Name: Birch – drooping birch; fluffy birch
Birch (Betula); birch hung (B. pendula), or birch warty (B. verrucosa), birch fluffy (B. pubescens), or birch bila (B. alba); Birch homeland (Betulaceae); drooping birch; fluffy birch
It is difficult to imagine Russia without white-barked birch groves, thickets, and stakes (this is the name of the island thickets of this tree species in the south of Siberia). According to foresters, birch is one of the main forest-forming species. There is no common opinion among botanists about how many of its species grow in the European part of Russia and Siberia. Usually, there are about 70 (according to other data, almost 20) species in Russia and neighboring states. There are two types most often: hanging birch and downy birch. The tree, as a rule, reaches a height of 20-30 m. The bark of young plants is brownish or brownish-purple; in middle-aged individuals — smooth, white; in old birches, the root part is black-gray, with sharp cracks. The root system is branched, developed deeply and laterally. The leaves are triangular-rhombic, alternate, long-stalked. Young shoots with resin glands – “warts”. The flowers are small, in single-sex male and female earrings, bloom at the same time as the leaves open. The fruit is a winged nut. The average lifespan of a birch is 150 years, but some trees live up to 300. The plant is light-loving and extremely plastic to climatic conditions. Birch is widespread throughout the territory of Russia, with the exception of the southern regions and the Far North. In Ukraine, it grows in forest and forest-steppe areas, in steppe areas – in river valleys, in wet forests, in swamps, it is grown in gardens and parks, forestry farms. The plant is light-loving and extremely plastic to climatic conditions. Birch is widespread throughout the territory of Russia, with the exception of the southern regions and the Far North. In Ukraine, it grows in forest and forest-steppe areas, in steppe areas – in river valleys, in wet forests, in swamps, it is grown in gardens and parks, forestry farms. The plant is light-loving and extremely plastic to climatic conditions. Birch is widespread throughout the territory of Russia, with the exception of the southern regions and the Far North. In Ukraine, it grows in forest and forest-steppe areas, in steppe areas – in river valleys, in wet forests, in swamps, it is grown in gardens and parks, forestry farms.
Since ancient times, this tree has been used for a variety of purposes: tar was made from birch; quite hard and durable wood was used for the manufacture of wheels and handles for tools, for example, axes, other carpentry products, plywood. Birch served and still serves as a good fuel – firewood from it provides an even, stable heat. The only drawback is that the tree is not resistant to decay.
People have known about the medicinal properties of birch trees since ancient times. In modern medicine, products from the buds and leaves of the plant are used for vitamin deficiency, edema, inflammation of the urinary bladder, chronic kidney diseases, atherosclerosis, and also as a choleretic and expectorant. The infusion of leaves, in addition, has a tonic effect, helps with wetting eczema and climacteric neuroses. Birch sap, the so-called pasoka, has diuretic and expectorant properties, helps to remove various harmful substances from the body. Compresses with birch sap heal patients with eczema. Preparations from birch leaves and buds are used in traditional medicine for the treatment of bronchitis, gastritis, peptic ulcer disease of the stomach and duodenum, gallstone and urolithiasis, edema and gout. A vitamin drink is prepared from young birch leaves: 100 g of leaves are poured with 2 glasses of hot (not boiling!) water, infused for 3-4 hours. and drink 1 glass 2-3 times a day. Decoctions and infusions of birch buds and leaves are not recommended for use in case of functional kidney failure and pregnancy.
If there are no contraindications, it is useful to steam in a Russian bath with a birch broom. This procedure helps very well with joint pain, gout, sciatica, skin diseases and colds.
Activated carbon (carbolene) is made from birch wood. It is prescribed for food poisoning, intoxication caused by alkaloids and salts of heavy metals, it helps with flatulence and increased acidity of gastric juice.
Birch tar has antiseptic, antiparasitic and insecticidal properties. In veterinary medicine, it is prescribed internally as a disinfectant and anti-fermentation agent in the form of a 10% emulsion. Externally, tar is used to treat ulcers, wounds, lichen and scabies in animals, and it is used to heal hoof cracks in horses. Birch helps everyone – both people and animals!
Birch sap is used for food, but in different ways. You can collect it in the spring and drink 2-3 glasses a day. The juice quenches thirst well and at the same time has a healing and tonic effect. Very concentrated (by evaporation), it contains up to 70% glucose and fructose. It is a good (and healthier) substitute for sugar.
The beneficial properties of the fair-skinned beauty are not exhausted by this. Dry young leaves are extracted in water at 60 °C and a stable yellow dye is obtained, which dyes cotton in various shades of yellow.
Infusion of leaves. 2 teaspoons of leaves per 200 ml of boiling water. Insist for 30 minutes, squeeze. Take 50 ml 3-4 times a day.
Bud tincture. Buds are poured with 90% alcohol in a ratio of 1:5. Drink 1 teaspoon of tincture 3-4 times a day as a diuretic and choleretic agent.
Decoction of buds. 10 g of buds (1/2 tablespoon) per 200 ml of boiling water. Heat in a water bath for 10-15 minutes, filter, bring to the original volume with warm boiled water. Take 1 tablespoon 3-4 times a day.
Bud infusion. 10 g of buds per 200 ml of boiling water. Insist for 30-40 minutes, filter. Take warm 2-3 times a day for 15 minutes. to food as a diuretic and choleretic agent, as well as for mycoses.