Essential Oil Profile: Birch (Sweet)

by Amelia E. Hoard, RN


Common Name: Birch (Sweet) Essential Oil

Synonyms:  B. capinefolia, cherry birch, southern birch, mahogony birch, mountain mahogany

Latin Binomial: Betula lenta

Family: Betulaceae

Production Method: steam distillation of bark

Countries of Origin: Canada and USA (mailnly Pennsylvania)

Typical Constituents: Methyl salicylate (90.4%), Ethyl salicylate (5.5%),

 Linalyl acetate (1.1%)

Description of Oil: Colorless, pale yellow or red tinted with a sweet woody, refreshing scent.

Description of Plant: Large woodland tree distinguished by catkins (slim cylindrical flower clusters).They have slim downward pointing brancheswith serrated oval leaves.

History, Folklore and Myth: Centuries old medicinal wine has been from the sap with a link to warding off evil spirits. It's main chemical ingredient gives asparin indicating pain relieving properties.

Properties and Uses: A stimulant, and diuretic. Birch also has analgesic, anti-inflammatory,antiseptic, rubefacient, and detoxifying actions.

Precautions and Contraindications: Possible skin irritatant when undiluted.

Other Interesting  Information: The layer just under the bark has been stipped and eaten like vermicelli in the spring.



Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Virginia, Queensland, Australia: The Perfect Potion. 1995.

Lawless, Julia. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Shaftesbury, Dorset. Element Books. 1995.

Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.

Sellar, Wanda. The Directory of Essential Oils. London: Random House. 2005


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