Plant family: Betulaceae (Birch family)
Part used: leaf
Historical commentary: Birch has long been used as a source of tannin for tanning leather. All parts of the tree have been used in medicine, with the leaf used primarily as a diuretic agent in treatment of urinary tract disorders and edema.
Diuretic: alleviates edema and promotes urination.
Anti-inflammatory: reduces inflammation of the urinary system, especially with infections (may have anti-infection activity).
Modern findings: Betulin, a component richest in the birch bark, is being studied for its hepatoprotective, untiulcer, and anti-inflammatory activities. In high concentration, it may inhibit viruses and cancer cell reproduction.
Dosage: 2-3 grams.
Active constituents: The leaves contain flavonoids that may be responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity; one of the components is hyperoside, which is also found in St. John's Wort.
Cautions: none known.
Künzle Formula: Slimming Tea.