Is Birch Water The New Super Fluid?
Posted on 18 Aug, 2015
Step aside coconut water – there’s a new health drink on the block. Hailed as the next superdrink, birch water comes from birch trees that grow predominantly in the northern hemisphere. It is removed from the tree using the same process that drains syrup from the maple tree.
In its raw form it is a sweet-tasting liquid that is high in naturally-occurring antioxidants, enzymes, macronutrients, electrolytes and trace minerals. Its restorative and detoxifying properties, combined with its positive nutritional profile, appeals to health-conscious consumers interested in traditional and folk medicine.
In Eastern Europe, Russia and Scandinavia, people have used birch water as a herbal pick-me-up for years. Recently, it’s appeared in cafes and health-food stores in the US and Australia.
1. Decreases Cavities
Birch water is sweet thanks to a naturally occurring sugar alcohol called xylitol, which is produced in the tree’s bark. According to the American Dental Association, xylitol helps fight tooth decay. Because certain decay-causing bacteria cannot use xylitol as a food source, this natural sugar actually helps prevent cavities.
2. Eliminates Cellulite
Birch tree sap contains diuretic properties that help to flush out harmful toxins, uric acid, and excess water from the body. Therefore, it's also thought to help eliminate cellulite from the body. According to Weleda’s “Birch Cellulite Oil,” a dermatologically proven treatment, it aids in getting cellulite “visibly toned down after just one month.” Dermatological tests have found there is a 21 percent increase in smoothness and a 22 percent increase in tightness after just one month of twice a day regular use.
Birch water is also low-calorie – it contains only 5 calories per 100ml.
3. Lowers Cholesterol
Saponin, a compound in birch sap, has been shown to have blood cholesterol-lowering properties. A 1997 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found saponins can lower cholesterol by binding to bile acids and cholesterol. The bile acids form mixed micelles with cholesterol, which facilitates its absorption. Saponins lead to the depletion of body cholesterol by preventing its re-absorption and increasing its excretion.
4. Promotes Liver Health
The sap can also act as a highly-effective detoxifying agent for the liver. It captures and is able to neutralize toxic waste products. It eliminates toxins that only the liver can process such as alcohol, saturated fat, and pesticides, among many others. A 2012 study published in the Polish Botanical Society reviewed the use of tree saps in northern and eastern Europe and found birch tree sap is used as supplementary nutrition in the form of sugar, minerals, and vitamins to help the liver.
5. Promotes Kidney Health
Drinking birch water can benefit the kidneys by eliminating and filtering toxins and impurities through the urinary tract. It eliminates waste that only the liver can process, such as excess salt, uric acid, phosphates, certain medicines, urea, and ammonia. This helps deeply detoxify the body and can even lead to weight loss.
6. Rejuvenates Skin
Birch water is touted for replenishing the skin and protecting the skin cells. The sap can be used as a wash to improve skin texture and relieve skin problems such as eczema and acne.
Birch juice not only rejuvenates but also protects skin cells from oxidative stress, including Ultra Violet rays, environmental pollution, and consequences caused by inflammation.
7. It Is Choc Full Of Minerals
Birch water contains potassium, copper, calcium and zinc. Potassium builds protein and muscle, while copper is important for our brain, heart and nervous system and helps the body form red blood cells. Calcium builds strong teeth and bones, and zinc is important for our immune system and wound healing.
Extract Your Own Birch Water
While most people will be buying their birch water in bottles from shops and websites, those lucky enough to have a silver birch or a North American sweet birch growing in the back garden can get their nourishment for free. It can be collected by driving taps into the base of the trunk or by cutting off the end of one of the branches and attaching a bottle. The sap then drains out - it can take as long as 24 hours to collect a large bottle.
Birch sap can only be collected for a few weeks in the spring, when the tree sends nutrients from its roots up the trunk to new buds forming on its branches. If it’s left too late, the sap becomes bitter. Birch water can be drunk fresh but has a shelf life of just a few days - with some light pasteurisation it can be preserved for much longer.
Gimmick Or Good For You?
It’s important to remember the potential benefits of birch tree sap have not all been scientifically proven. While the water’s health history proves its worth, some of the benefits that are attributed to the drink need more investigation.
Saponins are phytochemicals that are found in many plant foods. While there’s some information that saponins may reduce blood cholesterol, this research is based on saponins in legumes, soybeans and other plant sources, so we can’t yet assume that the saponins in birch will behave the same way.
Also, more evidence is needed of birch water’s benefits for weight loss and detoxing. There could be something there, but at the moment there isn’t enough information about this drink having any specific health effects.
For the moment, till more research comes in, have it as a low kilojoule/low sugar option to replenish fluid loss after your workout.
Where To Get It?
Birch water is still new on the market and is relatively hard to get in stores. The most famous brand globally is Byarozavik. In most parts of the world, you can order it online.
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