Tapping Birch Water A Spring Treat 2016/04/19
Heading into the woods is beneficial to your health at any time of
the year. Finding time to put nature in your lives always has a
positive impact on your wellbeing. This can be as easy as heading to
your local park or as adventurous as packing some essentials and wild
camping on the hills well out of the city. We can also do more direct
things with nature such as tapping birch water.
In early spring there is an added bonus to making this woodland
pilgrimage. The Silver Birch (Betula pendula) tree is very common in the
UK and can be found very easily due to its white trunk. Birch sap rises
from the root base of the Silver Birch tree (and indeed some other
species of tree this time of year too) and travels to the top of the
tree to fuel the burst of growth of buds which are the start of the new
years leaves. The collection of sap is a traditional past time going
back generations with many European countries drinking it over the
years to treat a variety of conditions. Preventing baldness to treating
kidney stones to washing your hair are all uses of the sap.
Select a good strong tree in healthy condition and insert a knife
at an angle facing upwards towards the top. Have a pre carved dripping
stick at hand to insert into the slit you made with the knife. I simply
use a green Birch twig that I have removed the bark from. Using some
paracord strap a bottle to the tree to collect the dripping sap. The
dripping stick of course needs to be directed into the bottle. There are
other more efficient methods to collect the sap but this method I find
is a great way to get into the groove of collecting. There are even
companies that collect it commercially... www.sibberi.com Once you
have collected a litre or two then its important to leave the tree in
the closest way you found it. So remove the dripper stick and spend a
couple of minutes pressing down on the slit you made with your knife.
This helps close the hole and lets the tree repair itself.