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 sunicenaTaror ina sahisnunaAmanina manadenaKirtaniyah 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!