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Birch tar

Posted on 24 October 2017


Birch tar


What is tar?

Tar can be made from pine or birch trees by dry distillation slowly burning the wood in almost deoxygenated space which creates a thick wax like substance. It has a strong smoky, woody scent and its texture is thick and colour dark brown or almost black

Tar has been used widely around the world for thousands of years for various things, but mainly for protecting the surface of the wood in ships, boats and cottages. It was and still is used to protect the wood and roofs in big wooden buildings like churches. It has unbeatable properties being a natural substance and so the wood can be safely burn when it’s not needed anymore. It was also used for protecting leather goods like horse dressings. Tar is definitely one of those forgotten natural substances which is not used as much anymore.


Birch tree


The tar we stock here in Anuuk Aromatic is made in Finland from variety of birch trees (betula bendula) and has a soft strong smoky scent. Birch trees to us Finns represent summer and are the tree we mostly associate as a Finnish national tree. Birch tar is the best for skincare products due to its healing properties. 

Here you cam read how tar can be made:

Practical Primitive


Tar for humans 

Tar has antiseptic properties and is widely used in skin and haircare products in Finland. It is a natural healer for cuts, abrasions and skin conditions like eczema or dandruff. Tar has calming effect for itchy skin so is a perfect for treating itchy skin and scalp conditions. In Finland tar is often associated with sauna culture and scents made specifically for sauna are usually made with tar. It is important to note that quite often the tar scent is synthetic added and many products sold as tar products do not contain tar at all. Always check the label if unsure. 

Read more about the benefits of birch tar soap here

The Mod Cabin


Birch tar


Tar for animals

Tar is also widely used in animal care products as it is a safe natural option. It can be used as for humans to aid healing on cuts or for joint aches and pains. It is also used for horses hooves to protect them. Tar has a strong scent so it can also work as an insect repellent for animals and is a great natural option to use as animals quite often lick themselves.


How to use tar?

Tar can be used in the same way as the essential oils or plant extracts. You can mix it with other oils and materials, but as it has a strong scent a little goes a long way. It is a scent that some people dislike, but majority of people will grow to love due to its earthy grounding properties. It is especially popular with men. Tar can be added to ready made base products like shower gels, lotions, soaps or oils. It can be used in perfumery and works also in candles

Read how else birch tree can be used for its great health benefits here

Herbal Legacy


If you are interested in using the birch tar as a natural pesticide in your garden, check out this 

Academic Dissertation by Marleena Hagner

If you are interested in reading about birch tree essential oils you can read my blog post about them

Birch Tree Oils

You can find birch tar in our Finlandia and Finlandia special edition scented candles


Hope you enjoyed this little piece about birch tar. It is definitely one of my favourite scents as it reminds me of home. If you would like to try it, please drop me a message and I am happy to send you a sample with your next order.

Have you ever used tar products? Please leave your comments below, I would love to hear from you


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