White Oak Bark or Oak Bark
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White Oak Bark WHITE OAK BARK  

Botanical:   Quercus alba
Family:  Fagaceae (beech/oak)
Other common names:  Oak Bark, Tanner's Bark, Quebec Oak

White Oak Bark is a powerful astringent that has been used for centuries to control diarrhea, internal and external bleeding, excessive menstrual flow, nosebleeds 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. White Oak Bark's anthelmintic qualities help to destroy and expel parasites and intestinal worms.

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.

The White Oak tree is a stately, deciduous member of more than fifty species of oaks found in the United States, and is said to be native to the eastern part of North America.  The "Mighty Oak," long a symbol of strength (and the emblem on the first flag of the Revolutionary forces during the United States War of Independence), thrives as an ornamental in rich, deep, well-drained, acidic soil in sun or partial shade and may reach well over one hundred feet in height 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.   Oak's botanical genus, Quercus, is said to be derived from the Celtic word, quer, meaning "fine" and cuez, meaning "tree,"  and its botanical specific, alba, is translated from Latin, meaning "white."  The White Oak has been an important medicinal treatment in the history of Native Americans and settlers alike.  Several Native Americans ate the ground meal from acorns of the White Oak as a dietary staple, and many tribes used White Oak Bark as an important medicine for diarrhea, wounds and hemorrhoids.  The Menominees and Potawatomis used a liquid from the scraped inner bark medicinally as a treatment for piles, and the Penobscots drank its liquid to treat diarrhea.  The settlers learned of its medicinal uses from the Native Americans and also used it as a substitute for the English Oak, often employing it in barrel making, leather tanning and shipbuilding.  White Oak is still a valuable hardwood timber product, which is used in furniture, railroad ties, flooring and cabinetmaking.  It 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) of the White Oak because of the bitter tannin content, which is an excellent astringent and major source of tannic acid and an important ingredient in herbal medicines.  The acorns of the White Oak 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 White 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:
White Oak Bark (the inner bark) is a powerful herbal astringent.  Its 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, nosebleeds, womb troubles and dysentery.  The 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, White 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, White Oak is believed to normalize the function of the kidney, liver and spleen and has been used to relieve jaundice and other liver ailments.

White 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.

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

When used externally, White 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 anl antiseptic, protective coat under which regeneration of new tissues may take place, and this has been useful as a topical antiseptic for treating burns, wounds, bee stings, skin abrasions and bleeding or infected mouth sores.  White 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 White Oak'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.

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

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