Family Betulaceae

Habitat ► Temperate Himalaya from Kashmir to Bhutan.

English ► Himalayan Silver Birch, Indian Paper tree.

Ayurvedic ► Bhuurja, Bahulvalkala, Bahuputa, Lekhyapatraka, Charmi, Chitrapatra, Bhutahaa.

Bidens pilosa Linn.

Folk ► Bhojapatra.

Siddha/Tamil ► Boorjapattram (leaves).

Action ► Resin—laxative. Leaves— diuretic; used in the form of infusion in gout, rheumatism, dropsy, and as a solvent of stones in the kidneys; used in skin affections, especially eczema. Bark—used in convulsions. Oil—astringent, antiseptic.

Key application ► (B. pendula) In irrigation therapy for bacterial and inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract and for kidney gravel; supportive therapy for rheumatic ailment. (German Commission E, ESCOP.)

European Silver Birch is equated with Betula alba L., synonym B. pendula Roth. Astringent, diuretic, antiinflammatory, bitter, cholagogue; contains salicylates. Used for kidney and bladder complaints, sluggish kidney functions, rheumatism and gout. Methyl salicylate is obtained by distillation of the twigs. In an Indian sp., B. acuminata, methyl salicylate (92.8%) has been reported in the essential oil of the bark. B. utilis is also a close relative of B. pendula.

Dosage ► Bark—3-5 g powder; decoction—50-100 ml (CCRAS.)

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