders in melanin synthesis (freckles, epidermal nevi, melasma and albinism).
The effects regulating the process of collagen and elastin synthesis
Betulinic acid contained in the extract made from Birch Bark Health Embassy hindersthe elastase, enzyme that decomposes elastin, and prevents the skin from losing its elasticity. That is why the extract of Birch Bark Health Embassy applied externally prevents the skin frombecoming flabby and hinderscellulite production.
- Other properties and uses of Birch Bark Health Embassy
Betulin has choleretic and cholagogic effects, activates the protection of liver cells. It shall be noted here that the infusion of Birch Bark Health Embassyshould not be used in diagnosed bile duct obstruction, and, in case of lithiasis, its use should be consultedwith a GP.
Infusion made from Birch Bark Health Embassy has also a lipotropic effect (it reduces the amount of lipids present in blood, liver and fatty tissue) and supports organism’s metabolism.
Betulinic acid stops the secretion of gastric acidseffectively, therefore it reduces any inflammation present in the digestive tract.
Betulin and lupeol have also been proved to be responsible for reduction of damages in renal tubules and lowering the factors responsible for crystal deposits in kidneys.
The extract of Birch Bark Health Embassy, containing betulin and betulinic acid, speeds up the cell regeneration and, at the same time, has an antiseptic effect in case of wounds difficult to heal and burns. What is more, it speeds up granulation and healing of wounds, reducing the size of scars, it prevents tissue degeneracy.
In case of external use on scalp, it reinforces hair roots, stimulates hair growth when suffering from alopecia areata andseborrheic hair loss, it is also useful for women suffering from hair loss after giving birth and after chemotherapy.
(if you’d like to receive more information on beneficial effects of Birch Bark on human organism, we advise you torefer to specialist literature or to contact your GP)
Infusion of Birch Bark Health Embassy
Pour 250ml of boiling water per 1 teaspoon, and leave to infuse, usually for 10-15 minutes.Strain the infusion and drink while it’s warm.
Extract made from Birch Bark Health Embassy
2 tablespoons per 0.5litre of water, pour cold water and boil for 30 minutes. The extract is recommended for external use.
The information above cannot be a substitute for an appointment with the doctor and shouldn’t serve as self-medication. It is only for information and educational purposes. The popular view is that herbs are always healthy. But remember – herbs are medicines, first of all!
Read all the information carefully before taking this medicine or ask your doctor for advice. Using herbs according to the instructions given determines their effectiveness and safety during the treatment. Ill-assorted blend will not bring the expected results and may even be harmful. Maximum care should be exercised in case of children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Ensure that your doctor knows what medications you are on. Using certains herbs simultaneously with some of synthetic medicines may have a very dangerous effect. This may result in different, often dangerous for health, forms. It may also weaken the effect of a synthetic therapeutic medicine (e.g. antidepressant) or even neutralize it completely.
Always follow the instructions for use! Exceeding the dose may be especially harmful to children. A child’s body needs to be treated in a different way than an adult’s body. A child’s health problems should be consulted with a paediatrician and herbal blends should be used when recommended by the doctor.