Birch Bark Exhibits Anti-Cancer Properties

2 comments by Nelson Montelauro

Birch bark (Betula alba) has long been revered in herbal medicine for its numerous health benefits. Used for centuries by indigenous peoples, particularly in North America, birch bark was a go-to remedy for various ailments. Today, we're taking a closer look at the anti-cancer properties of birch bark, supported by scientific studies, and exploring its historical uses and modern applications.

Anti-Cancer Benefits of Birch Bark

One of the most compelling reasons to incorporate birch bark into your herbal practice is its potential anti-cancer properties. Scientific studies have begun to uncover the mechanisms behind these benefits.

A study published in the Chemistry Central Journal examined the effects of betulin-enriched birch bark extracts on human carcinoma cells and ear inflammation. The results were promising, indicating that "all of the prepared bark extracts exerted a pronounced antiproliferative effect against human cancer cell lines" (Dehelean et al., 2012). This evidence suggests that birch bark extracts could play a role in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.

Key Findings:

  • Antiproliferative Effect: The study found that birch bark extracts significantly inhibited the proliferation of cancer cells.
  • Betulin Enrichment: The active compound betulin, enriched in the birch bark extracts, was identified as a key player in these anti-cancer effects.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: In addition to its anti-cancer benefits, the study also highlighted the anti-inflammatory properties of birch bark, further supporting its use in herbal medicine.

One study provided a comprehensive review of multiple studies on the anti-cancer properties of Birch Bark, highlighting its broad range of pharmacological properties. They write:

“BE has exhibited quite a different range of its antiproliferative activity, depending on cancer cells type, from a weak inhibition of cell proliferation in human erythroleukaemia cell line (K562) to a strong inhibition in human neuroblastoma cells (SK-N-AS),” (5).

According to the review, Birch Bark extracts have shown significant effects against human neural tumor cell lines, neuroblastoma cells and glial tumors.

It also showed antiproliferative potential against human thyroid carcinoma, pancreatic carcinoma, and human gastric cell lines.

Antibacterial and Antiviral Activity

Several studies have shown that betulinic acid and HPTA have activity against bacteria, such as Stahylococcus aureus, and E. coli (2).

In vitro studies have also used Birch Bark derivatives were effective at preventing certain viruses from forming cellular aggregates (3). The reason is that triterpenes like betulonic acid and botulin, have effects on virus-cell fusion, and reverse transcriptase activity (4).


Birch bark is a powerful ally for herbal medicine practitioners. With a rich history of traditional use and growing scientific support for its anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, it's a versatile and valuable addition to any herbalist's toolkit.

Birch Bark Extract Tincture - Amazon

Birch Bark Whole - 4oz - Amazon



  1. Dehelean, C. A., Şoica, C., Ledeţi, I., Aluaş, M., Zupko, I., Gǎluşcan, A., ... & Munteanu, M. (2012). Study of the betulin enriched birch bark extracts effects on human carcinoma cells and ear inflammation. Chemistry Central Journal, 6, 1-9.
  2. Stephane F., G. Marion,, (2008). Ursolic, oleanolic and betulinic acids: antibacterial spectra and selectivity indexes. J. Ethnopharmacology: Vol. 120 (2), 272-276.
  3. Evers, M., C. Poujade, F. Soler, et al..(1996).Betulinic acid derivatives: A new class of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type I. Specific Inhibitors with a New Mode of Action. J. Medicinal Chem.: 99-106.
  4. Kamińska, T. E. R. E. S. A., Kaczor, J. Ó. Z. E. F., Rzeski, W. O. J. C. I. E. C. H., Wejksza, K. A. T. A. R. Z. Y. N. A., Kandefer-Szerszeń, M. A. R. T. Y. N. A., & Witek, M. A. R. I. A. (2004). A comparison of the antiviral activity of three triterpenoids isolated from Betula alba bark. In Annales Universitatis Mariae Curie-Skłodowska Lublin-Polonia (Vol. 59, pp. 1-7).
  5. Król, S. K., Kiełbus, M., Rivero-Müller, A., & Stepulak, A. (2015). Comprehensive review on betulin as a potent anticancer agent. BioMed research international, 2015(1), 584189



  • S

    I won’t use Amazon anymore since they are a huge part of the mRNA virus nonsense! You can also buy the birch bark from the following store links: and

  • Victor I Knapp

    Thanks for letting me know about this. I have to give it a try.

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