It is uncertain how far back the use of birch bark as a medicine goes. Otzi—the Ice Man—carried birch mushrooms in his medicine bag and remnants of 5,000 year-old birch gum were found (under a table no doubt). It wasn’t until recently that Betulin was discovered by German-Russian chemist Johann Tobias Lowitz during the 18th century. In doing so he became one of the first to isolate an active plant ingredient. As far back as 1883, the Lloyd Bros. pharmacists were selling Betulin as an herbal treatment. Since those days, hundreds of studies have been done on the active ingredients within birch bark. This makes it one of the most extensively studied plants in history.
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