Birch Juice, The New Beauty-boosting Detox For Perfect Skin
Birch is fast becoming the detox ingredient to chase away the winter skin blues. Birch trees are quick to grow and suited to all soil types. In addition, birch also has numerous health and skin-friendly benefits.
Every part of this waste-not, want-not tree can be used:
• Leaves to make birch juice
• Sap (or water) for active ingredient-packed oral solutions
• Buds to make a concentrated macerate or essential oils
• Bark, dried and used in loose or powdered form
Birch is usually taken as an oral solution (juice or sap), but you'll also find birch dietary supplements, creams, lotions, and essential oils.
Birch juice and sap are great for detoxes. Dilute 3 tablespoons of birch juice or sap in 1.5 L of water and sip throughout the day for 3 weeks. This drink has numerous benefits:
• It purifies major organs including the kidneys, liver and pancreas. It drains your body, getting rid of acid and toxic waste and giving you a healthier body.
• Birch beats blemishes while the birch water detox works wonders for skin problems, thanks to birch's powerful purifying, antioxidant properties.
• It detoxes skin from the inside out - for example, downing a spoon of birch syrup every morning for 3 weeks can greatly reduce acne. Over time it purifies and improves the skin.
• Birch reduces water retention. Cellulite and extra weight can sometimes be linked to water retention. Birch juice's diuretic and draining action flushes out toxins, lessening the appearance of such beauty banes.
• Birch is an energy booster - its antioxidant vitamins B and C support your immune system and skin. Full of magnesium and lithium, birch keeps your spirits high and helps prevent sluggishness.
• Birch helps keep your bones and muscles in good nick and, thanks to active ingredients such as calcium and silicon, can reduce joint pain. And that's not all! Its potassium keeps your hearts healthy and circulation in check.
2. Macerates and infusions
All parts of the birch can be used, so if juice or sap isn't up your street, you can always try its bark or buds - steep 20 g of birch bark powder in 50 cL of boiled water for 10 minutes. Dip a moist cotton bud into the potion and dab it on to liver spots for a natural, lightening effect. The bark infusions or compresses can also be topically applied to verruca, eczema and psoriasis.
Researchers at a German university found that birch bark produces a substance similar to keratinocytes (cells that make 90% of the epidermis), which can promote healing and cell regeneration. In other words, birch repairs by boosting cell regeneration.
Birch bud macerates can lower cholesterol, whilst infusions can boost renal, cardio-renal and liver functions. Boil 150 g of birch buds in 1 L of water and simmer until reduced by half. Drink three glasses max a day.
3. Face mist and blemish-busters
For a cleansing face mist, you'll need:
• 200 mL of fresh birch sap
• 1 clove or 5 drops of grapefruit seed extract (to act as a preservative)
• A spray bottle
Shake up the ingredients in the bottle and spray on your face every morning.
For a blemish-buster, you'll need:
• 25 cL of fresh birch sap or birch water
• An ice cube tray
• 2 small squares of gauze or a thin fabric
Fill the ice cube tray with the sap/water and freeze overnight. The next day, wrap a frozen cube in the fabric and apply to any bags, circles blemishes. It will instantly purify and decongest your skin!
Although birch is packed with goodness, it can have some undesirable side effects. So, stick to recommended doses to avoid potential gastrointestinal problems. If you're allergic to birch pollen, give this one a miss, or you could end up with hives or rashes. Be warned that taking birch can cause an allergic reaction to celery and vice versa!