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Drugs and Health Products

Monograph: Birch, White

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Date: 2008-04-24


Betula pubescens (USDA 2008)

Proper Name(s)

Common Name(s)

Source Material

Leaf ( Bradley 2006 , ESCOP 2003 )

Route Of Administration


Dosage Form(s)

Those suited to the allowable route(s) of administration. This monograph is not intended to include food-like dosage forms such as bars, chewing gums or beverages.

Use(s) or Purpose(s)

Statement(s) to the effect of:

Used in Herbal Medicines as a diuretic  (Bradley 2006, ESCOP 2003, Hoffmann 2003, Blumenthal et al. 1998)



Preparation: Dry, Powder, Decoction & Infusion + All Non-Standardised Extracts

Dose(s): 0.6 - 9 Grams per day, dried leaf

See Appendix 1 for examples of appropriate dosage preparations and frequencies of use, according to cited references. The purpose of Appendix 1 is to provide guidance to industry.

Duration of use

For occasional use only  (Berardi et al. 2002, CPA 2002)

Risk Information

Statement(s) to the effect of:

Caution(s) and Warning(s):
  • Consult a health care practitioner if symptoms persist.
  • Consult a health care practitioner if symptoms worsen.
  • Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding  (ESCOP 2003)
  • Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you have oedema due to a kidney or cardiovascular disorder  (Bradley 2006, ESCOP 2003, Brinker 2001, Blumenthal et al. 1998)

No statement is required

Known Adverse Reaction(s):
Hypersensitivity (e.g. allergy) has been known to occur; in which case, discontinue use  (Brinker 2001)

Non-medicinal ingredients

Must be chosen from the current Natural Health Products Ingredients Database and must meet the limitations outlined in the database.


  • The finished product specifications must be established in accordance with the requirements described in the NHPD Quality of Natural Health Products Guide.
  • The medicinal ingredient must comply with the requirements outlined in the Natural Health Products Ingredient Database (NHPID).
  • The medicinal ingredient may comply with the specifications outlined in the Birch Leaf Monographs published in the European or British Pharmacopoeias.

References cited

  • Berardi RR, DeSimone EM, Newton GD, Oszko MA, Popovich NG, Rollins CJ, Shimp LA, Tietze KJ, editors. Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs: An Interactive Approach to Self-Care, 13th edition. Washington (DC): American Pharmaceutical Association; 2002.
  • Blumenthal M, Busse W, Goldberg A, Gruenwald J, Hall T, Riggins C, Rister R, editors. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin (TX): American Botanical Council; 1998.
  • Bradley PR, editor. British Herbal Compendium: A Handbook of Scientific Information on Widely Used Plant Drugs, Volume 2. Bournemouth (UK): British Herbal Medicine Association; 2006.
  • Brinker F. 2001. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, 3rd edition. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications.
  • CPA 2002: Canadian Pharmacists Association. Patient Self-Care. Helping Patients Make Therapeutic Choices. Ottawa (ON): Canadian Pharmacists Association; 2002.
  • ESCOP 2003: ESCOP Monographs: The Scientific Foundation for Herbal Medicinal Products, 2nd edition. Exeter (UK): European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy and Thieme; 2003.
  • Hoffmann D. 2003. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester (VT): Healing Arts Press.
  • McGuffin M, Kartesz JT, Leung AY, Tucker AO, editors. 2000. Herbs of Commerce, 2nd edition. Austin(TX): American Herbal Products Association.
  • USDA 2008: ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville (MD). [Accessed 2008-01-21]. Available at

References reviewed

  • Brinker F. 2010. Online Updates and Additions to Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, 3rd edition. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications. [Updated 2010 July 13; Accessed 2013 January 30]. Available from:
  • Grieve M. 1971. A Modern Herbal, Volume 1. New York (NY): Dover Publications [Reprint of 1931 Harcourt, Brace & Company publication].
  • McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A, editors. 1997. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press.

Appendix 1: Examples of appropriate dosage preparations, frequencies of use and directions for use

Dried leaf:

2 - 3 g, several times per day [not to exceed 9 g per day] (Blumenthal et al. 1998)


  • 2 - 3 g dried leaf, several times per day [not to exceed 9 g per day] (Bradley 2006)
  • 2 - 3 g dried leaf, 2-3 times per day (ESCOP 2003)

Directions for use:

Pour 250 ml of boiling water on dried leaf and steep for 10 minutes (Hoffmann 2003).


  • 0.2 g dried equivalent, 3 times per day (1:10, 2 ml) (ESCOP 2003)
  • 0.2 - 0.4 g dried equivalent, 3 times per day (1:5, 25% alcohol, 1-2 ml) (Hoffmann 2003)