- Quercus alba L.
- Beech family
Parts Usually Used
Description of Plant(s) and Culture
White oak is a large, native North American tree; usually 60-100
feet high, but may grow as tall as 150 feet with a trunk diameter
up to 8 feet. White oak bark is pale gray, and the leaves have rounded
or finger-shaped lobes. The alternate, deciduous leaves are bright
green and hairless, widest beyond the middle, with 3-5 pairs of rounded
lobes. Light brown, ovoid acorns grow on current year's twigs in bowl-shaped
cups enclosing a quarter of the acorn.
Other varieties: Red oak (Q. rubra); Black oak (Q. tinctoria);
English oak (Q. robur)
Grows from Canada southward to the Gulf of Mexico, as far west as
Texas. Found in upland woods.
Astringent, tonic, antiseptic, anthelmintic, styptic
Calcium, cobalt, 15-20% tannin, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium,
sulfur, and vitamin B12.
Legends, Myths and Stories
The acorns are astringent like the bark; but when shelled, ground
into a meal and soaked in running water for a few hours, the tannic
acid is leached out. They then may be used as a nutritive tonic for
In some areas, Native Americans would gather 500 lb. per family,
which was a year's supply. These were stored and later used for bread,
pudding, soup, etc., prepared fresh from the ground acorn. They also
were known to have allowed acorn meal to go moldy in a dark, damp
place, and then scrape the mold off for application to boils, sores,
and other inflammations.
There are about 40 species of the genus Quercus in China.
Good for hemorrhoids (SEE PILES), PMS (SEE PMS), varicose veins (SEE
VARICOSE VEINS), goiter (SEE HYPOTHYROID), gallstones (SEE GALLBLADDER
DISORDERS), kidney stones (SEE KIDNEY DISEASES), fever (SEE FEVER),
sores (SEE SORES), wounds (SEE WOUNDS), sore throat (SEE SORE THROAT),
canker sores (SEE CANKER SORES), menstrual problems (SEE DYSMENORRHEA),
gonorrhea (SEE GONORRHEA), leukorrhea, stomach troubles (SEE INDIGESTION,
and bladder problems (SEE CYSTITIS). Good for teeth. Tea used in enemas
and douches. Used for chronic diarrhea (SEE DIARRHEA), dysentery (SEE
DYSENTERY), ringworm, chronic mucous discharge, poison-ivy rash (SEE
POISON IVY), burns (SEE BURNS), pinworms (SEE WORMS), hemostatic.
Stops hemorrhages in the lungs (SEE TB), stomach (SEE ULCERS), scrofula,
and bowels (SEE COLITIS), spitting of blood, stops vomiting. Used
for inflammations (SEE INFLAMMATION), boils (SEE BOILS), sores (SEE
SORES), infections (SEE INFECTION) internally and externally. Folk
cancer remedy. Since it contains tannin, experimentally, tannic acid
is antiviral, antiseptic, antitumor and carcinogenic.
Taken internally for poisoning by strychnine, veratrine, and other
A poultice of powdered oak bark and wheat flour combined with a little
boiled water draws out slivers or splinters and other foreign substances.
A wash of oak, or oak combined with witch hazel bark, is an excellent
night-time compress for varicose veins (SEE VARICOSE VEINS) and broken
capillaries under the skin.
The galls have the same properties as the bark.
Formulas or Dosages
Use dried powdered bark from the branches.
Infusion: steep 1 tbsp. bark in 1 pint water, simmering for
10 minutes. Take up to 3 cups a day.
Decoction: use 1 oz. of inner bark and 2 pints of water, boiled
down to 1 pint and strained. Take 1 cup every 1 to 2 hours until relief
from diarrhea or dysentery if felt.
Some reports of good results with powdered bark in gelatine capsules
to relieve diarrhea or dysentery. Take 2 capsules swallowed with a
glass of warm water 3 to 4 times a day.
Wash, enema or douche: steep 1 heaping tsp. in 1 qt. water
for 30 minutes and strain. Apply often.
Calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and vitamin B12.
Tannic acid is potentially toxic.