Birch bark is thought to have numerous health benefits…but why not just enjoy it as a tasty wintergreen-flavored tea. Pour boiling water over the bark and allow it to stand in a covered container for several days, then strain and reheat. Another, faster option: steep the bark in hot (but not boiling) water until it’s cool. Strain, heat again and serve. Good warm with milk and a dash of honey.
A Bit of History
Birch bark, also known as white birch bark, is different from other birches you might think of – its rough texture means it’s not useful for craftwork. But it does have an unexpected use: it’s a source of wintergreen flavoring in candies, gums, toothpastes and medicines. Up until 1874, aspirin contained oils from the birch tree, as well.
Native Americans drank sap directly from the tree and used it as a beverage, rendered it into syrup, fermented it into wine and brewed it into wintergreen-flavored tea, high in vitamin C.