Oak bark

Quercus robur, Fagaceae. The bark is the part of the plant used.

The young bark is carefully removed from the trunk or from branches that are not more than 4 inches (10 cm) thick. Take care to only take off small patches and never take a whole ring around the trunk, which will kill the tree. The bark is gathered in spring. It needs to be smooth and free from blemishes.

Functions of oak bark

Oak bark contains a high percentage of tannins which give it strong astringent properties. It:

  • tones the mucous membranes throughout the body, protecting them from irritation and infection. This makes oak bark a good remedy for diarrhea, dysentery, or varicose veins and hemorrhoids. It is also useful for catarrh and sinus congestion.
  • reduces excessive menstrual bleeding and can be used to tone pelvic and abdominal muscles.
  • can clear catarrh and tone mucus membranes in the digestive tract which will aid in digestion and absorption.
  • can be used in a gargle for tonsillitis, pharyngitis and laryngitis and as a mouth wash for bleeding gums and moth ulcers.
  • can be used as a lotion for burns and cuts, varicose veins and hemorrhoids and vaginal discharges and infections.

Notes on oak bark

  • Do not use if you have extensive skin damage.

Dosages

Decoction: put 1 teaspoonful of the bark in a cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. This should be taken three times per day.

Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times per day.

References

Duke, J. A. 2000, Anti-aging Prescriptions. Rodale.

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

McIntyre, A. 1995, The Complete Women's Herbal. Henry Holt Reference Books.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.

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