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The birch and power.

Tea made from the leaves of the birch tree (Betula pubescens, Betula pendula), birch juice, as well as a fermented, slighly alcoholic drink made from the sap of the birch, are all said to have medicinal properties. They are used for various bladder and kidney illnesses, as well as for worms. On the other hand, the Yacuts used the bark of the birch tree for toilet paper. This is an interesting example, of the same plant being used to service both ends of a person. Furthermore, the birch branches and sticks played a very important role in politics and in the bringing up of children. The bundles of twigs (fascis) carried by Roman lictors were nothing more than a bundle of birch sticks. These were then taken on as a symbol by a political group in Italy, and this is where the name fascism originates from. But what does this have to do with the bringing up of children?

An old symbol of a teachers authority is the so called cane. A good classic teacher's cane was a birch stick. Despite its name, a true cane (made of reed - Phragmites communis) was not very useful for beatings as it fell apart too easily - I remember it myself. 

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(C) (selected from publications of 
 R. Antoszewski

Titirangi, Auckland, 
New Zeland

Jan.  2003
v.16

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