Birch Tea: A Spring Tea

LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,515 admin
edited October 2020 in Herbal Medicine-Making

I was browsing through's site and stumbled across how to make birch tea, which is a simple enough, healthy tea. They claim that it is high in vit. C and good for congestion. It is spicy & peppery & smells like wintergreen. It is nice with a little lemon & honey.

My question is...on the video, the recommend it fresh & in spring. Can it be done later? Why it why not? Can the leaves be dried for later use? Why or why not?

I am so looking forward to the changes of seasons to try all these new things that I am learning. Each season has its treasures, to be sure!

Anything else that is pertinent, please share. Thanks!


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,633 admin

    I have a friend who harvests birch leaves for her Wild Gatherings Tea Blend that she markets. She picks them in the spring and dries them. I think they are best picked in the spring for the Vitamin C content as well as the flavour but easily dried.

    An infusion of birch leaves can be used as a diuretic for gout, rheumatism, dropsy, and assisting in dissolving kidney stones; 1-3 cups per day. An infusion of the leaf for treating inflammation and bacterial infections in the urinary tract, cystitis, etc.; 3-4 cups per day. An infusion of the leaf and inner bark is relaxing, analgesic, sedative and diaphoretic for cold and influenza symptoms; ½ cup doses as needed. An infusion of the leaf and inner bark for treating diarrhea and dysentery; ¼ cup doses every 2 hours. Leaves and twigs may be added to a vapour bath for relieving sinus congestion. Containing salicylates, Betula species are useful as pain relievers and anti-inflammatories; infusions of the inner bark in half cup doses for pain and inflammation. 

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2020

    Harvesting the leaves in the fall will contain the food stuff created for the tree's sugar sinks by photosynthesis with the addition of any tree/insect interactions. Insects feed off the nutrient rich sap (phloem), but in doing so, the tree and the insects do a little dance. The insects push triggers into the tree to get the tree to react so that the insect might feast. What is gained or lost by those reactions besides fat bugs? Bacteria, fungi or viruses can result from the reactions. I don't think research is being done on this topic, but just as some symptoms you experience are a result of microbiome dysbiosis and end with the proper repopulation, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that the insect/tree interactions can contribute to your microbiome balance one way or another.

    The spring would have fresh xylem straight up from the roots. Spring leaves/trees would not have much if any interactions with insects at that time as most are not out yet. Traditional gatherings of leaves are in the spring or early summer.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,457 admin

    Well, I don't know! Birch beer is a favorite, but we always harvest when the sap is rising. If you just wanted the flavor for tea, maybe it would be okay to harvest later.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,019 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey thanks for writing about all the wonderful benefits.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,633 admin

    There is a company in BC called 52 North which is producing a beverage made from raw birch sap or birch water. They have flavoured versions as well. This is a link to their website that does a better job than I could explaining the health benefits. I see they are making a new beverage. Spruce Tea.'

    @judsoncarroll4 I have heard that you can make birch beer fut don't know anyone who has done that. I do know of one local who tapped the birch, reduced the sap slightly and made wine from it. I didn't get to try any but my husband was offered a drink once. He said he couldn't taste anything other than it was a white wine. But he has poor taste buds.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,457 admin

    Sure, you can tap a tree or just make a tea and add sugar. The independent Liquorist has several old root beer and birch beer recipes: My old cookbooks have lots of recipes for birch beer and spruce beer. Let me know if you want me to scan a few.

  • John
    John Posts: 163 ✭✭✭

    Super. Going to definitely look into this further. :)