Extract from White Birch Tree Relieves Itch

The forest is full of things that make you itchy: poison ivy, poison oak, mosquitoes, chiggers. But for the wise adventurer, the forest also provides a way to heal your itch. The remedy might be found in the beautiful white birch tree.

White birch trees are ubiquitous in cold climates. A photo of the white tree against white snow is iconic of New England winters. A bark extract called Betulin (a terpene like tea tree oil) has been shown in animal studies to be antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and to aid in wound healing. Research presented at the annual congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology showed that a cream containing betulin significantly reduced itching in red, irritated skin in psoriasis and eczema patients.

The study is only preliminary, and betulin will need to be tested in rigorous trials to see if the extract makes a cream much better than placebo cream; however, betulin is already available in creams in Europe.

So how do you get the extract out of the bark if you’re ┬áitchy while hiking in a forest? I’ll wait for Bear Grylls to show us on a future episode of Man Vs. Wild. No doubt a fire and half a plastic bottle will be needed.

Photo: Nicolas T

6 thoughts on “Extract from White Birch Tree Relieves Itch

  1. My father makes wine from birch tree sap by tapping it like a maple tree. I would assume that you could get the sap the same way for relieving itches. Bore a small hole in the bark of the tree and put a spout on it. Collect the sap in a bucket below the spout.

  2. Nice post.I would like to add one simple remedy to reduce itchiness i.e Mix equal amounts of cinnamon powder and honey to make a paste and apply it on the affected area.

  3. Try this, hope you find it useful, as we know neem is an effective remedy for all types of skin problems.Apply neem oil to the affected areas gives relief from itching.you can also take neem bath by boiling neem leaves in bath water.You can find such type of home remedies on http://www.myskin.com/forum/default.aspx?g=posts&t=54.
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