Birch sap sourced for touted health tonic

NAGANO — A business entity jointly set up by agricultural cooperatives of Nagano Prefecture has recently developed a drink that will satisfy even the most health-conscious people — 100 percent natural white birch sap juice.

White birch sap is said to be good for the health and helps cure some illnesses — although no official medical reports have proved any such benefits — and it has been sold commercially in Hokkaido, according to Yoshitada Takeda of the planning section at the business entity. Takeda’s group, with the cooperation of local residents, collected 3 tons of sap from 150 white birches in the forests in Norikura Heights in four days last April.

The collected sap will be sold from early July at shops and restaurants in the heights after being processed in a 180-milliliter aluminum package. A portion of the profit is to be used for preserving white birch forests in the area, Takeda said, adding that the group keeps checking the trees’ health to determine whether the sap extraction causes any adverse effects.