White Oak Bark

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Disclaimer: This data is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to prescribe or treat specific problems. As with any herb or medication, please consult your Doctor of Naturopath or your Medical Doctor before trying anything new.

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(Quercus alba)

As inferred by the name, the bark is the part of this herb used. White Oak Bark has Astringent, mild diuretic, and antiseptic properties and affects the skin, the gastro-intestinal tract, and mildly affects the kidneys due to its mild diuretic property.

White Oak Bark is a great Astringent herb, making it good as a vaginal douche for infections, and for hemorrhoids. When there is bleeding of the stomach, lungs, and rectum, a tea is given.

White Oak Bark will help clean the stomach. The tea taken will also help chronic diarrhea, mucus problems, and some hemorrhages.

White Oak Bark has antiseptic properties which makes it an excellent choice for skin washes for bathing sores, poison ivy and oak, and small insect bites. This is also a good herb to use both as a tea internally and as a compress externally for varicose veins.

White Oak Bark's mild diuretic property is used to increase urine and aid the removal of gravel of the kidneys & bladder.

Preparation of this herb is usually in the form of a Decoction, Tincture, Fluid Extract, & a Powder.

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Other indicated used of White Oak Bark

Nose Bleeds (snuff a teaspoon of decoction into nose)
Herpes (Decoction)
Cancer Sores
Varicose Veins

Diarrhea (a decoction used as an enema)
Fever Blisters - herpes (When used as a salve or fomentation)
Gum problems: (a gargle)
Ringworm: (a salve, a poultice, or a fomentation)
Thrush: (As a gargle)
Skin problems (as a salve, poultice, or fomentation)

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A fomentation is simply a method used to stimulate blood circulation and lymph circulation, to warm joints and other parts, to relieve gas and pain and reduce inflammations that are internal.

Switching from hot to cold fomentations will stimulate activity to a particular area. This is a good treatment to use for sluggish circultion.

To prepare an infusion just rinse a cotton towel or cloth in an herbal tea infusion or decoction (tea) which has been prepared to a temperature as hot as one can take. Wring the cloth out just slightly and lay it on the area to be treated. Place plastic over the top of that, then a clean dry towel on top of that. (You can also lay a heating pad on top set on low heat.) The idea is to hold the heat in. Redip and repeat as necessary.

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White Oak Bark Footbath

Oak bark decoction, made into a footbath was considered to be strengthening and purifying. This was especially used when sores or infections were present.

To make a foot bath, first make a strong decoction out of the bark. Then put it into a large porcelein bowl (suitable for fitting your feet into it) and add 2 1/2 cups hot water. Soak your feet for approximately 6 minutes every morning or evening.

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Oak trees in general prefer a fairly heavy, rich clay soil to grow in. The like full sun and normal moisture. You can plant the ripened acorns of an oak tree in late summer of many species of the oak tree. Bury the acorns and inch or so deep in soil that you have aded compost and lef mold too. Or you can just go to your nusery and buy an already established young tree.

I found it interesting that Native Americans used acorns as one of thier main staples to live on. Now, you cannot just go out and eat an acorn. They have to be carefully treated first to remove the astringent tannic acid that they contain. The indicans would cut open the nuts and shell them, and then grind them and put them in a woven basket. They would then leach them in the local stream for two or three days and then eat them fresh or dried. Another moethods consisted of burying the basket in the stream for a month. WHen the basket was dug up after a month or so, the acorns were covered with a blue green algae. The indians would then scrape off the algae and use it to treat infections, and then eat the acorns.

The leaves of the oak trees are also rich in tannin as well. Mrs. Grieves in "A Modern Herbal" relates that Brittish tanners that inhaled finely powdered oak bark while curing their hides very seldom suffered from Tuberculosis. This was believed due to the fact that the powder tightened and had drying effects on their lungs.

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Herbal Mouthwash Using White Oak Bark

1/4 oz. white oak bark
1/8 oz. myrhh
pure alcohol (like grain alcohol) (vodka can be used) not rubbing alcohol
5 drops tea tree essential

Steep the oak bark and the myrhh in the alcohol for 7 to 10 days. Strain off and add the tea tree oil.

To use: rinse mouth (may dilute with spring water if needed) once a day with this mouth wash. Do not swallow it. Use for any sores in the mouth, gum problems, etc.

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Marcia Wilson
Journeywoman Herbalist
The Allways Natural Herb Farm

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