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CHITRAL HORTICULTURE SOCIETY

Local Practice:

The thin, peppery bark of bhuli, when heated close to a flame, becomes soft and this bark is wrapped over and then bandaged around boils. This treatment was said to be very effective. Bark is also used for the storage of butter. The butter is wrapped with the thin bark of bhuli as a preservative and is used to store butter underground. The butter is dugout after 2-3 years and used as medicine against various fevers. Bark has been used in the past as paper for amulets and various deed documents. The branches are very elastic and strong and are used to construct a coarse twine (Local wooden ropes). This is used locally to fasten ploughs to oxen’s yoke (chae), and also as a hajan (rope that is attached to the bottom of a spade to improve the efficiency of spadework). Baskets are also made from the younger branches.

Historical Use:

Birch bark is high in betulin and betulinic acid which have potential as pharmaceuticals, and other chemicals which show promise as industrial lubricants.

Birch buds are used in folk medicine.

The inner bark of birch can be ingested safely.

Fragrant twigs of silver birch are used in saunas to relax the muscles

Birch is considered to be the most important allergenic tree pollen, with an estimated 15–20% of hay fever sufferers sensitive to birch pollen grains.  

Birch sap is a traditional drink in Northern Europe, Russia, and Northern China. The sap is also bottled and sold commercially. Birch sap can be used to make birch syrup, which is used like maple syrup for pancakes and waffles. Birch wood can be used to smoke foods.

Birch plywood is made from laminations of birch veneer. It is light but strong, and has many other good properties.  

Extracts of birch are used for flavoring or leather oil, and in cosmetics such as soap or shampoo.  

Birch-tar or Russian oil extracted from birch bark is thermoplastic and waterproof; it was used as a glue on, for example, arrows. 

Birch leaves are used to make a diuretic tea and extracts for dyes and cosmetics.

Local Name Bhuli
Botanical Name Betula
Part used Bark, Branches
Locally used for Kuchai (Boils), storage of butter, and basketry etc.