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.
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.
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.
Nuts: protein, carbohydrates and fat. Galls: gallotannic acid, tannins. Bark: tannic acid and resin.
The largest number of oaks is in North America; the second largest is in China.
Acorns are considered good food for pigs.
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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