Birch Essential Oil (Betula lenta)


It is typically processed using steam or hydro distillation as a method for extracting oil from the bark, wood.


Both birch bark and wintergreen were popular herbal teas among Native American and European settlers in the 1700s. Today birch bark is used as a fragrance component in men's perfumes, and more extensively as a flavoring agent in chewing gum, toothpaste and especially in root beer. Whenever there is need for warming a painful area of the body, Birch would be a good choice, unless contraindicated. Birch Essential Oil is fabulous for muscular aches and pains. Betula lenta is a medium-sized deciduous tree reaching 66ft tall with a trunk up to 2ft diameter. The twigs, when scraped, have a strong scent of wintergreen due to methyl salicylate, which is produced in the bark. There are between 30-150 species of Birch trees. Sweet birch is also commonly referred to as black birch or cherry birch. When exposed to air it darkens to a color resembling mahogany.

Essential Facts

  • Aroma Description:

    Astringent Cool Fresh Minty Slightly sweet Strong

  • Synonyms(s) for Betula lenta: Betula lenta var. genuina

  • Botanical Family: Betulaceae
  • Botanical Genus: Betula
  • Chemical Family: Esters
  • Perfumery Note: Top to middle
  • Consistency: Thin
  • Strength of Initial Aroma: Medium
  • Color: Clear to pale yellow
  • Indigenous Country: United States, Canada
  • Cultivation: Wild Harvested
  • Processing Methods: Steam or Hydro Distillation
  • Part Typically Used: Bark, Wood
  • Shelf Life: Gets Better With Age
  • Conservation Status:  [LC] Least Concern
    IUCN Red List category abbreviations (version 3.1, 2001)
  • Vegan Vegan
  • Not Pregnancy Safe Not recommended or safe if pregnant or nursing
  • Not Child Safe Not recommend or safe for children

Essential Details

Benefits & Uses


Cautions & Safety

Cautions when using Birch (sweet):

Birch Essential Oil is Potentially toxic, it contains methyl salicylate, (the active ingredient in aspirin). Not to be used for anyone on blood thinning medications, the elderly or fragile. Not for use when pregnant or nursing. Avoid in cases of liver problems. Possible skin irritant - dilute well. Avoid contact with any open wounds or mucous membranes. Smells a bit like candy (wintergreen). Keep away from children, due to the possible risk of developing Reye's Syndrome.

Safety Precautions for Birch (sweet):

Sweet birch oil should not be used near open wounds or mucous membranes. Because the smell is sweet and resembles wintergreen-type candies, it is especially important to keep this, like all essential oils, out of reach of children.

Avoid Birch (sweet) if:

Pregnant or Breastfeeding

Contraindications of Birch (sweet):

Anticoagulant medication, major surgery, hemophilia, other bleeding disorders, breast feeding, pregnancy, gastroesophageal reflux disease. Should not be given to people with salicylate sensitivity (this often applies to those with ADD/ADHD). Maximum dermal level 2.5%

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