Monday, July 27, 2009

More on Birch Oil

Birch Oil 2

Oil properties
Birch oil has a balsamic smell and is pale yellow in color.
Origin of birch oil
This decorative tree is native to the northern hemisphere and grows up to 15-20 meters in height. It has slender branches, silver-white bark broken into scales and light green oval leaves. Birch buds were formerly used as a tonic in hair preparations.
In Scandinavia, young birch leaflets and twigs are bound into bundles and used in the sauna to tone the skin and promote the circulation. The sap is also tapped in the Spring and drank as a tonic.
White birch oil is extracted from the leaf-buds by steam distillation.
Crude birch tar is extracted by slow destructive distillation from the bark; this is subsequently steam-distilled to yield a rectified birch tar oil.
Therapeutic properties
The therapeutic properties of birch oil are analgesic, antiseptic, astringent, depurative, disinfectant, diuretic, febrifuge, insecticide and tonic.
Chemical composition
The main components of birch oil are salicylic acid, methyl salicylate, betulene and betulenol.
White birch oil is generally non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing but should be avoided during pregnancy due to possible irritation occurring.
White birch oil is useful for dermatitis, dull or congested skin, eczema, hair care and psoriasis, although it could irritate the skin.
It is also helpful in cases of poor circulation, the accumulation of toxins in the muscles, for arthritis, rheumatism, muscular pains, edema and cellulite.
Vapor therapy or used in a bath
As vapor therapy or diluted in the bath, White Birch oil can help with muscular aches and pains, arthritis and rheumatism.
Cream and ointment
The crude tar from birch is used in pharmaceutical preparations for dermatological diseases.
Birch oil blends well with
Although most essential oils blend well together, birch oil blends particularly well with benzoin, jasmine, sandalwood and rosemary.

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