Other Names: Common Oak, Pedunculate Oak, English Oak,
The Oak, although widely distributed over Europe, is regarded as English. The Greeks held the Oak sacred, the Romans dedicated it to Jupiter, and the Druids venerated it.
In England the name Gospel Oak is still retained in many counties, relating to the time when Psalms and Gospels were spoken and shared beneath their shade. Many of these Gospel trees are still alive in different parts of England. Oak trees were specially selected to read passages from the Gospels, and ask blessings for the people.
An old proverb relating to the oak is still a form of speculation on the weather in many country districts.
Oak as an Herb for Medicinal Uses
The medicinal parts are the dried bark of the young branches and the lateral shoots, the dried bark of the trunk and branches, the dried leaves of various oak species and the seed kernels without the seed coats.
The astringent effects of the Oak were well known to the Ancients, by whom different parts of the tree were used. A decoction of acorns and oak bark, made with milk, was considered an antidote to poisonous herbs and medicines.
But it is the bark which is now employed in medicine. Its action is slightly tonic, strongly astringent and antiseptic. It has a strong and bitter taste, and its qualities are extracted both by water and spirit. The odor is slightly aromatic.
Oak bark has been used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, and bleeding. A decoction is made from 1 ounce of essences of oak in a quart of water, boiled down to a pint and taken in wineglassful doses. Externally, this decoction has been advantageously utilized as a gargle in chronic sore throat. It is also applied locally to bleeding gums and piles.
Externally, the bark and/or leaves are boiled, and then applied to bruises, swollen tissues, bleeding wounds and varicose veins.
Oak is approved by Commission E for:
- Inflammation of the mouth and pharynx
- nflammation of the skin
Oak is used in folk medicine internally for hemorrhagic stool, non-menstrual uterine bleeding, hemoptysis and chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. External uses include hemorrhoid bleeding, varicose veins, uterine bleeding, vaginal discharge (washes/douches), rashes, chronic itching, scaley and suppurating eczema and eye inflammations.
Culinary Uses of Oak
No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages.
Internal administration could lead to digestive complaints because of the secretion-inhibiting effect of the tannins.
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