The two main components of Birch, Betula pendula Roth (silver birch) and Betula pubescens Ehrh. (downy birch) are widely found in Europe while they can also be found in the northern parts of Asia. In Europe they are found at higher altitudes, while the genus is also present in Greenland.
Traditionally, the two types of pendula and pubescens have been used against coughing of bronchitis, other pulmonary and skin diseases, stomach upsets and as antiseptics. In addition, they have been used against renal lithiasis and as diuretics. Betula pendula in particular demonstrates moderate diuretic activity and anti-inflammatory activity.
Betula Pendula is often used as a beverage in Europe, mainly in the Czech Republic. Types of Betula have traditional pharmaceutical uses for various diseases such as arthritis, rheumatism or kidney disease. They are also used in cosmetics, mainly for hair health and the treatment of blotchy skin (Rastogi, Pandey, & Singh Rawat, 2015).
Seveal phytochemical analyses of Betula pendula and Betula pubescens have een carried out. More than 50 compounds have been identified in the Betula pendula flower analysis, and extensive research has been done around many of them, such as hydrolysable tannins, proanthocyanidins and others.
- Rastogi, S., Pandey, M., & Singh Rawat, A. (2015). Medicinal plants of the genus Betula – Traditional uses and a phytochemical – pharmacological review. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 62-83.