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Have You Heard of Birch Water for Detox?

Coming soon to a health food store near you – will birch water help detoxify your liver?

Natural plant waters are commanding the attention of health conscious communities around the globe. Partially due to a backlash against the acknowledged health detriments caused by the soft drink industry, plant waters seem to be a healthful method of hydration. Although coconut water is the plant water that is leading this trend, others (such as birch water) are starting to get noticed by retailers and consumers.

Of particular interest to those with liver concerns, birch water is purported to help with detoxification. The preliminary information on birch water is encouraging, but other all-natural choices for liver detoxification are better supported by scientific evidence.

Soft Drinks vs. Plant Waters

Soft drinks are the beverage of choice for millions of Americans, but these sugary drinks are finally starting to reveal their connection to disease. According to a paper published by the Harvard School of Public Health, the statistics regarding soda consumption paint a dismal picture:

  • Those who consume 1 to 2 cans of sugary drinks a day have a 26 percent greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks.
  • Those who average one can of a sugary beverage per day have a 20 percent higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from a heart attack than those who rarely have such drinks.
  • Those who consume one sugary beverage per day had a 75 percent higher risk of gout than those who rarely have such drinks.

Plant waters are regarded as nature’s answer to healthful hydration, typically providing minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and other beneficial elements. Plant waters are basically the plant’s nectar that houses its nutrients – a natural alternative to soda.

Compared to soft drinks, plant waters have a fraction of the amount of sugar. Because sugar (either real sugar or chemically imitated) is the reason that soft drinks are so detrimental, finding a tasty beverage with a minimum of sugar is noteworthy. For one, water’s neutral flavor profile prevents many from drinking adequate quantities. In addition, many are attracted to the idea that a hydrating beverage can be tasty while providing health benefits to the body.

About Birch Water

Otherwise known as birch tree sap, birch water is a slightly sweet, thin syrup-like liquid containing xylitol, proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Extracted from birch trees found throughout North America, Asia and Europe, birch tree sap can only be collected during a two to three-week period in the spring. Containing approximately 18 calories per 100 milliliters, birch water is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, copper, zinc and potassium, as well as saponins – compounds with cholesterol-reducing properties.

Birch water gets its sweet flavor from xylitol, a natural substance that has 40 percent fewer calories than sugar and is revered for its cavity-reducing, tooth enamel-hardening properties. Birch water’s sugar content is low, especially compared with other beverages:

  • Birch water has between 2 and 4 grams of sugar in a 10-ounce serving.
  • Coconut water has between 8 and 11 grams of sugar in a 10-ounce serving.
  • Sprite has 38 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce serving.
  • Coca-Cola has 39 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce serving.

Because birch water might not appeal to those accustomed to drinking sweeter beverages, some manufacturers are adding sugar to enhance its sweetness. If choosing a birch tree sap drink, steer clear of added sugar to fully embrace its low-sugar health benefits.

Birch Detox Benefits

Scandinavian, Russian and Japanese cultures use birch sap as a folk remedy for boosting immunity, fighting fatigue, treating arthritis, reducing joint pain and preventing migraines. In addition, birch tree water is associated with detoxifying the kidneys and liver.

Environmental Study

Although merely an environmental study, researchers from the University of Lancaster determined that young birch trees absorbed more than 50 percent of particle dust from passing traffic, linked to pollution and respiratory problems. Thus, the birch trees virtually cleared toxins from the air. Unfortunately, the detox capability of birch has not yet been scientifically proven in humans.

Even so, plant water advocates with knowledge of birch water claim the sap captures and neutralizes toxic waste products. In 2012, a study published in the Polish Botanical Society reviewed the use of tree saps in Northern and Eastern Europe. The researchers found that birch tree sap was used as supplementary nutrition in the form of sugar, minerals and vitamins to help the liver.

Besides helping remove impurities from the liver, birch water may also aid with the kidneys’ assistance in detoxifying the blood. Drinking birch water benefits the kidneys by supporting urinary elimination and filtering. The sap helps eliminate waste that only the liver can process, which simultaneously benefits the kidneys.

  1. When looking for help with detoxing the liver, birch water may be helpful, but there are other strategies that have decades of clinical trials supporting their use. The number one all-natural way to help your liver detox is by drinking plenty of water – plain, purified water. Water flushes the tissues in the liver, which helps remove toxins. Linda Page, author of Healthy Healings Detoxification: Programs to Cleanse, Purify and Renew, recommends drinking eight glasses of water a day to fully clear toxins from the body. Adding lemon to water helps with detoxification, because it stimulates bile for toxin removal. Read more about loving your liver with lemon water.
  2. The second most lauded method for helping with liver detox is supplementing with milk thistle. Milk thistle extract has been documented in a countless number of studies to provide support by protecting liver cells from toxins and helping to maintain liver detoxification processes. Featuring milk thistle extract and vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants that help remove toxins, a comprehensive herbal supplement like Liver Support & Detox is one of the best ways to help your liver clear excessive toxins from the body.

Drinking birch water is way better than a sugary beverage, but its detox characteristics have yet to be proven. As consumers become increasingly aware of the importance of staying hydrated and avoiding sugar, plant waters may soon overtake soft drinks in the beverage industry. However, helping with liver detox is best left to the basics of drinking plenty of water and supplementing with a trusted milk thistle formula., Impact of Roadside Tree Lines on Indoor Concentrations of Traffic-Derived Particulate Matter, Barbara A. Maher, et al, Retrieved January 17, 2016, Environmental Science and Technology, 2013., Birch & Maple Water – New Kids On The Block. Are they worth all the fuss?, Claire Yates, Retrieved January 17, 2016, Rejuvenated for Live, 2016., Why birch water is the new coconut water – but don’t bother with maple or cactus water, Christine Morgan, Retrieved January 17, 2016, High 50 Ltd, 2016., Soft Drinks and Disease, Retrieved January 17, 2016, The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2016., What are the benefits of water on liver detoxification?, Christine Garvin, Retrieved January 17, 2016, Demand Media, Inc., 2016., Coconut Water Is History: Taste The 5 Benefits Of Birch Tree Sap, Lizette Borelli, Retrieved January 17, 2016, Medical Daily 2016., Should you tap birch tree water for your health?, Jennifer Nelson, Retrieved January 17, 2016, Narrative Content Group, 2016., Ask the Diet Doctor: Benefits of Plant Waters, Dr. Mike Roussell, Retrieved January 17, 2016, Meredith Corporation, 2016.

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About the Author

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)®

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM is a long time advocate of integrating perspectives on health. With a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester and a Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches Institute, Nicole has been a licensed acupuncturist since 2000. She has gathered acupuncture licenses in the states of California and New York, is a certified specialist with the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, has earned diplomat status with the National Commission of Chinese and Oriental Medicine in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology and is a member of the Society for Integrative Oncology. In addition to her acupuncture practice that focuses on stress and pain relief, digestion, immunity and oncology, Nicole contributes to the integration of healthcare by writing articles for professional massage therapists and people living with liver disease.

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