Spring detox: everything you need to know about the birch cure

Buds, juice, leaves, sap: everything in birch is good for draining and detoxifying the body! It is often consumed as a cure at the change of season. How to use it for a big spring cleaning?

Every year, as spring approaches , organic stores tout the detox properties of birch juice or sap . And this is no coincidence: birch has diuretic properties , and its use is recognized by the European Medicines Agency.

Eliminating is precisely what we need when, at the end of winter, we feel a little “heavy” and look gray. It is also in spring that birch sap is harvested, particularly in the Hautes-Alpes and the Jura. So now is the right time to take advantage of it! Sap, buds, leaves... all parts of the tree can be used in herbal medicine.

Birch buds to facilitate waste disposal

Birch buds harbor, in their embryonic tissue, growth phytohormones which activate the filtration organs which are the liver and the kidneys. Not only do they strengthen the body's purification capabilities , but they also facilitate the elimination of cholesterol degradation products (bile acid) and meat (uric acid and urea). Thanks to this property, they limit the manifestation of rheumatism such as  gout, and the formation of gallstones or urinary stones.

How to consume birch buds?

According to gemmotherapy (the act of treating oneself with plant buds), we opt for a glycerin macerate of buds in three-week cures, interspersed with one-week breaks.

Birch leaves, to have less cellulite

They are the most used in herbal medicine because they are used to prepare birch juice . Rich in flavonoids and potassium with diuretic properties, they improve water retention or cellulite problems . Thanks to their salicylate derivatives, they are also anti-inflammatory. “A dual action which limits the risk of infection and inflammation of the urinary tract,” indicates Sabine Mortier.

How to consume birch leaves?

They are consumed in herbal teas , a tablespoon of leaves per bowl, three to four times a day, or in juice or in ampoules ready to drink, always as a three-week treatment , possibly to be repeated once, but not beyond so as not to tire the kidneys.

Birch sap, to stock up on minerals

When to take a birch sap cure?

Also called birch water because of its translucent color or "elixir of life", birch sap is collected in spring, in March and April, when it rises from the roots to the branches ("the sap rise") before the blossoming of buds and leaves. We collect it by lightly drilling the trunk of the tree: we make a small hole using a drill bit (a kind of tap) and we insert a pipe which will allow the sap to flow drop by drop towards the chosen container.

To benefit from this fresh and nutritious sap, it is recommended to consume it in the same season as its harvest, i.e. in spring. However, cures are possible all year round with preserved sap.

What are the effects of birch sap?

The main advantage of birch sap? In addition to being draining , it contains alkalizing minerals  : calcium, magnesium, potassium and silicon.

As such, it improves connective tissue, cartilage and bone, therefore joint comfort , and it counteracts excess uric acid (gout). “Diuretic and antispasmodic, it is interesting in cases of renal colic , at the rate of one tablespoon every 2 hours in the immediate aftermath,” specifies Sabine Mortier.

Although there are no conclusive scientific studies on the subject, birch sap is also historically used against kidney stones, ulcers, eczema and even joint pain .

How to consume birch sap?

It is consumed fresh, because of its protein content, and without any processing . It can be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 3 to 4 weeks maximum . It can be stabilized by adding lemon juice, plant buds or a little vegetable alcohol to stabilize the fermentation of the sap.

It is sold in herbalists (from March on the internet), and in organic stores. Its availability in stores may vary depending on the region because the harvest depends on when the sap rise occurs in the territory concerned. Choose pure, undiluted birch sap to benefit from all its benefits.

It is consumed as a three-week treatment . The recommended dose is 2 tablespoons in the morning on an empty stomach. Respect the recommended daily dose carefully, to avoid any risks associated with the consumption of birch.

Do not confuse birch juice and birch sap

These two liquids have a depurative and diuretic action, but are not obtained in the same way.  Birch juice is obtained by decoction of birch leaves , rich in minerals and flavonoids (antioxidants). More concentrated, it is drunk diluted in a large glass of water, unlike birch sap which is drunk pure. The sap is collected directly from the trunk of the tree.

Please note: birch sap is more expensive than birch juice.

Birch cure: adverse effects and precautions for use

  • Beware of cross allergies! If you are allergic to birch pollen , seek the advice of your allergist before drinking its juice or sap. Eating birch can trigger a celery allergy and vice versa.
  • As a further precaution, birch is not recommended for children under 12 years old as well as pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Finally, it is contraindicated for people who suffer from edema due to heart or kidney disease.
  • Anyone taking a diuretic medication should also consult their doctor before taking birch.

Birch essential oil is anti-inflammatory . That of yellow birch ( Betula alleghaniensis ) contains more than 99% methyl salicylate, a powerful anti-inflammatory present in sports massage oils. But be careful not to be allergic to aspirin  !