Oak (Mo Shi Zi, Wu Bei Zi, Xiang Shi)

Botanical Name: Genus Quercus and Lepidobalanus (in North America).

The oak tree has a history as deep and long as its roots and branches. Used throughout history by many cultures as a food, medicine, building material, and symbol of strength.

Below is an overview of oak, combining and interpreting the best of Western science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), shamanism, folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of oak.

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Western Name: Oak

Also Known As: California Oak, English Oak

Organs/Systems: Digestion, Immunity, Stop Bleeding

Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Antiseptic, Control Bleeding, Astringent, Anti-inflammatory, Reduce Fever. Can be used as a gargle for sore throat. Gall ointment for hemorrhoids, and nose and gum and bleeding. Acorns/Nuts are a food by themselves and can also be ground into flour. Good for chronic diarrhea, internal hemorrhage, prolapse of uterus or anus.


Pin Yin: Mo Shi Zi (oak gallnuts), Wu Bei Zi (sumac gallnut), Xiang Shi (acorn)

Also Known As: N/A

Meridians: Kidney, Large Intestine, Lung

Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Intestinal disorders: diarrhea, rectal prolapse, parasites and hemorrhoids. Relieve Excessive discharge: enuresis and frequent urination, leucorrhea, night sweats and seminal emissions. Reduce Swellings and Absorb Moisture/Relieve Fire Toxicity: used topically as a wash or powder for sores, ringworm and damp ulcerated skin.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Approximately 600 species. Trees are both deciduous and evergreen. In Spring, a single oak produces both male catkins and small female flowers. The fruit is a nut/acorn, which contains one seed, each taking 6-8 months to mature depending on the species. Oaks are noted for their slow growth and the large size they can attain over time.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Nut, Bark, Galls

Flavors: Very Bitter, Slight Warming

Caution: Due to high tannin content only use bark internally for no longer than four weeks.

History/Folklore: Oak is a symbol of strength and endurance.  It has become the national tree for many countries. Germany puts the oak image on their coins. In 2004, the U.S. congress designated it the national tree. The ancient Greeks identified it with Zeus (King of Gods) and in Celtic the name of the oak tree was part of the name for druid which meant strong,  firm, or strong in knowledge. Oaks were also associated with the god of thunder.

Key Constituents:

Nuts: protein, carbohydrates and fat.  Galls: gallotannic acid, tannins. Bark: tannic acid and resin.

Did you know?

North America

The largest number of oaks is in North America; the second largest is in China.


Pig Food

Acorns are considered good food for pigs.

Fun fact!


Bark also used to create inks and dyes with the color depending on what the bark is mixed with (with salts of iron you will get black ink; with alum you will get brownish dye; and with tin, yellow dye).


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ATTENTION: All material provided on this website is for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your healthcare professional or physician. Redistribution permitted with attribution. Be Healthy. Be Happy. Be Whole. Be Free.

ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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