In less than two weeks, winter will officially be over. One of the first things coming to my mind when thinking about spring is getting back to barefoot running through the grass as soon as possible! Spring also means the return of the bees and getting overwhelmed by the intense perfume and beauty of the first flowers.
But to me, one of the most magical moments of March is the harvest of birch sap.
The birch tree (Betula pendula), sacred in many cultures for its medicinal properties, offers us its depurative characteristics, thanks to its sap, and helps us to charge our batteries after a more sedentary lifestyle that includes excessive eating during the winter months.
Everything from the birch tree is used:
- Infused leaves and buds alleviate disorders of the urinary tract and the pain of rheumatism. The first leaves are also edible, and can be added to your salad;
- The bark is diuretic, antiseptic, and can be used as a tonic. It is used to clean the skin and also to treat diseases such as rheumatism, gout, or eczema;
- the birch fungus (Chaga) has important antioxidant, antitumor, and immunoregulatory properties.
Today we will examine the birch’s sap – its water of life without equal. The first time I tried it many years ago, I could not believe it! The taste was heavenly and made me think inevitably of the magic potion made by Druid Panoramix.
What exactely is birch sap?
It is a nearly colorless, slightly sweet liquid that comes from water absorbed by the birches through their roots. This liquid feeds the buds and stimulates their development.
How is it obtained?
The extraction of birch sap is possible for about six weeks, from late February to early- or mid-April, but the period may vary because of latitudes. The best time is just before the buds break and the first leaves appear.
Depending on the size of the trunk, you can obtain up to five liters per day per tree without causing any damage. Always choose young trees.
- Use a chisel or knife to make a round hole in the trunk of between 5 and 8 cm deep and 5 to 8 mm in diameter.
- Insert a cannula tube several centimeters long that leads to a glass bottle that you previously tied to the tree. Leave it there for a few hours or even a couple of days.
- Once you have finished removing the water, close the hole with a twig of the same birch (or some moss), thanking her for the gift.
- The sap can be kept in the refrigerator in glass bottles or containers (keeps fresh for around three weeks), and we are ready to start our spring cure!
Properties and benefits of birch sap
- Rich in minerals (potassium and calcium), trace elements such as copper, iron, manganese, zinc and vitamin C.
- It remineralizes the body and strengthens bone tissue, in both growth-age children and adults with osteoporosis-type ailments.
- Its antioxidant flavonoids, such as quercetin, protect cells of the dermis and epidermis, delaying aging.
- It contains chlorogenic acid, which regulates the activity of the immune system by reducing arthritis inflammation.
- It contains the active ingredient, methyl salicylate, whose effect is comparable to that of acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) – a topical analgesic for pain.
- The sap is an excellent diuretic and tonic remedy that helps eliminate toxins such as uric acid, cholesterol, and fats by stimulating the liver and draining through the kidneys. It may even dissolve kidney stones.
Where and how to get it
These days you can find the sap in health food stores, but if you have the possibility to harvest it yourself and drink it fresh, I highly recommend it. It’s healthy, and it’s also a delicious way to reconnect with Nature.
For purifying purposes of our spring cure, start the day with half a glass (100 ml) on an empty stomach, and go up to one cup per day for a minimum of two days, during a maximum of three weeks. Note that the sap contains substances that our bodies are not used to, so drink a small amount, and observe how you react to it first.
Don’t miss another spring without trying this heavenly water!
Have you ever tried birch sap? Would you like to share your experience? See you in the comments.
In the meantime, I wish you a springtime full of energy and inspiration!
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