Herbs Guide

Black Birch

Family Name: Betulaceae

Botanical Name(s): Betula lenta

Popular Name(s): Sweet Birch, Cherry Birch, Mahogany Birch, Mountain Mahogany, Spice Birch

Parts Used: Inner bark and twigs

Habitat: Black Birch is native to eastern North America.

Description: Black Birch is a deciduous tree growing up to a height of 20 m. Its twigs, when scraped, have a strong scent of oil of wintergreen. The leaves are pointed, alternate, ovate, 5-10 cm in length and 4-8 cm in breadth. The male trees bear flowers about 3 inches long. Female catkins produce flowers about 1 inch long. It fruits are composed of numerous tiny winged seeds which are packed between the catkin bracts.

Uses: Black Birch has anthelmintic, astringent and diuretic properties. A tea made from the inner bark is used as a mouthwash and in diarrhoea, rheumatism, gout and boils. It purifies the blood also.