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Indian Paper Birch
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Indian Paper Birch

 

Latin Names

English Names

Sanskrit Name

Betula utilis D. Don /
B. bhojpattra
Wall.

Himalayan Silver Birch,
Indian Paper Birch

Bhurjapatra

 

 

History  |  Habitat  |  Morphology Description (Habit)  |  Principal Constituents  |

Indications  |   Product Range  |  References

 

 

History

The earliest classical Sanskrit writers attest the use of 'Birch' bark for literary purposes. Owing to its papery nature, the bark (peel), was used in ancient times as a writing material in place of paper. It was valued for covering umbrellas, hookah-pipes, for packing, roofing, occasionally as textile and in the manufacture of Russian leather. 'Kalidasa' mentions it in his dramas and ethics. The use of this bark was discontinued by Akbar, the Moghul Emperor, who introduced the manufacture of paper.

 

Habitat

It grows throughout the main Himalayan range from Bhutan westwards, ascending to an altitude of 4,200 m. Birch forests occur on open exposed tracts which are under snow throughout the greater part of winter.

 

Morphology Description (Habit)

It is a moderate-sized tree that grows up to 20m in height. It sometimes occurs as a mere shrub, forming the upper limit of forest vegetation. The bark is smooth, shining, reddish white or white, with white horizontal lenticels. The outer bark consists of numerous thin papery layers, exfoliating in broad horizontal rolls. The inner cortex is red and moist. The leaves are ovate-acuminate, elliptic, and irregularly serrate. The flowers bloom in May-June, in pendulous spikes. Seeds are thin and winged.

Principal Constituents

The bark contains betulin1. Betulic acid is also identified from the bark2.

 

Indications

Infusion of the bark is antiseptic, carminative. Betulin, extracted from the bark, has been used for esterfication.

 

Product Range

Protein Shampoo with Conditioner.

 

References

1.       Indian J Chem., 1968, Vol.6, p. 37.

2.       Phytochemistry, 1973, Vol. 12, pp. 214.

 

 

 

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