For years, Birch essential oil remained an enigmatic gem, accessible only as a gift in convention kits. Its devoted enthusiasts, me included, yearned for its regular availability. However, doTERRA encountered hurdles in sourcing it sustainably. Nevertheless, this year signifies a significant milestone as doTERRA achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the first company to commercially produce 100% pure Birch essential oil.
In this article, I will be divulging the captivating narrative of Birch essential oil, from its limited accessibility to its emergence as a doTERRA staple. I will also share the fascinating history behind this oil, its benefits, usage, and the breakthrough that enabled doTERRA to make this exquisite oil accessible to all.
The tall, majestic birch tree stands as a testament to nature's enduring strength, revered for centuries for its enchanting fragrance and resilience. Scientifically referred to as Betula lenta, or commonly recognized as sweet birch or spice birch.
Birch is what’s known as a pioneer species. A pioneer species is one of the first species that returns to a cleared, eroded, or otherwise damaged land. Birch trees exhibit exceptional fortitude, weathering even the fiercest storms and the weight of freshly fallen snow. Their supple nature allows them to bend gracefully, showcasing their remarkable ability to endure, rarely succumbing to the elements.
Birch in Indigenous American Folklore
Over the ages, the birch tree has assumed symbolic significance across various cultures, each attributing unique meanings to its character.
In the lore of Native American communities, the birch tree embodies the values of guidance and safeguarding. An Ojibwa legend recounts the tale of Winabojo, a spirit-boy who embarked on a quest to obtain a Thunderbird feather for his bow and arrow. Despite angering the Thunderbirds by taking the feathers from a young Thunderbird's nest, Winabojo managed to seek refuge in the protective embrace of a hollow birch tree trunk, evading their pursuit and ensuring his safe return to the village.
The Native Americans, recognizing the birch tree's protective strength, hold it in high esteem, utilizing it to craft various cultural artifacts. Additionally, they regard it as a symbol of guidance, as it guided Winabojo to safety in their revered mythological narratives.
Birch in Celtic Legends
In the tapestry of Celtic folklore, the birch tree stands as an emblem of fresh starts and new beginnings. Its revered status traces back to ancient times when it was intertwined with the figure of Brigid, the Celtic goddess of healers, long before the advent of the written word. During the Celtic festival of new beginnings, the birch's symbolic importance was underscored by its use in igniting ceremonial fires, an act believed to ensure bountiful and flourishing crops.
To the Druids, the birch epitomized the concept of birth, embodying the essence of new opportunities and fresh chapters. This profound symbolism is evidenced by the placement of "Beth," denoting birch, as the inaugural letter in the ancient Irish alphabet Ogham and as the premier month in the Celtic Tree Calendar.
As a harbinger of good fortune, the Birch held a special place in the hearts of the Celts. On Midsummer's Eve, they adorned their doorways with birch branches, seeking protection from ill fate and beckoning auspicious blessings into their lives.
Legend recounts the tale of a debilitated prince who sought solace beneath a birch tree, only to be discovered by a passing princess who nursed him back to health. Their ensuing love story, steeped in the tree's healing shade, solidified the birch's association with recovery and serendipity, a timeless narrative that endures within the Celtic tradition.
Birch in Eastern European Folklore
In several Eastern European countries, including Russia, the tradition of planting a birch tree for each newborn child persists, heralding a lifetime of good fortune and prosperity.
Within Slavic culture, the birch tree embodies feminine attributes, symbolizing joy and blessings for women. This significance is rooted in an ancient Slavic narrative recounting the tale of a golden-haired mermaid emerging from a moonlit lake to frolic. Seeking shelter from the biting cold, she unknowingly sought refuge in a nearby hut, oblivious to the arrival of the sun god, heralding the break of day.
Enthralled by the mermaid's beauty, the sun god was captivated and attempted to court her. Despite her attempts to evade his advances, he persisted, eventually transforming her into a white birch tree as her tears cascaded onto the ground, sprouting the elegant, slender form of the birch.
Presently regarded as the 'Lady of the Woods,' the birch tree holds a profound association with feminine energies, encapsulating the essence of grace and resilience within the tapestry of Eastern European folklore.
Birch in Diverse Cultural Customs
Beyond its mythological significance, the birch tree holds a special place in various cultural traditions worldwide. Notably, its highly flammable tar-rich bark made it a favored choice for crafting May poles and igniting fires during Beltane, the vibrant Gaelic celebration symbolizing fresh starts and renewal.
The belief in the protective properties of the birch extended to the creation of brooms fashioned from its supple twigs. These birch brooms played a vital role in a protective ritual known as "beating the bounds," designed to ward off lingering spirits from the past year.
Furthermore, the birch's reputed protective attributes led to its use in crafting babies' cradles, fostering a sense of security and safeguarding for the little ones. It is even rumored that carrying a piece of birch can shield one from the enchantments of fairies.
Across the expanse of North America, Native American communities and Indigenous peoples in Canada hold the birch in high regard, valuing its bark for its lightweight nature, flexibility, and ease of extraction from fallen trees. This practical versatility has solidified the birch's place in the cultural fabric of these diverse societies.
Birch in Ancient Healing Traditions
Throughout history, birch bark has played a significant role in traditional wellness customs. Native American communities utilized the bark directly on the skin, while in the 16th century, splints crafted from birch bark served as casts for mending broken limbs, showcasing the tree's therapeutic versatility and resilience.
In Scandinavia, birch finds its place in the realm of saunas, adding an extra dimension to the sauna experience. Similarly, in Russia, the ritual of beating the skin with birch branches in steam rooms is a time-honored practice believed to yield similar rejuvenating benefits.
Birch in Modern Times
In contemporary society, birch has demonstrated its utility in various remarkable ways. Contrary to popular belief, the renowned aircraft by Howard Hughes, often dubbed the "Spruce Goose," was predominantly constructed from birch wood. Additionally, the BBC designated birch plywood as the exclusive material for the cabinets of the iconic and enduring LS3/5A loudspeaker, solidifying birch's significance in modern technological achievements.
Birch and doTERRA
The journey to produce pure Birch essential oil has come with significant challenges. Notably, birch's low yield necessitates a substantial amount of raw material to obtain a mere fraction of essential oil. Moreover, the intricate distillation process of birch has presented formidable obstacles, leading many companies to forego its extraction altogether, resorting instead to synthetic alternatives in their formulations.
doTERRA rigorously tested 27 different brands of birch essential oil and none of the 27 brands tested contained authentic birch. Instead, they found everything from synthetic alternatives to expired aspirin and even fossil fuels in some samples. This led doTERRA to revolutionize their sourcing approach, ensuring that they obtain their oils directly from the growers, leaving no room for adulteration or compromise in quality.
The journey of sourcing authentic birch oil was no easy feat. In 2016, doTERRA's journey into bring Birch essential oil to market was sparked by a serendipitous connection with Royce Novosel-Johnson from Kane, PA.
Recognizing the potential of the bountiful birch trees on his family properties, Royce envisioned a partnership that would bring the essence of these trees to doTERRA. Kane's thriving birch trees, coupled with an understanding of birch distillation, proved to be an ideal match for doTERRA's vision.
Guiding them through the intricate process was esteemed birch oil expert, Skip Cavanaugh, from Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. A keeper of generational wisdom in birch distillation, Skip and his family's legacy provided invaluable insights for doTERRA, fostering a seamless integration of traditional expertise with modern production techniques.
Did you know that the distillation process involves continuous stirring for an astounding 300 hours? This level of dedication and precision guarantees the potency and exquisite aroma of the final product.
Birch essential oil is reminiscent of wintergreen with a subtle touch of menthol, blended with the refreshing scent of a birch tree. It's a delightful, crisp, minty combination that ignites the senses. Birch essential oil has a powerful aroma, making it great for managing odors and refreshing the air.
Benefits and Usage
Birch promotes a stimulating and uplifting environment when diffused. Diffusing birch essential oil supports clear airways and stimulates the mind to enhance focus.
When used topically, birch has a soothing effect on the muscles, making it a great aid for muscle tension and discomfort. Birch oil is effective at promoting circulation which is why it is so good for sore muscles and to use during a massage. To aid with muscle tension and discomfort combine birch essential oil with doTERRA’s Deep Blue blend, this will help to amplify its penetrating effect.
You can also add a few drops to your bath with Epsom salts after a workout or whenever you need to ease a lot of muscle tension. Need an energy boost? Simply inhale the invigorating aroma for an instant revitalization. Additionally, when combined with coconut oil, birch oil becomes an excellent choice for soothing tissue massages, particularly in areas like the neck and temples.
Use this recipe below to create bath salts with birch essential oil. Swap out the cedarwood for birch oil or try birch and frankincense together.
One remarkable use case involves its application in supporting the brain after head trauma. When combined with frankincense, birch oil has shown its prowess in reducing swelling and discomfort, contributing to faster recovery compared to standard protocols alone.
- Delivers a stimulating, refreshing aroma reminiscent of Wintergreen.
- Contributes to a soothing massage.
- Promotes healthy looking skin.
- Massage into the back and legs for a cooling sensation after exercise.
- Place a few drips on a cotton ball and tuck it in your gym bag to mask odors.
- Apply to the skin to help reduce the appearance of blemishes.
Beyond its physical benefits, birch essential oil is known as the oil of support, offering emotional solace during challenging times. You can diffuse it alone or blend it with other essential oils like peppermint, wild orange, or frankincense.
Seriously, you’ve got to try this oil.
The birch tree stands is a symbol of strength, resilience, and adaptability, woven intricately into the tapestry of diverse cultures and traditions worldwide. From its mythological significance to its multifaceted role in contemporary applications, birch continues to captivate and inspire.
Do you want more diffuser recipes to make your house smell amazing this autumn?
Sign up below and get your FREE copy of the Fall Diffuser Blend Recipes eBook.
Other Articles You May Enjoy