Country of origin: Canada Specie: Betula Lenta
Essential Oil of Birch is steam distilled from the bark of Adirondack Birch trees. The oil, while chemically similar to Wintergreen, is definitely a specialty oil. The birch bark must be macerated, or soaked for up to 24 hours before distillation. Many distillers do not want to go through this lengthy process, so genuine therapeutic quality birch has become less available in the market. Further, the essential oil is actually heavier than water (this is quite uncommon) such that the oil sinks, rather than floats, in the separation chamber.
We like this oil as an alternative to Wintergreen, as it has nuances that create an interesting aromatic. It will have all the therapeutic properties of Wintergreen, helpful for both arthritic conditions and breathing conditions, though you may tend to use more of it because of its lovely scent.
Birch seems to eliminate muscle pain and can be used well with Black Pepper, Marjoram, Peppermint, Lavender, Ginger Root, and Helichrysum.
An over use of Birch essential oil can be toxic to the liver and pancreas. This oil must be used with caution and never internally.
Recently in the US, I've found Birch syrup, Birch Balsamic Vinegar and Birch Water. All are delightful, and are being sold as health products. TvG