Oak Bark or White Oak Bark
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(White) Oak BarkOAK BARK
(commonly known as White Oak Bark)
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Botanical:   Quercus alba
Family:   Fagaceae (beech/oak)
Other common names:  Common Oak, White Oak, English Oak, Tanner's Bark, British Oak, Gospel Oak

Oak Bark is a powerful astringent that has been used for centuries to control diarrhea, internal and external bleeding, excessive menstrual flow, nosebleed and hemorrhoids.  It is also a potent antiseptic that has helped to control bacterial invasion and infection and has been employed to relieve vaginal and bladder infections, among others.  Oak Bark's anthelmintic qualities help to destroy and expel parasites and intestinal worms.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

History:
The Common Oak tree (Quercus robur or English Oak) is a stately, deciduous native of Europe, but regarded as peculiarly English and is, in fact, the chief forest tree in England. The genus, Quercus, comprises numerous species that are distributed widely over the northern hemispheres and some mountainous regions of the southern hemispheres.  The Common Oak and the White Oak (Quercus alba), which is native to the eastern part of North America, share the same commercial and medicinal uses.  The "Mighty Oak," long a symbol of strength, grows slowly and thrives as an tall ornamental in rich, deep, well-drained, acidic soil in sun or partial shade and may reach well over one hundred feet in height, with a wide girth at maturity.  In ancient times, the Oak was dedicated to Thor, the Norse god of thunder, and this gave rise to the false belief that an Oak tree could never be struck by lightning.  This belief led to the placement of acorn symbols in a home for protection, with acorn-shaped wooden pulls attached to Venetian Blind cords to guard those dwelling within.  Its botanical genus, Quercus, is said to be derived from the Celtic word, quer, meaning "fine" and cuez, meaning "tree."  The Oak is intimately bound up with the history of the British Isles from ancient times and is considered a sacred tree by the Druids.  It is said that the fabled King Arthur's famed Round Table was made from a single slice of Oak, and we know that a spray of Oak was long engraved on old shillings and sixpence pieces.  In famine times, the acorns were used as a healthy sustenance by the populace, who improved the taste by drying and grinding the kernels into a nourishing flour (in the same way that Native Americans employed the White Oak in their diets).  The English Oak (like the White Oak) has been historically employed in barrel making, leather tanning and shipbuilding, and the bark even provided a black dye.  The Oak is still a vital hardwood timber product, which is used in furniture, railroad ties, flooring and cabinet-making.  White Oak (which is used interchangeably with English/Common Oak) was listed as an astringent, tonic and antiseptic in the United States Pharmacopœia from 1820 to 1916, as well as the Dispensatory of the United States.  There has been renewed interest in the inner bark and galls (growths produced by fungi and insects and sometimes called Oak apples) of the Oak tree because of the bitter tannin content, which is an excellent astringent and major source of tannic acid and gallic acid, and an ingredient in herbal medicines.  Oak Bark has been used for centuries as an important medicinal astringent for diarrhea, bleeding wounds and hemorrhoids.  The acorns of the Oak tree have been roasted like coffee and used as a coffee or tea substitute, especially by those who suffer from looseness of the bowels.  Some of the constituents in Oak Bark include beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, catechin, gallic acid, pectin, quercetin, tannin, sulfur, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, B-vitamins and vitamin C.

Beneficial Uses:
Oak Bark (the inner bark) is a powerful herbal astringent. The tannin content has made it one of the most potent treatments that has been used internally and externally for centuries to control bleeding and relieve diarrhea, hemorrhoids, vaginal discharge, vomiting, nosebleed, womb troubles and dysentery.  Its astringency helps to stop internal bleeding and can be effective in cases of excessive menstrual flow and hemorrhages, including hemorrhaging of the lungs, bowels, stomach and spitting of blood.

As a diuretic that increases the flow of urine, Oak Bark helps to expel mucous discharge, flush out kidney stones and gallstones, and improve the health of the bladder.  It is also said to be helpful for ulcerated bladder or bloody urine.  Moreover, Oak Bark is believed to normalize the function of the kidney, liver and spleen, and has been used to relieve jaundice and other liver ailments.

Oak Bark is considered a strong antiseptic.  The tannins bind with protein in the tissues, making them impermeable to bacterial invasion and infection, and this action has been very helpful for treating a wide variety of infections, such as vaginal infections (including vaginitis and leukorrhœa), gleet (urethritis), bladder infection, chancre (canker) sores and venereal diseases.  Its diuretic properties enhance many of these applications.

Oak Bark is considered an anthelmintic.  The phenolic nature of the tannin complex acts as an antiseptic and parasiticide, or agent that destroys and expels worms (including pinworms) and other parasites from the intestinal tract.

When used externally, Oak Bark's astringency is considered a hemostatic, or substance that helps to stop bleeding.  The tannins also protect injured tissues by precipitating their proteins to form an antiseptic, protective coat under which regeneration of new tissues may take place, and this has been useful as a topical antiseptic in treating burns, wounds, bee stings, skin abrasions, bleeding or infected mouth sores.  Oak Bark's astringents are utilized in topical medicines to relieve flabby ulcers, in douches for vaginal and cervical discharges, and in washes for hemorrhoids.

Further supporting Oak Bark's astringent qualities, it is said to help relieve goiter and swelling of the neck and varicose veins.  It is also thought to reduce swelling and hard tumors when applied topically.

Contraindications:
Currently, there are no known warnings with the use of Oak Bark Herbal Supplement; however, it should be noted that prolonged use of astringents/tannins is not recommended.

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