Abedul, Arbre de Sagesse, Betula, Betula alba, Betula pendula, Betula pubescens, Betula verrucosa, Betulae Folium, Biole, Bois à Balais, Boulard, Bouleau Blanc, Bouleau Odorant, Downy Birch, Sceptre des Maîtres d'École, Silver Birch, White Birch.


Overview Information

Birch are trees that are native to Europe and parts of Asia. The leaves, bark, and buds of the tree are used to make medicine.

Birch is used for joint pain, kidney stones, bladder stones, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support any use.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Some experts warn that birch may interfere with the body's response against COVID-19. There is no strong data to support this warning. But there is also no good data to support using birch for COVID-19.

How does it work?

Birch leaves contain chemicals which increase water loss through the urine.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Joint pain.
  • Kidney stones.
  • Bladder stones.
  • Infections of the kidney, bladder, or urethra (urinary tract infections or UTIs).
  • Rough, scaly patches on skin caused by long-term sun exposure (actinic keratosis), when applied to the skin.
  • Dandruff, when applied to the skin.
  • Hair loss, when applied to the skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of birch for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Birch is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth for short periods of time. It can cause allergic reactions in some people.

When applied to the skin: Birch is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when applied to the skin for short periods of time. It can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if birch is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Allergy to wild carrot, mugwort, celery, and other spices: Birch pollen might cause allergies in people who are sensitive to wild carrot, mugwort, and celery. This has been called the "celery-carrot-mugwort-spice syndrome." Birch pollen might also cause allergies in people who are sensitive to certain other plants, including apples, soybeans, hazelnuts, and peanuts.

High blood pressure: There is some concern that birch leaf might increase the amount of salt (sodium) that the body retains. This can make high blood pressure worse.



Minor Interaction

Be watchful with this combination

  • Water pills (Diuretic drugs) interacts with BIRCH

    Birch seems to work like "water pills" by causing the body to lose water. Taking birch along with other "water pills" might cause the body to lose too much water. Losing too much water can cause you to be dizzy and your blood pressure to go too low.
    Some "water pills" include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, Hydrodiuril, Microzide), and others.



The appropriate dose of birch depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for birch. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


  • Huyke, C., Laszczyk, M., Scheffler, A., Ernst, R., and Schempp, C. M. [Treatment of actinic keratoses with birch bark extract: a pilot study]. J Dtsch.Dermatol Ges 2006;4(2):132-136. View abstract.
  • Lahti, A. and Hannuksela, M. Immediate contact allergy to birch leaves and sap. Contact Dermatitis 1980;6(7):464-465. View abstract.
  • Winther, L., Malling, H. J., Moseholm, L., and Mosbech, H. Allergen-specific immunotherapy in birch- and grass-pollen-allergic rhinitis. I. Efficacy estimated by a model reducing the bias of annual differences in pollen counts. Allergy 2000;55(9):818-826. View abstract.
  • Allam JP, Wuestenberg E, Wolf H, et al. Immunologic response and safety in birch pollen sublingual versus oral vestibule immunotherapy: a pilot study. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014;133(6):1757-9.e3. View abstract.
  • Asero R. Effects of birch pollen-specific immunotherapy on apple allergy in birch pollen-hypersensitive patients. Clin Exp Allergy 1998;28(11):1368-73. View abstract.
  • Bauer L, Ebner C, Hirschwehr R, et al. IgE cross-reactivity between birch pollen, mugwort pollen, and celery is due to three distinct cross-reacting allergens: immunoblot investigation of the birch-mugwort-celery syndrome. Clin Exp Allergy 1996;26:1161-70. View abstract.
  • Berrens L, van Dijk AG, Houben GF, Hagemans ML, Koers WJ. Cross-reactivity among the pollen proteins of birch and apple trees. Allerg Immunol 1990;36(3):147-56. View abstract.
  • Glaumann S, Nopp A, Johansson SG, et al. Anaphylaxis to peanuts in a 16-year-old girl with birch pollen allergy and with monosensitization to Ara h 8. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2013;1(6):698-9. View abstract.
  • Hansen KS, Ballmer-Weber BK, Lüttkopf D, et al. Roasted hazelnuts--allergenic activity evaluated by double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge. Allergy 2003;58(2):132-8. View abstract.
  • Meyer-Hoffert U, Brasch J. Allergic contact dermatitis caused by betulin-containing triterpene extract from the outer bark of birch (Betula alba). Contact Dermatitis. 2013;68(6):382-3. View abstract.
  • Mittag D, Akkerdaas J, Ballmer-Weber BK, et al. Ara h 8, a Bet v 1-homologous allergen from peanut, is a major allergen in patients with combined birch pollen and peanut allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2004;114(6):1410-7. View abstract.
  • Mittag D, Vieths S, Vogel L, et al. Soybean allergy in patients allergic to birch pollen: clinical investigation and molecular characterization of allergens. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2004;113(1):148-54. View abstract.
  • Osterballe, M., Hansen, T. K., Mortz, C. G., and Bindslev-Jensen, C. The clinical relevance of sensitization to pollen-related fruits and vegetables in unselected pollen-sensitized adults. Allergy 2005;60(2):218-25. View abstract.
  • Robbers JE, Tyler VE. Tyler's Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. New York, NY: The Haworth Herbal Press, 1999.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.