The plant around us. Volume 1 The plant around us. Volume I - Page 29

Betula pendula English: Birch Tree Spanish: Abedul Betula pendula, commonly known as silver birch, warty birch, European white birch, or East Asian white birch, is a species of tree in the family Betulaceae, native to Europe and parts of Asia, though in southern Europe it is only found at higher Estonian: Kask Portuguese: Vidoeiro-pendula Albanian: thupër Turkish: Huş Ağacı Catalan: Bedoll LEAVES EDIBLE USES: Inner bark - cooked or dried and ground into a meal. It can be added as a thickener to soups etc or can be FRUIT mixed with flour for making bread, biscuits etc. Inner bark is generally only seen as a famine food, used when other forms of starch are not available or are in short supply. Sap - raw or cooked. A sweet flavour. It is harvested in early spring, before the leaves unfurl, by tapping the trunk. It makes a pleasant drink. It is often concentrated into a syrup by boiling off the water. Between 4 and 7 litres can be drawn off a mature tree in a day and this will not kill the tree so long as the tap hole is filled up afterwards. However, prolonged or heavy tapping will kill the tree. The flow is best on sunny days following a frost. The sap can be fermented into a beer. An old English recipe for the beer is as follows:- "To every Gallon of Birch-water put a quart of Honey, well stirr'd together; then boil it almost an hour with a few Cloves, and a little Limon-peel, keeping it well scumm'd. When it is sufficiently boil'd, and become cold, add to it three or four Spoonfuls of good Ale to make it work...and when the Test begins to settle, bottle it up . . . it is gentle, and very harmless in operation within the body, and exceedingly sharpens the Appetite, being drunk ante pastum.". Young leaves - raw or cooked. Young catkins. No more details are given. A tea is made from the leaves and another tea is made from the essential oil in the inner bark. Medicinal use of Silver Birch: Anti-inflammatory, cholagogue, diaphoretic. The bark is diuretic and laxative. An oil obtained from the inner bark is astringent and is used in the treatment of various skin afflictions, especially eczema and psoriasis. The bark is usually obtained from trees that have been felled for timber and can be distilled at any time of the year. The inner bark is bitter and astringent, it is used in treating intermittent fevers. The vernal sap is diuretic. The buds are balsamic. The young shoots and leaves secrete a resinous substance which has acid properties, when combined with alkalis it is a tonic laxative. The leaves are anticholesterolemic and diuretic. They also contain phytosides, which are effective germicides. An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of gout, dropsy and rheumatism, and is recommended as a reliable solvent of kidney stones. The young leaves and leaf buds are harvested in the spring and dried for later use. A decoction of the leaves and bark is used for bathing skin …ÇÇMNGFYHBJLĞ9HI eruptions. Moxa is made from the yellow fungous excrescences of the wood, which sometimes swell out of the fissures. FLOWER Hatice Aylin ÖZDEMİR-Neslihan MOLA