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What is Fagus Sylvatica?

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  • Written By: Deborah Walker
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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Fagus sylvatica is a species of tree in the Fagaceae, or beech, family. It is native to forests in central and southern Europe, but has been introduced elsewhere. This tree has been used in traditional herbal medicine as an antiseptic and expectorant to treat many health conditions. It is also made into a homeopathic remedy and is one of the Bach flower essences. These remedies are generally regarded as safe.

Commonly known as the European beech or common beech tree, Fagus sylvatica grows to be between 50-60 feet (15.2-18.3 meters) tall, with a spread of 35-50 feet (10.6-15.2 meters), making it an excellent shade tree. In April and May, this beech species produces green-yellow flowers, which yield edible beechnuts in the fall. Its dark green leaves are up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) long and have visible veins that run parallel to one another. The leaves turn golden bronze in the fall.

Before the advent of modern medicine, tar from the tree was massaged onto the skin as an antiseptic treatment for skin conditions. Despite Fagus sylvatica's strong smell and burning taste, the tar was ingested to loosen phlegm associated with chronic bronchitis or upper respiratory tract infections. Bruised leaves were applied to swollen or blistered areas of the skin as well as used to treat burns or frostbite. Beechnuts were taken to treat painful kidney stones.

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Homeopathic doctors may prescribe Fagus sylvatica as a remedy for epilepsy, headache, or vertigo. It may also be used as a treatment for renal insufficiency and other kidney problems. Those with hydrophobia, or fear of water, might be treated with Fagus sylvatica as well. This homeopathic remedy may be purchased at local health food stores or online. It is sold in mother tincture, liquid dilution, or pellet form.

Bach flower essences are said to help restore emotional balance. Each remedy is made by steeping the flowers in spring water and then combining them with grape-based brandy, which acts as a preservative. A beech Bach flower essence may be recommended for people who are intolerant of others, lack compassion, and who are irritable. According to Dr. Bach, the beech tincture acts to shift the attitudes of such people, help them become more able to see the good in the world, and have compassion for others.

Dr. Bach recommended taking two drops of beech flower remedy in a small glass of water or putting the drops directly under the tongue. This may be repeated as needed. The Bach flower remedies may be purchased at local health food stores or online.

The herbal form of this supplement should only be used according to package directions or under the care of a professional herbalist. Neither the homeopathic variant nor the Bach flower essences are known to have side effects. Even so, pregnant or nursing women, children, or those with chronic health conditions, may want to consult their physician prior to self-medicating with Fagus sylvatica.

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