Birch Essential Oil

By Kellene Bishop

Essential OilWhen it comes to properly using essential oils, I really like to study them so that I can act quickly and/or confidently in my goal of medical independence.  While most persons are familiar with lavender, lemon, and tea tree oil, I find that birch essential oil is frequently one of my favored selections.

First of all understand that while there are countless essential oils available out there,  many of them can benefit the same part of the body. However, while some essential oils cover a wide spectrum of the major body functions, some are more perfect for helping a particular ailment than others.  Such is the case with birch essential oil, more specifically Betula lenta L. It’s  hard to find naturally as even the most abundant sources of birch are being replaced with other types of trees that are expected to aid more in the prevention of soil erosion. But fortunately for a lot of folks, it is still available.

Essential OilFDA Doesn't Help when it comes to Essential Oil Labeling

First of all, a warning.  The FDA allows an essential oil to be called “pure” when there is as little as 10% of a pure, non-synthetic essential oil--yeah, that’s why we should trust them blindly, eh? Anyway, this is particularly important when it comes to this wonderful essential oil.

Oh yeah, and then you have folks who created their own term for "pure" essential oils as well—thus creating their own testing criteria and awarding themselves with their own approval.  If you ask me, I think that's a bit like the salesman creating the prices of the cars.  So be careful in your selection. OK?

If you take a whiff of birch essential oil, you will no doubt compare it to the smell of wintergreen.  Pure and potent birch essential oil isn’t easy to come by. In fact, I was recently at a 3-day convention in which an essential oil company had 2,000 distributors yelling and screaming with joy because birch essential oil was restored to their product line up, BUT everyone could only purchase a maximum of 20 milliliters  because it was so hard to come by.

Essential OilThe process of producing high quality birch isn’t exactly an easy one.  Betula lenta L.—the ONLY botanical form of birch essential oil I recommend, requires an extraction of a tar-like substance from the inner bark of the birch tree. Keep in mind that not every part of the birch tree provides key medicinal qualities. In fact, the flavor of wintergreen in Wrigley’s Gum, is extracted from the birch tree. Unfortunately, the Wrigley’s company discards the medically beneficial part of their botanicals and uses the familiar perfume to flavor their famous wintergreen gum. My point being that in order for a birch essential oil to be pure AND potent, it cannot contain any synthetics, any wintergreen, or any other carrier oils. It should contain 100% of the medicinally beneficial birch oil only. When it comes to birch oil, I’m quite suspect about the quality of it.

Understand that when an essential oil provider says that theirs is a “pure birch”, pure is a relative term. Wintergreen harvested from the tree is indeed pure. However, it’s useless medically and in some cases seriously harmful if combined with camphor. So, be 100% sure that you are getting the real thing when you use it.

Essential Oil

So, what is so wonderful about birch essential oil?

Well, one of the first things that comes to mind is that it’s been shown capable of stimulating the regrowth of bone, making it ideal to help the recovery of foot surgeries, hip replacements, and even poor teeth. Yes, I did say regrowth of bone.  I have a few chiropractor friends who faithfully use a quality birch oil in their practice.  Not surprisingly, it also aids in making bones stronger, less brittle.  Bone spurs don’t stand a chance against consistent application of a quality birch oil. Even better, birch is a well-known analgesic and is ideal for aiding painful bone pain.  Yes, this does mean that it’s very helpful with arthritis, rheumatism, and gout. It is also helpful for gall bladder pain. It will also aid in eliminating the calcification in the joints. It’s one of the first ones I reach for when I have pain in the arch of my foot or in my back along the lower spine. Two years ago I was in a serious auto accident an it did a number on my neck. With the birch, I’ve been able to eliminate the expensive nerve block shots that I get at the doctors and instead use something that’s beneficial in many more ways to my body. All I do is rub one drop on my tender area of my neck morning and night.  Once I started using birch and two other essential oil blends, my migraines stemming from the pain of the accident have completely disappeared. (So now I have no excuse to those obligatory wedding receptions and baby showers—dang it. *grin*)

It should be no surprise that it’s also great for bad breath. Because birch oil is an anti-septic as well as an anti-bacterial, I can now save my liters and liters of Listerine that I keep getting for dirt cheap for other persons in need and use the birch oil when I’m brushing my teeth.

Essential OilStepping away from the skeletal/bone benefits, I find that the constituents which target the bone areas of the body are also very effective in aiding in the relief of the lungs. Birch is one of those. (As is Ravensara--especially for long-term allergy and other respiratory problems.) It supports our body’s system when fighting bronchial congestion. Since it possesses proven anti-inflammatory benefits, this is ideal for chest congestion, mucus build-up, pneumonia, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. It’s especially effective if it can be applied and than have a hot compress placed on top of the chest or back in the area of the lungs.

A friend of mine recently dislocated a joint of his finger on a construction site. He called me to ask which of his essential oils would be help after he pushed the bone back into place (such a he-man, he is). I suggested the birch oil to prevent the joint from swelling and constantly moving the finger back out of place. He said that he had NO swelling so long as he applied the birch oil 3-4 times a day.

When combined with helichrysum essential oil, birch is a worthy opponent to carpal tunnel syndrome. In the same car wreck that did a number on my neck, I was gripping the steering wheel in such a way that when I was hit in front, the steering wheel pounded on my nerve endings at the base of my palms, thus giving me instant carpal tunnel syndrome. Since I still work long days on the computer, I’m very grateful for these two non-chemical aids that have completely alleviated my carpal tunnel pain—especially since the only other option I was given was surgery!

The other day my knee popped and it hurt nearly to the point of swearing. Yes, I refrained. But I’m afraid I refrained primarily because of the relief that the birch brought me rather than my commitment to not be the token potty mouth in the family. If I have a bout of inflammation I use some lemongrass essential oil and then follow it with birch. Works like a charm.

Keep in mind folks that if you use a premium quality essential oil you should only have to use ONE DROP of it at the onset Essential Oilof an “ow-wee”  in order to see some immediate relief of a particular pain. Something like a headache, surge of nausea, feeling faint, or even just a bad mood, you should be able to nip it in the bud with only one drop of oil on the bottom of the feet or directly on the affected area. The reason being is that a quality, potent essential oil enters the blood stream within 30 seconds. Thus it can immediately provide nearly a quarter of the new and necessary oxygen to a cell. That’s powerful. If there are any synthetics in the oil, the body will reject it like an unfit kidney.  It doesn’t even get a quick visit. It’s directed immediately to the liver.  Chronic, long-term ailments such as a toxic liver, Candida, pneumonia, depression, or Multiple Sclerosis will require consistent application over several days, weeks, or even months in order to experience physical or emotional benefits.

Lastly, I want to mention the benefit to hair growth that birch presents. With all of the chemicals I’ve been putting in my body for the last 3 years, one of the side-effects was the loss of a lot of my normally thick and fast growing hair. Just a drop of birch oil in my shampoo has helped heal the scalp and has delivered in quickly restoring hair growth(now, if I could just get the gray to run away, I’d be content).

A study 2 years ago found birch oil was effective against inflammations, rheumatism, and urinary disorders.  They also concluded that it was good against staph infections, e-coli, and Candida.  Lastly, they claimed that it was “an important resource of sesquiterpenes.” Sesquiterpenes are able to cross the blood brain barrier and thus aid in mildly balancing mental and emotional disorders. (Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Anadolu University, 26470-Eskişehir,Turkey “Studies on Betula Essential Oils”)

 

Essential OilJust as a caution, I would use caution when using birch on pregnant women. Every once in a while, someone will be allergic to methyl salicylate which is a key constituent in the birch oil. Also, I would not use birch oil on epileptics. Lastly, birch can have a tingly or almost burning sensation when applied to sensitive areas of the body. As such, I recommend the use of a carrier oil to use at the time of application. The carrier oil I recommend should be grapeseed oil or a gergelim-baru blend.

Well that should give you plenty food for thought on this particular essential oil.  I’ll try to feature one regularly so that you can feel like you’re gaining some traction in your medical preparedness efforts.

P.S. No, not a single thing I've said in this article has been approved by the omniscient FDA, nor will it ever be so. However, there's a wonderful world of published scientific research available to support all of my claims, not to mention quite a few personal case studies. That's good enough for me.

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Comments

Thank you so much for all the info. I sprained my back and am excited to try the birch and lemongrass. It's so nice to know that there are companies who care about the sourcing and purity of their oils.

Great article. Would love to try the birch oil in the grapeseed oil as the carrier, but need more information on the formula. How drops of birch oil to oz. of grapeseed oil? Thank you.

You can always do a one to one ratio. I'd dilute it by 75% though on infants or small children. The grapeseed makes it so that the oil takes longer to absorb so it stays actively on your skin a bit longer. Some folks find that to be helpful. Don't pre-mix it though and store it. You don't want your essential oils to be stored in carrier oils such as almond, grapeseed, etc. Only mix into the carrier oils just before you're using them.

Kellene,

Is there a particular brand or strength of essential oils that you recommend? Do you have them available for sale?
Again, thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us!

kellene, I have read that birch oil can be hard on the liver, and you should detox the liver if you use the oil regularly. Do you know anyhting about this?

Actually, the reason why that myth is out there is because of the wintergreen that ofttimes gets used as a filler with birch oil. Wintergreen is indeed toxic to the liver as is camphor, thus shouldn't be used at all in my opinion. Birch is actually very helpful in draining and cleansing the lymphatic system, which affects the liver and it's also great for urinary tract disorders.

Hey Kellene, I would love to get the purchase info too. Where do you learn all the applications for the different oils? Is there a master Bible Of Essential Oils that we can get? Do you sell a handbook of your favorite oils and their applications? (When I say "application" I mean, illness/symptom) Thanks for your wealth of knowledge. You would love "Wild Fermentation" my latest read.

I ordered that book as soon as I saw it recommended on here. I am indeed a junkie.
The problem with essential oil books is that they are usually written by individuals who are promoting a particular line of oils. And worse, many are full of mistakes. *sigh*. For example, I just finished this GIGANTIC book by D. Gary Young and there were hundreds of critical errors in there. I've been studying essential oils for about 10 years now. There are some easy applications and then there are some not so easy ones. I would recommend the book by Butterfly Express which is $25 I believe. Keep in mind that the book also contains a whole lot of applications using their particular blends, but other than that, the book is a very worthwhile start. When I come out with my Essential Oils Mastery course next month (presale) then I will have tons and tons of references for applications, etc.

I will have to set aside some money so I can "attend" that course then. I really loved the coupon class you did and finally learned the tricks... I had seen some instructions online but I think I need to get "walked thru it" and it was so easy to ask you a question during the class for clarification! And I've really enjoyed going back over the PDF guide we got at the end. I would take the essential oils Mastery course just for the reference guide! Just this week, I used 10ppm silver solution to clear up a strep skin infection my son had (he scratched some bug bites and introduced it). These are the tools that empower us to live independently. Thank you!

I would love to get the information on the birch essential oil. I'm looking for something to calm extremely hypersensitive skin, and the redness of rosacea. If I could stop the burning, I would be happy to live with the redness. If I could stop the hypersensitivity to heat, and be able to wear sweaters this winter, I would be ecstatic!

Thanks so much for sharing all your knowledge! You're my hero!!

You wouldn't want to put the birch oil on the rosacea. Use Redmond Clay instead. Make it into a light paste, put it on the affected areas nice and wet, and let it sit moist for about 10 minutes. Rinse completely.
I would them apply a drop of PURE and POTENT Lavender essential oil and one drop of helichrysum with 4 drops of gergelim-baru oil or grapeseed oil. Then apply that directly on your face and enjoy!

Hi Kellene,
Would you let me know where to purchase the Birch oil. Soo much great info from you thank you a BUNCH
Kristi

I too would like to know where to purchase the birch essential oil as well as a good resource for others. I am a novice and would like to learn more! Just learned about this site. Someone sent me this article. Sign me up! Thanks!

I am especially interested in finding more information on the Black Birch. I am not a master herbalist, yet have been involved with alternative medicine for decades. I would appreciate any references you would consider sharing. As soon as I read your post I started going through my books for more information, even checking the King's American Dispensatory; so far I found one book referring to its usage with bone issues.

I have a personal interest, my spine, skeletal parts are degrading so any information is greatly appreciated. Also, please send a recommendation for a supplier of pure essential oils.

Thank you,

Charo Waite

I am also curious as to which 3 day expo you went to. If they had pure Birch, why don't you recommend theirs? Which company? I would like to know which source you recommend so I can get some. From what I have read, the purity and the sourcing are what I have the most questions about. Thank you.

Because "Pure" isn't the only criteria for a good oil. Potent, meaning be full of the appropriate constituents" is much more important and better determines the value of an oil. I wasn't convinced that this particular company met that criteria.

Hey Kathy,
There are two choices. You can purchase it directly from Five Star Preparedness.com or you can go to www.beyoungeo.com/8285 then "enroll" as a Sharing Partner (it's free to enroll) and then purchase it off of your own sharing partner website at wholesale. (You'll get that immediately after enrolling) If you are able to, I'd purchase more than one because this item keeps going on back order. If you have a sales tax ID number then I would use that when enrolling as a sharing partner instead of your social. If you order from Five Star, there's no need to give an SSN or Tax ID#, as you'd simply be a retail customer.
By the way, they have a special this month on Frankincense, Myrrh, and Holiday Gift essential oil blend for only $100. Considering the Frankincense is pretty pricey, that's a GREAT deal and I use all three of those oils a LOT!
Take care!

I would like to know what other two oils you use for migraines. This would be a godsend for me. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

What a load of CROCK! I suppose that you've only been told that by Young Living because they are unable to purchase any of the Birch Essential Oil that's in the market after failing to pay their sizeable invoices several years ago, and as such they have been black-listed by every last one of the manufacturers. Real Birch Essential Oil is hard to get, especially since the majority of the contracts have been bought up by Be Young, but it most certainly is still available. In order for it not to be available you'd have to make a case for the lack of any large sources of birch trees. North America is crumbling quite a bit, but not that bad...yet. (Oh, and by the way, yes, heat most certainly DOES ruin an essential oil. Any first year scientist could answer that for you. Heat completely changes the molecules of nearly every agent in the world.)

Kellene, can you send me information on the studies and found case studies of wintergreen and camphor being toxic to the liver? There is a well known company that uses these two constituants in a blend that is very popular. I believe this to be true as I have hearditnfrom a very reputable person myself but I am interested in the factual paperwork.

I'm familiar with the well-known company you're referring to. I'm sorry, Sadie, but I'm in the midst of meeting some writing deadlines right now and I just don't have the time to stop what I'm doing and look for that. Besides, it seems that when I share the studies, folks don't value it as much as when a person finds the research themselves. The other articles I've written on essential Oils on this site have a few books that I've recommended folks use and some of the info is contained therein.

I am suffering from Raynaud's disease on my hands and toes every September through April. I was wondering if Birch Oil would be of any help. And if it would be helpful, where could I buy the real oil and not the diluted kind?

Raynaud's discomfort comes from the inflammation of the blood vessels, whereas the constituents in the Birch impact the bone cells, so I'd say No. However, there are several options in other medicinal grade essential oils. If you want to e-mail me privately you may do so.

Do you have any scientific references for the claims you made of the healing properties of birch essential oil? Just an example, “It’s been shown capable of stimulating the regrowth of bone…” I am just one to need the science behind it too.

If I was writing a book or a research paper, I'd be expected to provide that kind of information. However, as this is a site which promotes self-sufficiency, we always encourage our readers to do their own homework. My conclusions come as a result of more than 10 years of research on the matter and that's simply not something I'm interested in summarizing/writing about each time. But there are others who have done a fine job of doing so that I've recommended in the other articles I've written with regards to essential oils. One of which is Dr. K. Schnaubelt. There's also the reference book that's required reading by the health professionals in Europe that's written by Shirley Price and Len Price.

I would like your source for

I would like your source for birch oil, also. Thank you so much. Found your website while searching for Birch essential oil source. Your article was well-written and your website looks very interesting.

I have some really bad hair

I have some really bad hair loss. Do I only need the birch oil or is it a combination of oils that I need? Help! I have tried so many things and nothing! I am to the point that I hear Rogaine for Women calling my name! I do not want more chemicals!

I've heard in the past that

I've heard in the past that birch oil is good for exezema when used with a carrier oil. I don't see anything here about it. Can you point me in the right direction, there are so many in my family that have this condition, from the very young to the very old.
Thank you,
Tara Stanford

I wouldn't EVER use Birch

I wouldn't EVER use Birch essential oil for eczema. Eczema indicates that there's a problem with the liver and toxins aren't being expelled properly. As such, I'd address the liver issue with a gentle liver cleanse and use Redmond Clay either as a 10 minute paste or as a nice tub soak for the eczema symptoms in the meantime.

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