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The benefit of betulin and betula alcohol

Aug 12, 2019

Betulin, also known as birch, is extracted from birch bark. Betulin is soluble in ethanol, ether, chloroform, and benzene, which is also slightly soluble in cold water, petroleum ether and other organic solvents. The birch bark has a complex chemical composition and various pharmacological effects. The birch extract has antibacterial, antiviral, antitumor, ester lowering, gallbladder and liver protection effects. 


Betula alcohol is a triterpenoid extracted from birch bark. It has the functions of sterilization, anti-virus, anti-ultraviolet, anti-inflammatory, rapid healing of wounds and anti-allergy. It can also improve the luster of damaged hair and promote hair growth. It is widely used in food, medicine, and daily chemical industry. It is a very valuable natural substance which can be obtained from abundant plant resources. Studies have found that betulin has an inhibitory effect on esophageal cancer cells cultured in vitro. Betulinic acid can increase the proliferation of T cells, enhance the activity of NK cells, and increase the level of INF. The mechanism of tumor inhibition may be related to the direct or indirect enhancement of anti-tumor immunity. Betulin has a low price and has many nature source. Studies found that the betulin in the bark of birch trees can be up to 30% of the bark’s dry weight, but this resource is not fully utilized.

At present, betulinic acid is mainly produced from betulin, which has been proven to have anti-malarial, anti-inflammatory, anti-melanoma and other tumors and anti-HIV effects. However, the yield is very low. High cost. Recently, Polish scholars have suggested that betulin has a significant protective effect on hepatocyte damage caused by alcohol.

Mechanism studies have shown that although this compound of betulin and its derivatives does not inhibit HIV-1 reverse transcriptase, they inhibit the formation of nuclear bodies at concentrations above IC50. It can be concluded that these derivatives of betulin are functional by interfering with the later stages of the viral life cycle and are associated with viral entry and growth.

An experiment to study the anti-tumor effect and mechanism of betulin in vivo showed that the mouse model of tumor-bearing mice was established by using mouse hepatoma cells (H22). After 10 days of administration of betulin, the tumor inhibition rate, thymus index, and spleen were calculated. The results showed the tumor weights of the three doses of betulin and the positive control group were all reduced, and the difference was statistically significant (P<0.05). The difference between the middle and high dose groups and the negative control group was also statistically significant (P<0.05). 

Most five-membered triterpenoids have anti-inflammatory properties, including betulinic acid and betulin. The anti-inflammatory properties of these two compounds have been validated in a large number of in vitro and in vivo model systems. The results showed that both betulin and betulinic acid had mild anti-inflammatory properties at higher concentrations, and their anti-inflammatory properties were mainly attributed to the inhibition of non-neural gene pathways.

Betulin can inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol and triglycerides, effectively prevent obesity and atherosclerosis, and betulin can improve insulin sensitivity which has a good effect on type 2 diabetes. Betulin has antibacterial, antiviral properties, inhibits protein dissolution in hair fibers, improves the shine of damaged hair, and promotes hair growth and the like.