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Why All the Fuss about Birch Waters

This fashionable drink from birch trees has a long history of healing

Illustration of dog and birch trees

Dog-wood Summer by Yumi Kawaguchi

The Birch as Goddess of ProtectionMany Native American traditions view the birch tree as a protector. Birch bark is of course famous for canoes and waterproof shelters. When caught out during lightning storms, native peoples would seek protection under birch trees because they’re rarely struck and tend not to be killed when they are struck. Many tribes also wrapped their dead with birch bark so that the birch tree would continue protecting their loved ones in the afterlife. In Europe, druids knew the birch tree as the “Lady of the Woods” and it represented revitalization and rebirth because it’s often the first tree to bud leaves in the spring. Thus newlyweds were given birch bark presents to ensure fertility. In other parts of Europe, the birch tree is seen as a goddess of nurturing and cultivation because it settles in uncultivated, harsh terrain and gradually nourishes the land so that other trees and plants can settle in. The Birch as MedicineBirch bark contains methyl salicylate, known as oil of wintergreen, which is a combination of salicylic acid (aspirin) and methanol. Methyl sali …

This entry is tagged with:
Natural HealingNative AmericanSuperfoodsAlternative Medicine

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