Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Finnish Birch Sap- the new aloe vera juice?

This lovely birch tree grows near my house


Birch sap is harvested in early Spring, between the thaw and the appearance of the first buds. It should be consumed within three days of opening.




 My stepson arrived home from a trip to Finland the week before last bearing gifts of salted liquorice sweets for the kids and a bottle of birch sap for me. Watch out for this in wholefood/ health shops; I predict it's about to get big!- It even has a fb group. Look here for one internet outlet for it. Birch sap is produced in Nordic countries, Korea and Canada, and is beginning to be marketed as a "superfood" juice. I was immediately intrigued as I'm already a devotee of the natural sweetener xylitol, which comes from birch trees too. I drank a glass every day for three days, which used up the whole bottle, and I have to say it did seem to give me a bit of a boost in terms of thirst-quenching and stamina. It has a very mild and not unpleasant, slightly sweet taste, and as you can see, it's clear like pure water. Something about its flavour reminded me of coconut juice which is a well-known  stamina and hydration drink and so I wasn't surprised to find out that birch sap is getting popular in China and Japan as a sports drink. Check out these other amazing claims:
  • Birch sap is good for rheumatoid arthritis, gout and kidney disease
  • It combats Spring fatigue after a long Winter, scurvy and rickets (caused by lack of vitamins C and D)
  • It can halt the progression of an ulcer
  • It can cure allergy to birch pollen
  • Birch sap contains fructose, glucose, fruit acids, amino acids, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, zinc, sodium and iron.: all essential to the human body.
  • The exact content of these nutrients varies a lot according to when the sap is harvested and from season to season, but on average, birch sap contains per 100g:
  • Energy : 10 kJ
  • Fat: < 0.1 g
  • Protein: < 0.1 g
  • Carbohydrate: 0.62 g
  • fruit acids (malic 100-600, succinc 10-300, phosphoric 10-50, citric 5-20 mg/l)
  • free amino acids: 25-700 mg/l 
  • Fructose: 0.5g
  • Glucose: 0.3g
  • Energy: 10kJ
  • PH: 5.5-7

  • There is a verse in "Sri Siksastakam", Caitanya Mahaprabhu's eight instructions on Bhakti Yoga :
    Trnad api sunicena
    Taror ina sahisnuna
    Amanina manadena
    Kirtaniyah sada Harih
    "Being humbler than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree, devoid of false ego and giving the appropriate respect to all others, one should continuously chant the names of God (Krishna)."
    Our Vaisnava acaryas have commented on this verse that a tree epitomises the qualitites of tolerance and unconditional generosity, as no matter how how it is starved of water or cut, a tree cannot help but to give its shade, shelter, fruit, flowers and wood to anyone who needs it... 

    ... So thank you birch trees, for your generosity, and I hope I can learn to give as selflessly as you!



















































1 comment:

  1. Every time I visit your blog... I learn something new. I had no idea that something like birch sap existed.

    I have an award for you. Please collect it from my blog. :)

    ReplyDelete

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