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Himalayan birch

During my recent trip to Kashmir, I came across Himalayan Birch, which is also known as Bhojpatra or Bhurja. The tree holds so much importance in Ayurveda, owing to its amazing properties!

 

What is Himalayan birch?

 

The perennial Himalayan birch (Betula utilis) is a member of the Betulaceae family of trees.It grows in neutral, essential and acidic soils.

 

Originally from the Himalayas, the tree is currently found in China, Bhutan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, India, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Kazakhstan and Pakistan. It was utilized for writing in the past. Because of its anti-dandruff properties, it also has cosmetic applications. 

 

The therapeutic properties of Himalayan birch are numerous, and it is a unique source of phytochemical substances. 

 

Medicinal properties

 

Bhojpatra has many medicinal properties that make it an ingredient in Ayurvedic medicines. 

 

It belongs to a group of herbs that are proven to be anti-diabetic. The bark of  the tree is fragile and lightweight, like paper and is used in making medicines to reduce diabetes. One of the most important Ayurvedic medicines made with this herb is Ayaskriti. 

 

It is also used to treat convulsions, bleeding, diarrhea, wound cleaning, earaches and mental illnesses. 

 

Additional properties

 

The bark of Himalayan birch was also utilized to make paper in the past. It is said that Kalidasa, the classical Sanskrit author wrote his scriptures on specially prepared thin sheets from the bark of this tree. It is still used today as a paper for writing mantras and even worn as protection in some parts of India.

 

The Himalayas have a great wealth of medicinal plants but it is also sad to know many of these species are now threatened and Himalayan birch is now categorized as “critically endangered” due to deforestation, over-harvesting and global warming.

 

Himalayan birch is well-known for its therapeutic and helpful properties in Ayurveda. They are known to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and are mainly used to make Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes. There are a lot more properties of this tree. But the sad part is it is reducing in count due to climatic change and other environmental factors.

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Consult with Dr. Rekha Radhamony