Birch Essential Oil
About Birch Essential Oil
Birch essential oil, also known as sweet birch oil, is rich in methyl salicylates and has a long history of use for sore and fatigued muscles. The familiar, soothing aroma of birch oil is reminiscent of the inside of a doctor’s bag in the day of house calls. This therapeutically wide-spectrum stimulating and cleansing oil has a bright, refreshing aroma, and can be kept in mind for restoring comfort to the overworked body and the agitated or cloudy mind.
Birch oil is a purifying, uplifting and stimulating oil that encourages detoxification of the body when inhaled or applied topically. The properties in birch essential oil promote comfort and relaxation, and support the body's own ability to boost effectiveness of it’s healing cycles. These properties render it useful in overcoming feelings of sadness, inertia or fear.
Traditionally, applied topically, birch oil was used as an astringent and was recognized for centuries as among the most effective of toners and tighteners of skin. Its active ingredients of salicylic acid and methyl salicylate make this minty, versatile oil an excellent choice for supporting skin health. Consider adding it in very small concentrations to some of your favorite skin care routines.
How to Use Birch Essential Oil
- Massage Oil: Add a drop to your massage oil and rub into fatigued muscles and areas.
Other Ways to Use Birch Essential Oil
- In the Diffuser: Birch oil added a drop at a time into your diffuser will cut through heavy air and emotions and will leave an aroma atmosphere that promotes mental clarity and cheer.
- Skin Soothe: Combine birch with helichrysum in a carrier oil for a potent soothing blend.
- Fatigue Bath: Add a drop or two to a warm bath and enjoy a soothing soak.
Birch Essential Oil Recipes
- Soothing Body Blend: (can be used to support the forearms and wrists after repetitive work) 2 drops birch oil, 3 drops helichrysum oil, 2 drops ginger oil, 4 drops marjoram oil in ½ oz carrier oil. Apply topically as needed.
- Children's Soothing Blend: 2 drops blue chamomile oil, 2 drops lavender oil in ½ oz carrier oil. Rub over abdomen before bedtime. If diffusing, omit carrier oil.
- Botanical Name:Betula lenta
- Family: Betulaceae
- Composition: 100% Pure Birch Essential Oil
- Origin: Canada
- Method of Extraction: Steam Distillation
- Cultivation/Harvesting: Wild-harvested
- Plant Part: Pulverized bark
- Color: Clear to pale yellow
- Consistency: Thin
- Yield: 4% - 6%
- Bottle Size: ½ fl oz (15 mL)
Aromatic Profile and Blending Information of Birch Essential Oil
- Perfumery Note: Top to middle
- Odor: sharp, minty, fresh; similar to wintergreen
- Strength of Initial Aroma: Medium
- Blends Well With: citrus oils, oils from the mint family, and woody and balsamic oils such as sandalwood oil, rosemary oil, also palo santo oil and jasmine oil.
Safety Considerations for Birch Essential Oil
Though birch essential oil is non-toxic in standard aromatherapeutic dosages (highly diluted), it is a powerful oil that must always be diluted. It contains methyl salicylate, the active ingredient in aspirin. Do not take birch essential oil internally.
Sweet birch oil should not be used near open wounds or mucous membranes. Because the smell is sweet and resembles wintergreen-type candies, it is especially important to keep this, like all essential oils, out of reach of children.
Interesting Birch Essential Oil Information
Both birch bark and wintergreen were popular herbal teas among Native American and European settlers in the 1700s. Today birch bark is used as a fragrance component in men's perfumes, and more extensively as a flavoring agent in chewing gum, toothpaste and especially in root beer.
Birch oil production is in decline as most industries have replaced the natural oil with commercial synthetics. The wintergreen plant, also known as eastern teaberry, produces an essential oil with naturally occurring methyl salicylates and has a very similar smell and traditional use to birch oil.
Betula lenta is also known as black birch or spice birch. As well as supplying essential oil, this tree can also be tapped and a strong syrup can be collected similar to maple syrup, although it is much stronger and similar to molasses.