Herbal Ally: Birch.
"The Birch Trees loom ahead like a brotherhood of ghosts.”
― Lisa Ann Sandell
An indiginous native American tale tells of a young woman who was to marry a man in an arranged marriage but was in love with another. She continued to grow even more distraught as the wedding date grew closer. Finally a medicine man was sent to her, but she had already decided that death was better than a loveless marriage. When she died, it broke the heart and spirit of the man she truly loved, and he also grew sick and died. The Medicine Man felt sorry and gifted the couple life again as birch trees, standing side by side.This is why when you walk through the woods you will find Birch Trees standing as a pair surrounded by the children of these long-ago lovers.
Traditionally the bark, twigs, leaves and sap were used medicinally and still are today thought it’s a less common herb to use. In the winter, the trees are tapped the same way and time as maples for their sap. The sap is full of vitamins and minerals and makes a wonderful spring-time tonic; including calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, thiamine and vitamin C. You will often seen it sold in glass jars as Birch Water. Birch has a pleasant flavor, both rich and spicy, sweet and tastes of root beer. Energetically Birch is warming, sweet and drying. As a medicinal herb it has an affinity for the urinary tract and kidneys.
Historically, Birch has been used in a number of ways. Native Americans soaked pieces of the bark in water until the bark was soft then closely fitted it to broken limbs, tied it with bark thongs and let it harden into place to form a cast.They also used bark for building canoes, thatching buildings, making baskets and more. Today, Birch is still used in a variety of ways: the wood is used in making speaker cabinets, acoustic guitar bodies and drums.
If you would like to learn more about this noble Herbal Ally, check out our Birch Herbal Ally Box.
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