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Birch bark

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Collection, Storage, and Working with Birch Bark:
Birch bark should be collected from dead wood to avoid harming live trees.
– Best time for collection is spring or early summer for better quality bark.
– Removing the outer layer of bark from a living tree weakens it.
– Removal of the inner layer kills the tree by blocking sap flow.
– To prevent rolling, spread and press the bark flat during storage.
Birch bark can be cut with a sharp knife and worked like cardboard.
– For sharp bending, score the fold with a blunt stylus.
– Fresh bark can be worked directly; dried bark needs softening.
– Soften dried bark by steaming, soaking in warm water, or over a fire.

Traditional and Modern Uses of Birch Bark:
Birch bark was historically used worldwide for various containers and construction.
– Asia used it for storage boxes, canoes, tents, and more.
– North American natives utilized it for canoes, maps, torches, and clothing.
– Scandinavia incorporated it in roofs, boxes, fishing implements, and shoes.
– Russia has preserved many birch bark manuscripts from the Middle Ages.
– Filsuvez, a medication with birch bark extract, treats certain skin wounds.
– Approved in the EU and the US, it targets epidermolysis bullosa.
– Common side effects include skin reactions and infections.
– Considered a first-in-class medication by the FDA.

Medicinal Benefits and Uses of Birch Bark:
– Anti-inflammatory properties
– Antioxidant effects
– Pain-relieving potential
– Skin-soothing qualities
– Traditional medicinal use
– Herbal medicine
– Natural cosmetic ingredient
– Flavoring agent
– Tanning agent
– Chemical Components: Betulin, Betulinic acid, Lupeol, Oleanolic acid, Flavonoids

Environmental Impact of Birch Bark:
– Sustainable sourcing
– Biodegradable material
– Renewable resource
– Carbon sequestration
– Biodiversity support

Precautions, Considerations, and Related Concepts:
– Allergic reactions
– Dosage recommendations
– Drug interactions
– Pregnancy and breastfeeding concerns
– Consultation with healthcare provider
– Related concepts: Mazinibaganjigan, Wiigwaasabak, Magewappa, Lapti

Birch bark (Wikipedia)

Birch bark or birchbark is the bark of several Eurasian and North American birch trees of the genus Betula.

A Russian birch bark letter from the 14th century
Birchbark shoes

The strong and water-resistant cardboard-like bark can be easily cut, bent, and sewn, which has made it a valuable building, crafting, and writing material, since pre-historic times. Today, birch bark remains a popular type of wood for various handicrafts and arts.

Birch bark also contains substances of medicinal and chemical interest. Some of those products (such as betulin) also have fungicidal properties that help preserve bark artifacts, as well as food preserved in bark containers.

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