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Chief uses for beech are panels for carriages, carpenter’s planes, stonemason’s mallets, wooden bowls, granary shovels, boot-lasts, sabots, chair-making, making charcoal for color manufacturers, and gunpowder.
In America, Beech is used for parquet flooring, wood pavement and bentwood furniture, and very extensively as fuel for domestic heating, as its heating power surpasses that of most other timber.
During the War an attempt was made in Germany to use Beech leaves as a substitute for tobacco, and a mixture was served to the army, but proved a failure.
Early Canadian settlers in Southern Ontario used the dried leaves as a filling for mattresses because they were said to provide a “springy comfort” that straw was lacking.
Beech as an Herb for Medicinal Uses
Native American Tribes used Beech leaves as an infusion to treat frostbite, and burned and scalded skin. The infusion was also used to treat diaper rash, poison ivy, poison oak, and the inflammation that accompanies them.
In Russia, Beech is called “Buk” (pronounced ‘book’), the creosote distilled from the tar has been used as an antispetic and disinfectant. The odor is very strong, so is combined with other more pleasant herbs.
The leaves were often applied to swellings and blisters, chewed for chapped lips and gum pain.
The tar is stimulating and antiseptic, used internally as a stimulating expectorant in chronic bronchitis, or externally as an application in various skin diseases.
The flower of the Beech herb is used to correct emotional imbalances, claiming to replace negative emotions with positive emotions.
1 heaping teaspoon leaves to 1 cup boiling water; steep 1/2 hour. Take 3 to 4 cups daily, 1 cup before each meal and before retiring (has been used for diabetes [Kloss]). Used to wash sores, especially old sores.
Culinary Uses of Beech
Canadian settlers collected the nuts in the fall, then dried them and used them instead of Walnuts or hazel nuts.
The nuts of the beech tree were once eaten to ease the pain of kidney stones, but it is not recommended we try this today; however, Bach Flower Essences Flower Essence Beech has been used in salads and cooking.
During times of famine, beech was roasted as a coffee substitute but it does contain several toxins, making this an unsafe practice in quantity.
The Potawatomi ate the nuts after roasting them and pounding them into flour. They collected the nuts by following the tracks of the deer mouse in the snow to their cache in a hollow tree or log. They could easily gather from 4 to 8 quarts quickly in this manner. They were eaten raw or stored for winter use. The Iroquois, Menominee, and Ojibway also used the nuts in this manner as well as the swelling buds.
The Iroquois added the nuts to corn soup and the Indians of Maine ate the buds. Native Americans were also known to suck the sap from the beech trees when no water was available.
In Maine the swelling buds were used for food.
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