Botanical Name: Betula lenta
Part of Plant: Bark – tar-free
Cultivation: Ethically wildcrafted / traditional process
Extraction Method: Steam distillation
Precautions: Methyl salicylate (the major constituent) is harmful in concentration – use sparingly and no greater than 1% dilution. Birch oil is high in methyl salicylate. People sensitive to aspirin should not use. It prevents platelet aggregation, inhibits blood clotting and should not be taken by a person taking anticoagulant medicines. It must not be taken by children. DO NOT use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as it has been shown to cause birth defects. Birch oil is contraindicated in surgery, bleeding disorders, and GERD. Never apply to cuts, burns or broken skin. Keep out of reach of children.
Size: 1/3 oz. (10 ml)
Cathy’s Comments: This is a truly authentic birch oil, produced in a traditional manner in the Adirondacks, and thus quite a bit more complex than the typical commercial “birch oil” on the market. The quality, and scent, of this oil is excellent. True birch oil is more expensive because the bark has to be macerated and soaked in warm water for 10-12 hours minimum before it can be distilled. The yield is very low and the oil is more difficult technically to collect from the distillation because its more dense than water and so the oil layer sinks to the bottom of the collection apparatus instead of floating on top like most essential oils. Many companies don’t sell birch oil because it can be easily misused: DO NOT use undiluted or over large areas of the body. The main ingredient, salicylate ester, is analgesic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
For more information, see White Birch oil profile.