Many times, we forget that essential oils can come from trees just as easily as they do from sweet flowers and fruits. Betula lenta or sweet birch is one such tree, used as an ornamental as well as for medical purposes in folk medicine. Though it may not be one you'd considered before, there are several proven benefits and uses of birch essential oil.
This post contains affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission if items are purchased, at no extra cost to you. This does not affect our opinions expressed above. For more info, read about our approach.
Many times, we forget that essential oils can come from trees just as easily as they do from sweet flowers and fruits. Betula lenta or sweet birch is one such tree, used as an ornamental as well as for medical purposes in folk medicine. Though it may not be one you’d considered before, there are several proven benefits and uses of birch essential oil.
Recommended Birch Based Products:
6 Major Benefits and Uses of Birch Essential Oil
1. Repel Flour Moths
It may not be something you think about often, but there are all kinds of insects that would love to get into your food supplies and eat them. Being able to repel insects that infest important food items such as flour is important, as spraying chemical pesticides may also poison the very food you are trying to save. This is vital in other countries where flour for bread is an essential staple in the diet. It has been shown that sweet birch oil is effective in repelling many different species of flour moth and other pests but is not nearly as toxic to humans as other pesticides. (1)
Treat the ear of your home where you store baking goods with a spray of birch oil and water. This should prevent any infestation of pests in your food.
2. Treat Acne
Acne can be an annoying condition to deal with. It can cause embarrassing red spots across the face and even down the back. If not treated, it may also lead to scarring that could impact self-image. One of the main constituents of birch oil is salicylic acid, a substance found in many over the counter acne treatments. It works in various ways, either by controlling the skin’s natural oil, opening pores, and then killing the trapped bacteria that is causing the raised bumps. This oil also has the added benefit of being a pain killer, so it may help ease the pain caused by inflamed pores. (2)
You can add a drop of birch to any facial lotions you already use to assist with acne control. You might also make your own spot treatment with birch oil, tea tree oil diluted with a carrier oil.
3. Topical Pain-Killer
Essential oils like birch oil have been used for centuries for their painkilling properties. Modern science has even used these oils as the basis for such common medicines like aspirin. Birch oil’s salicylic acid is primarily responsible for its use as a pain killer. Studies have shown that it can block the signals along the nerves and does so longer than other traditional methods. (3)
Add 2-3 drops of oil to the carrier oil of your choice. Apply topically to the affected area like muscle aches and stiff joints.
4. Moderate Arthritis Symptoms
Joint pain can be the result of several conditions, including some autoimmune disorders such as rheumatic arthritis. It makes it difficult to bend the joints and can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. Birch oil has been found to be particularly helpful for rheumatic conditions such as rheumatic arthritis by reducing the inflammation found in the joints, allowing for improved movement. It is also a topical pain killer and can help with pain associated with swollen joints. (4)
Prepare a topical application with 2-3 drops of birch oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil. Apply to affected joints a few times a day to ease some of the pain and stiffness that is created by rheumatic conditions. You may want to add some peppermint oil, which causes a cooling sensation as it dulls pain and eases inflammation.
5. Treat Yeast Infections
Most people are familiar with a form of yeast found in our bodies. It can be thrown into overgrowth by certain types of medication or stressors. This is candida albicans, and an overgrowth can become thrush or a vaginal infection. Other types of yeast can be harmful to the body when found in excessive quantities. Birch essential oil has been found to be effective against several types of yeast, even those that were previously resistant to traditional treatments. This oil can be helpful for those susceptible to Candida krusei, such as transplant patients and those compromised immune systems. (5)
6. Ease Headaches
Birch oil is comprised of salicylic acid, found in both birches and willow trees. These oils have been used for hundreds of years to ease body pain and was eventually developed into medicines such as aspirin that can be taken as an over the counter analgesic. This component not only makes birch an excellent topical pain killer but has also been shown to help reduce headaches, much like taking aspirin would. (6)
Add a few drops birch oil to water or carrier oil and apply to your temples for headache relief. Diffusing throughout your house would also give you the same benefit.
What is the Best Birch Essential Oil?
Some of the best essential oils come from trees, as is true with Birch. This essential oil has a long history of medicinal and ornamental uses, especially in folk medicine. Finding the best Birch essential oil can be challenging, so we’ve picked out three great options with varying uses below.
Edens Garden Birch Essential Oil
You’ll get a 100% vegan essential oil that can help soothe aching joints. It’s GC/MS-certified for quality, and the cold pressing ensures you get a very concentrated oil. It’s hand-poured, and it comes in four different size options.
Best for: Soothing Achy Joints
Miracle Botanicals Sweet Birch Essential Oil
Sweet Birch is one of the few authentic essential oils available on the market, and it has a more complex scent. You can use it in the bath as well or in massage oils. It’s extremely concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
Best for: Aromatherapy
My Favorite Use Of Birch Essential Oil
It started innocently enough, with one or two tiny raised bumps along my chin. In fact, those bumps were easily treated with tea tree oil, lulling me into a false sense of security that those bumps were not, in fact, just a sign of a very difficult outbreak of acne vulgaris about to take over my face and back.
I was proven wrong when further bumps appeared, larger and more inflamed than the first set. It was happening as my body was trying to recover from pregnancy, hormones still irregular enough to have an outbreak of acne brought about by the changes in my body.
Having used essential oils in many of my skin care products, I wanted to use something that was known for treating acne but also included some pain killing ability as my skin had become incredibly sensitive and the bumps not only itched but ached as well.
Many over the counter acne treatments contain salicylic acid, the main component of birch oil. The best benefit of using the oil versus an over the counter remedy was the lack of extra chemicals used to make a shelf stable cream. I could apply the birch oil well diluted in jojoba oil and apply directly to the acne on my face and back. I would also add a couple of drops to my bath. This helped to reduce the breakout on my body that became irritated under my clothing all day. After a few weeks of use, the acne was all but gone, and there were very few scars left behind.
Recommended Birch Oil-Based Products
1. Naturopathica Sweet Birch Magnesium Bath Flakes
- TREAT CHRONIC MUSCLE ACHES, CRAMPS, AND STIFFNESS with therapeutic...
- FEATURES SWEET BIRCH (Methyl Salicylate): This warming oil is renowned...
- FILL BATHTUB WITH WARM WATER. ADD ONE OUNCE OF BATH FLAKES to still...
Birch oil has been shown to have analgesic properties when applied to the skin. Soaking in a warm bath and adding these flakes will allow you to enjoy a full body experience, where muscle aches and joint pain are eased. The warm water will open the pores of your skin, allowing the birch oil to be more readily absorbed. This may also be helpful in reducing inflammation and helping to control any acne you may experience in other areas of your body.
2. Gender Neutral Soap – 100% Natural & Hand Made
This soap is meant to be different from other soaps that contain essential oils in that it is not overly feminine in scent, as birch oil smells closer to wintergreen than many other tree-based oils. The scent makes it appropriate for men and women. It is also composed of plant-based products, which means that it can clean your skin without the over-drying that comes with many chemical products. The birch oil may also be useful in controlling breakouts of acne on your body.
Caution of Birch Essential Oil
- Do not use this oil if you are on any type of blood thinner (Coumadin, warfarin, etc.) as this may increase the effect.
- Do not use this oil before surgery as it may increase the likelihood of post-operative bleeding.
- Birch essential oil should not be taken internally.
- Always choose quality birch essential oil from reputable suppliers.
- Always dilute birch oil with water or a carrier oil when applying to your skin to prevent any sensitivities.
- Do not use with other topical acne treatments as it may cause an over-drying of the skin.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the benefits of birch oil. Please be sure to share this information with anyone who may be suffering from a breakout of acne or even conditions such as rheumatic arthritis and looking for natural ways to treat find relief.