Forget coconut water – BIRCH water is the craze everyone will be obsessed with in 2015: The detoxing super-liquid is even supposed to even reduce cellulite!
In the last few years, coconut water has gone from being a kitsch treat that is consumed on a tropical beach holiday, to an all-singing and dancing beverage bought by anyone in the UK who has the slightest interest in clean-living.
But the liquid could soon be toppled from the No.1 health drink list by birch water – a product that comes from trees found in the back gardens of thousands of Brits across the UK.
Birch water is pure sap from birch trees. It is popular because of its clear appearance and easy-to-drink nature. Birch trees are one of life’s natural filters. They spend the entire year absorbing rich and diverse minerals from the soil they grow upon. During a few weeks in the springtime, the trees are tapped to yield a refreshing drink traditionally known for its low sugar content, minerals & antioxidants, and detoxifying benefits. The taste is lightly sweet with a woody accent.
Sapp Birch Water is EU & USDA organic and contains one key ingredient – birch sap. Harvested direct from hundreds of trees on sustainable land, it is never diluted with water. It contains no added sugar, and on its own is among the lowest natural sugar plant-based drinks. It’s a great way to stay hydrated and refreshed. Sapp also offers two unique and organic herbal infusions: with leaves of Nettle and berries of Rosehip.
The health elixir is touted as one of the best juices you can drink compared to coconut water because it has restorative and detoxifying properties. Its naturally healthy, sweet, and positive nutritional profile appeals to health-conscious consumers interested in traditional and folk medicine. Birch sap can help boost immunity, fight fatigue, treat arthritis and joint pain. It also acts as an energy or sports boost to prevent migraines.
The thin, watery sap has the potential to takeover coconut water, since it contains naturally occurring nutrients, which can help aid a range of ailments. It’s time to tap the sap and taste the sweet benefits of birch tree sap:
Supports liver health:As birch water helps to eliminate toxins, it’s no surprise that it also works to promote better live health as the liver isn’t forced to do more than it was meant to. Birch sap helps to get rid of toxins that only the liver can process, like saturated fat, alcohol, pesticides and many others.
A 2012 study published in the Polish Botanical Society showed that after reviewing the use of tree saps throughout Europe, that birch tree sap in particular could be considered supplementary nutrition, with its sugars, minerals, and vitamins supporting the liver.
Decreases Cavities:The consumption of birch water can help you maintain good oral health due to xylitol. The natural sugar can prevent cavities, since some types of decay-causing bacteria cannot use xylitol as a food source. “Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that is harvested from birch trees and their sap. Xylitol has been proven to decrease risk of cavities and is a widely-used sugar substitute.”
Lower cholesterol:A compound found in birch sap known as saponin has been shown in studies to offer blood cholesterol-reducing properties. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that saponins can lower cholesterol by binding to cholesterol and bile acids. The saponins lead to a reduction of cholesterol by preventing its reabsorption, and increasing its excretions, the scientists noted.
Weight loss:Birch water can even support your weight loss efforts. As it helps to eliminate excess salt, phosphates, uric acids, ammonia and certain medicines, getting rid of these impurities helps to cleanse the urinary tract, and as a result, assists one in losing weight. The reason it can be effective is that when toxins are allowed to build up, the body tends to hold onto fat as a way to protect its organs. If those toxins are eliminated, it eases the struggle most of us face when trying to lose pounds.
Nathalie Chantal de Ahna chronicled her experience using birch water as part of a cleanse for Mind Body Green and noted that she not only lost weight, but her skin was clearer and she felt better too. To those who’d like to try it, she recommends detoxing with birch water (sap) by drinking 3/4 cup on an empty stomach every day for four to six weeks.
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.
Clearer, brighter skin:That Nathalie of Mind Body Green experienced clearer skin after using birch water as part of a detox, is a benefit well-known by many users of the beverage, including nutritionists. Nutrition coach Candice Van Eeden (DipCNM mBANT CNHC), who has extensively researched the benefits of birch water, says that as it is able to effectively eliminate toxins, the natural result is clearer, brighter skin. Not only can it be used to achieve those affects by drinking it, but it can be used directly on the skin. It’s believed to protect skin from external stresses like UV rays and pollution, as well as to improve skin elasticity.
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 reabsorption and increasing its excretion.
Faster wound healing:In addition to clearing the skin and even helping to heal skin conditions like acne and eczema, as birch water stimulates the growth of dermal and epidermal cells, it’s also known to speed the healing of wounds. In a study in the journal PLOS One, the authors noted that birch bark was used by North American Indians who wrapped their wounds with it to accelerate would healing. Researchers found that birch bark extract increases the ability of injured skin to produce inflammatory substances which attract the types of cells needed to remove dead tissue and bacteria. It actually causes the skin cells to move into the injury, helping to heal and close it faster.
Their findings also support previous lab data that showed a beneficial effect on cell proliferation and cell migration.
Promotes Kidney Health:Drinking birch water can benefit the kidneys by eliminating and filtering waste 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. “Extracts from the leaves have been used in herbal supplement combinations to aid detox, kidney function and bladder health by supporting the body’s natural elimination of toxins and impurities — it partly does this by acting as a diuretic.”
Joint pain relief:Nutritionist Candice Van Eeden also has remarked of birch water’s benefits when it comes to joint pain. Birch sap is well-known to help with conditions like arthritis and osteoarthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce swelling. Additionally, Van Eeden says that because a buildup of uric acid in the body is toxic, excess uric acid can result in joint pain or even arthritis. Strenuous exercise is one factor that can result in the body producing excess uric acid, and she notes that about 1 in 5 people experience this condition.
Drinking birch water regularly can help to prevent a buildup of crystals in the joints to prevent pain from occurring in the first place. You can even apply it to affected joints directly by making a compress from steamed, mashed birch leaves to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation, in addition to drinking it to help heal from the inside too.
How To Make Your Own Birch Water
So now that you know why birch water has become all the rage, you probably want to know how to get some. Due to its growing popularity, it’s becoming more widely available at markets and health food stores, but you can also make your own if you live in an area with birch trees. Just about any northern area in the northern hemisphere has them.
When to get the sap. If you have birch trees in your area, you can get the sap anytime temperatures are above freezing, usually sometime between March and early November, depending on where you live, and how cold the winter has been.
What to look for. There are a number of different birch species, though they all can be used and are easily identifiable by their white and grey bark. The most common are the white birch and the silver birch. Look for trees that are at least 10 inches around in diameter, and appear to be healthy. Trees that have lots of branches typically have the best sap flow.
Getting the sap out. Getting the sap out isn’t rocket science, in fact, it’s fairly easy, provided you have some basic equipment. You’ll need a drill with a 7/16” drill bit as well as a container for collecting the sap and either food grade tubing or a tap. If you use a bottle, it can be attached to the tree with a thin rope or heavier string, or you can insert tubing into the hole in the tree and then run it down to the bottle on the ground.
When you’re ready, just select a point approximately three feet from the base of the tree. Then, drill at an upward angle, about 30 degrees, cutting about a one-and-a-half-inch hole into the tree. As soon as the hole is cut, sap, which looks like water, will begin to flow out almost immediately. Now you’ll need to insert some type of food grade tubing or a tap.
When it flows out of the tube or tap, position your container so that it collects the runoff. Be sure to keep the container covered to avoid getting insects into the sap. It can take a few hours, or even as long as a day to collect a gallon. The sap can continue to be collected until the flow starts to get cloudy, or it slows to a crawl.
How to use the sap. Now, after all, that hard work comes the fun part. You can actually taste the sap right from the tree. Although it tastes like water, you’ll note subtle flavors of sweetness and a fresh taste that makes it amazing to drink. It doesn’t stay fresh long, so you’ll need to store it in the refrigerator and drink it within a few days if you’d like to continue to enjoy it fresh. If left out a room temperature, it will begin to ferment even quicker. Other than enjoying it straight, you can also add ginger and turmeric for an especially healthy tonic, or use it instead of water in herbal teas.
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