Essential Oil Spotlight: Birch

Birch (Betula lenta) essential oil is steam distilled from the wood of the birch tree. This oil has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, disinfectant, diuretic, stimulant (bone, liver), and warming health properties.

Primarily, birch is used to help with cartilage injury, muscle aches, muscle development, muscle tone, and whiplash. This oil can also be helpful in treating the following conditions: acne, bladder infection, eczema, fever, gout, infection, kidney stones, obesity, skin diseases, ulcers, and urinary tract disorders.

Birch is also known to help alleviate bone pain. It has cortisone-like action due to the high content of methyl salicylate.

Application and Safety Data

Topical: Birch can be applied neat (undiluted) or diluted 1:1 (1 drop essential oil to 1 drop carrier oil) for children and for those with sensitive skin. Apply to reflex points and/or directly on the area of concern. Use neat only in small amounts and over a small area. Dilute with fractionated coconut oil for application on larger areas.

Aromatic: Diffuse, or inhale aroma directly. Aromatically, birch opens, elevates, influences, and increases awareness in the sensory system.

Internal: Not for internal use.

Safety Data: Avoid using birch oil during pregnancy. Not for use by people with epilepsy. Some people are very allergic to methyl salicylate. Test a small area of the skin before continuing use.

Ways to Use Birch Essential Oil

Diffuser Blends: Diffusing your favorite oils is a great way to take in their wonderful aromas. Birch oil has many aromatic benefits that can be emotionally and physically supportive. Here are a couple of stimulating blends to get started.

Arthritis: Because of strong effects for bones and muscles, birch can be helpful in relieving arthritic pain. In a 1/3 oz. (10 ml) roll-on vial, combine 5 drops eucalyptus, 5 drops birch, 3 drops peppermint, 10 drops lavender, and 5 drops rosemary. Fill the remaining volume with your favorite carrier oil. Apply to areas of pain as needed, and gently massage the oils into your skin.

Headaches: Birch can play a powerful part in pain relief, especially when it comes to headaches. In a 1/3 oz. (10 ml) roll-on vial, combine 30 drops peppermint, 30 drops lavender, 10 drops frankincense, 10 drops wintergreen, and 10 drops birch. Top off the remaining volume with fractionated coconut oil. Apply to the temples, forehead, and back of neck.

Sore Feet: If you spend a lot of time on your feet, birch will prove highly beneficial for you. Simply rub a few drops onto the soles of your feet after running or standing for extended periods. For maximum benefit, cover your feet with socks after rubbing in the essential oil to allow it to soak in further.

Source: Modern Essentials®: The Complete Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 10th Edition, p. 42.