White Oak Bark (Quercus alba) is also known by the names English Oak, White Oak, Red Oak, Black Oak, Green Oak, Royal Protector, Tanner's Bark and Common Oak. The genus name of the tree is Quercus. Quercus alba in translation from Celtic means a “fine” ("quer") “tree” ("cuea"), and “alba” refers to the whitish appearance of the bark. A huge magnificent tree with a massive broad top has long been a symbol of immortality and fertility, and was called a Sacred Tree by the Druids. The whole look of the Oak carries the idea of absolute strength, dignity and mighty. It has been the talisman to those who wanted a child, the remedy to those who endured despair, a reward to those who pass the war.
White Oak is not usually white – it’s ashen grey, normally not very tall (20-25 m), quite massive and wide at maturity and bears acorns.
White Oak Bark is known to live over five hundred years. It can be found all over the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa though it is native to England. The tree grows almost everywhere but urban places, as it does not tolerate its conditions, its soil compaction and changes in soil levels well.
The leaves, inner bark and the cups of the acorn are usually used in folk medicine for different herbal treatments. The tree itself is valued in the making of different kind of furniture.
You can find white oak in form of capsules on the market, though in different other forms as well (for example even in natural skin creams). Also it is available in forms of baths, washes, infusions, teas and tinctures.
The active constituents in oak bark are tannin (phlobatannin, ellagitannins, gallic acid) and quercetin.
Tannin content (galls are even higher in tannins than the bark) plays an important role; it binds with protein of the tissues, strengthens them and makes impermeable to bacterial invasion and infection. It makes it rather useful for stomach and digestive concerns, for skin health.
Quercetin is used for strengthening the capillaries and veins.
White Oak also contains the minerals manganese, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc.
It is one of the strongest natural astringent herbs (it strengthens blood vessels and tightens tissues – perfect treatment for hemorrhoids, diarrhea and varicose veins) also famous for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Other useful properties of the oak - haemostatic (arrests internal bleeding), diuretic, anti-emetic (relieves malarial-type fevers and chills), febrifuge (reduces fever), anti-venomous (antidote for poisonous plants, insects and snake bites) etc.
The benefits of using an oak were known to the Ancients. In folk medicine different part of the tree were used for treatments, now mainly the bark is used.
- treating wounds and intestinal problems (used by Native American cultures for hundreds of years);
- protecting from bacterial and viral infections (historically used oak bark for making bath additives and gargles);
- treating diarrhea, chronic mucous discharges, passive hemorrhages;
- an excellent gargle for relaxed uvula and sore throat;
- nice stimulating astringent lotion for ulcerswith spongy granulations;
- an astringent injection for leucorrhoea and hemorrhoids;
- a proven remedy for gangrenous or mortified conditions;
- and excellent remedy for debilitated children, especially when the result of fevers (as a bath or decoction, given internally);
- treating several cutaneous diseases;
- highly recommended in the treatment of scrofula (drinking coffee made from roasted acorns).
A magic ingredient in the Druid's 'tea for lust and strength', firm structure for wonderful barrels for aging wines; a historical grave for foreign gods that Jacob buries at Shechem; a sacred tree to Serbs (now is used in both national and regional symbols); a historical symbol of Zeus in Classical mythology; a gateway between world in Celtic mythology; a subject to many old proverbs about dignity, love and strength and other eternal thing - this is all the Mighty Oak's participation in our history. Ancient legents do not lie...
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