Drugs A - Z

Birch (Betula spp.)

treats Actinic keratosis

Generic Name: Birch

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Bet v 1, Bet v 1-fragments, Bet v 1-trimer, Betula, Betula 30c, Betula davurica Pall., Betula ermanii Cham., Betula grossa Sieb. et Zucc., Betula maximowicziana, Betula maximowicziana Regel, Betula nana, Betula nana L., Betula occidentalis, Betula pendula, Betula pendula Roth., Betula papyrifera Marsh., Betula platyphylla var. japonica, Betula platyphylla Sukatchev var. japonica (Miq.) Hara, Betula pubescens Ehrh., Betula verrucosa, Betulaceae (family), betulin, betulinic acid, birch pollen allergen (Bet v 1), downy birch, dwarf birch, Japanese white birch, lupeol, mountain birch, natural birch pollen extract, oleanolic acid, paper birch, rBet v 1, rBet v 2, rBet v 4, recombinant Betula verrucosa (rBet v 1), silver birch, white birch.

Note: This monograph does not cover birch immunotherapy. For more information on immunotherapy, please see the Natural Standard allergy database.

Background

Birch tree species are common throughout temperate North American, European, and Asian areas. Birch pollen is one of the most common allergens, usually in areas where exposure to high levels of birch pollen is common. The allergen may cause atopic dermatitis, contact urticaria (hives), atopic eczema, asthma, wheezing, allergic conjunctivitis (pinkeye), eye redness, oral-pharyngeal itching, or rhinoconjunctivitis (inflammation of the lining of the nose and the mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye and lines the eyelids).

There is insufficient evidence in humans to support the use of birch for any indication. One study shows that birch bark ointment may be beneficial for actinic keratosis (precancerous condition of thick, scaly patches of skin).

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Actinic keratosis: Birch bark contains a variety of apoptosis (cell death)-inducing and anti-inflammatory substances such as betulinic acid, betulin, oleanolic acid, and lupeol, which may be beneficial in treating actinic keratosis. More study is needed in this area.
Grade: C

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, cancer, diuretic (increases urine production).

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older):

IMPORTANT NOTE: Patients with allergies should not self-treat. Supervision by a trained Allergist is crucial due to the risk for serious, even life-threatening, effects. There is no proven safe or effective dose for birch.

Children (younger than 18 years):

IMPORTANT NOTE: Patients with allergies should not self-treat. Supervision by a trained Allergist is crucial due to the risk for serious, even life-threatening, effects. There is no proven safe or effective dose for birch in children.

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