Nature has more wonders than the leafy greens and the obvious berries and nuts. If you have never had or heard about birch sap, there is something new for you to explore. This is a true elixir, and a healing drink for the entire body. The taste is like pure water, with just a hint of sweetness. Clear and cool, straight from the tree. This is a natural ready-to-drink liquid. I was gifted this elixir from a series of birch trees that are growing in my neck of the woods. I was amazed at how easy it was to tap the tree, and how invigorating the sap was to drink. The traditional virtues of birch and its efficient removal of toxic substances from the liver and kidneys, has been known and appreciated for ages. There are very few single substances that are capable of targeting the body’s two major cleansing and purification systems at the same time. It is a fantastic detoxifying elixir!
Birch trees contain powerful diuretic properties that aid in flushing out harmful toxins, uric acid, and excess water from the body. Again, it helps in maintaining good kidney and liver health, which is a welcoming trait for all of us. There are numerous more benefits, one being its high nutritional value, another the living energy of this water. The unbeatable pure vibrating energy. That is what we want to ingest, the pure life-force of nature. Birch sap can help boost immunity, fight fatigue, treat arthritis and joint pain. It also acts as an energy booster and is believed to prevent migraines. It is claimed to help treat liver disease, flu, headaches, dandruff and eczema. It is also believed to flush out toxins and help reduce cellulite. Like coconut water, the sap is very good for rehydration due to the high content of electrolytes, macronutrients and potassium. Birch sap also contains saponin, which has been shown to control blood cholesterol levels and is good for the immune system. It is the essence, the life-blood, of the tree, carrying nutrients essential for growth. Birch sap is also a seasonal source of vitamins, minerals and sugars, mainly fructose and glucose.
Nature will keep on giving, as long as we are willing to see and listen.
The sap from the birch tree can be collected in the early spring, the perfect time to collect some rejuvenating elixir after a long winter. This is when the sap is travelling up the trunk of the tree. Just before the leaves open is the best time, and the window is short – the sap will only be available for us for about 30 days. After this point, the tree will need all its own juices, and we have to back off.
Birch sap is amazingly high in macronutrients and micronutrients, including proteins and amino acids, as well as enzymes, electrolytes and potassium. This is a true gift from nature!
You can tap the tree the same way one would drain syrup from a maple tree. It can be collected by driving taps into the base of the trunk or by cutting off the end of one of the branches and attaching a bottle.
- Drill a 40-60mm hole with an 8-12mm sterile drill-bit at a slight upward angle, close to ground level but high enough to get your collection container underneath.
- Insert a desired length of sterile ‘food grade’ plastic tubing into the hole. It has to be the same diameter as the hole. You then put the other end into a sterile ‘food grade’ plastic container.
- Use some duct tape or plastic wrapping, to ensure that the plastic tube and the bottle has a closed connection. You are leaving this outside overnight and do not want bugs to get into your sap.
- Once tapping is complete, spray each hole with clean water and plug it with a slither of wood or sod of earth, like applying a band aid. This is very important. Never leave a tree bleeding, as it will get hurt, and we are walking lightly on this earth.
If you only want to collect a small amount of sap you can make an incision in the bark with a sharp knife, and use a piece of wood as a lead for the clear liquid. You can also leave a bottle at the end of a branch, if you only want a small amount of sap.
Birch water can be drunk fresh, but has a shelf life of just a few days, so be sure to use the sap for its intended purpose within a couple of days. You can store it in a tight glass bottle for no longer than a few days in the refrigerator. That’s it.
If you want to try this for yourself, remember to ask the tree’s permission. Never tap the same tree for more than 24 hours, and always tap when the sap is rising. After that, it needs it for its own leaves. Then, remember to plug the hole that you made to ensure that the tree will not be bleeding. A grand thank you will then be in order. We are welcome to harvest the gifts of nature, but we must always show our gratitude and tread lightly.
What a treassure this is, and I feel blessed to be able to drink this amazing gift. Keep on looking where you are, because nature has its gifts everywhere!
Sap it up and Grow FREE!