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Home » Plant infomation

Betula lenta  L.


Botanical Name


Betula lenta L.

English Name


Sweet birch, Black birch, Cherry birch, Mahogany birch, River birch, Spice birch



Betula carpinifolia Willd.





General Info


A medium-sized deciduous tree reaching 20 m tall with a trunk up to 60 cm diameter. The bark is (unlike most birches) rough, dark blackish-brown, cracking into irregular scaly plates. The twigs, when scraped, have a strong scent of oil of wintergreen. The leaves are alternate, ovate, 5-10 cm long and 4-8 cm broad, with a finely serrated margin. The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins 3-6 cm long, the male catkins pendulous, the female catkins erect. The fruit, maturing in fall, is composed of numerous tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts.

Herb Effects

Anthelmintic, astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic and stimulant (bark); anti-inflammatory, analgesic and rubefacient (bark essential oil)


Plants For A Future
Herbal Descriptions - Black Birch - Betula lenta


Active Ingredients

Betulin, betulinic acid, methyl salicylate (bark)

Chemistry of Active Ingredients
Product Categories






Product Categories
Betulin Not Available Not Available C30H50O2 Click Here To Enlarge
Betulinic Acid 4481-62-3 Not Available C30H46O3 Click Here To Enlarge
Methyl salicylate 8024-54-2 methyl
C8H8O3 Click Here To Enlarge


Medicinal Use

A tea made from the bark is used in the treatment of fevers, stomach aches and lung ailments, it is said to be an excellent tonic in cases of dysentery and to be useful in the treatment of gravel and female obstructions. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism, bladder infections, neuralgia, diarrhea and boils. A tea made from the twigs is used in the treatment of fevers. The leaves can be chewed or used in an infusion in the treatment of dysentery. The leaves are used in tea for urinary problems, and to expel intestinal worms.


James A Duke and Maryl Fulton. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs - 2nd Edition, P: 709, CRC Press July 2002.



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