Herbal Remedies For Kidney Stones
The common Birch Tree is a very versatile and useful herb. It has many medicinal uses, as well as being a common additive in various parts of Europe to certain types of beers, wines and ciders and vinegars. (see ‘Herbal Remedies and Homeopathy’, published by Geddes and Grosset.)
The Birch Family are native to Europe and Canada, but now are common in New Zealand and parts of Australia.
The much renowned herbalist John Lust gives several medicinal uses of various types of birch tree in his little herbal entitled ”The Herb Book’.
There are many different species of birch tree, and they all possess medicinal and healing properties. The White Birch is the one most used for kidney ailments. It is an old and well-tried folk medicine which was formerly much used to dissolve kidney stones.
Of course, you must see your physician or your health professional if you suspect you might have kidney stones. This post is for information only.
The freshly picked, young leaves are commonly used in herbal medicines, but the bark of the paper birch can also be peeled off in strips and used to make an herbal tea or infusion.
Note: You do not use dried birch leaves in herbal medicine. The leaves must always be fresh, according to John Lust.
The White Birch, Betula alba: This is also known as canoe birch, and paper birch.
The White Birch Tree leaves are astringent, diuretic and diaphoretic in their action.
White Birch Leaf Tea: An infusion of white birch leaves is said to eliminate gravel and dissolve kidney stones when it is made into an infusion and taken daily over a period of time. The dose is 1 to 1 1/2 cups a day, sipped at intervals through the day.
White Birch Leaf Wash For External Use: A strong infusion of birch tree leaves can be used as a skin wash for skin problems such as acne, and eczema. If the skin problem is severe, the outer bark is recommended to make a decoction or ointment to be used on the skin.
For Baldness: A decoction of the leaves is recommended for baldness. Leaves can be pounded to extract the juice, and this juice can be massaged into the scalp to help hair growth. Birch leaf tea is also good for the hair.
Hair Tonic: Alternatively, to help hair growth, you could pound up some leaves and add them to apple cider vinegar. I would infuse them in the vinegar for two weeks, and then strain off the vinegar and bottle it.
Apple cider vinegar is very good for hair growth, as it is rich in nutrients and helps to neutralize the scalp after using soap or shampoo. Birch tree leaves added to the vinegar would make a very potent hair restorative. Massage a little into the dried but damp hair after washing.
Insomnia: Use Birch Tea For Restful Sleep: Birch Tree leaf tea is a mild sedative, which is partly why it is good for skin problems such as eczema, which are often stress related. A cup of mild tea can be taken at bedtime to help you have a good night’s sleep.
Use as a Bath Additive: Put a handful of fresh leaves into your bath water. This is good for the skin, and is conducive to a good night’s sleep.
The inner bark contains an oil which is sometimes substituted for wintergreen in liniment.
Standard Recipe for a Medicinal Tea: Infuse 1 tbsp leaves in ½ cup hot water
Decoction for Kidney Stones: This is John Lust’s recipe. Use 1 tbsp leaves with ½ cup water. Boil briefly, let stand for 2 hours. Then add ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda. Take up to 1 cup a day.
Expressed juice from the leaves can be taken one teaspoon at a time, as required.
Sweet Birch Tree: The botanical name is betula lenta, also known as black birch, cherry birch, mahogany birch, mountain mahogany, spice birch, and sweet birch.
Sweet Birch is anthelmintic, astringent, and diuretic in its action.
As in Betula alba, the white birch, the leaves and bark can be used.
For Intestinal Worms and Urinary Problems . Like the White Birch, Sweet Birch has a therapeutic action on the kidneys. However, sweet birch leaf tea is used more for urinary problems and to dispel intestinal worms.
Tea from inner bark makes a good mouthwash. This tea can also be taken for diarrhea, rheumatism, and boils.
How To Make Birch Leaf Tea: Use 1 teaspoon of inner bark or leaves. Pour over a cup of boiling water and let stand for five minutes. Strain. Take 1 to 2 cups per day to soothe the nerves and for conditions such as gout, rheumatism and dropsy, or to help prevent kidney stones.
The inner bark of Betula lenta, like betula alba, produces an oil similar to oil of wintergreen: This can be distilled from the inner bark and twigs. The oil of the Birch Tree Bark is used externally for treating eczema and other skin diseases.