Oak (Xiang Mu)
Botanical Name: Quercus alba, Q. rubra, Q. crassifolia
Oak trees can live to be over one hundred years old. Besides their valuable wood and acorns that are edible, the bark and oak galls (caused by wasps) are respected medicines for treating sore throats, diarrhea, and more.
Watch a short video, from Ann Christensen, Founder and Creator of White Rabbit Institute of Healing™ – Discover the Sacred Powers of Oak Trees…
Remember to check with your doctor before trying new medicines or herbal remedies, especially if you are taking other medication where drug interactions are possible.
Below is an overview of oak, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of oak.
How to take FULL advantage of Oak's healing powers...
JOIN ME in an exploration of the healing herb, Oak (Xiang Mu). Dive deep into the benefits and applications of oak, from Eastern and Western perspectives, and so much more!
Also Known As: California Oak, English Oak, Common Oak, Tanner’s Oak, Oak Bark, Red Oak Bark, White Oak Bark, Oak Gall, Oak Gall Apple
Organs/Systems: Respiratory, Digestive, Urogenital, and Immune Systems, Stops Bleeding
Key Actions: Antiseptic, Hemostatic, Astringent, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antimicrobial, Anticancer, Diuretic, Antiparasitic, Prebiotic
Medicinal Uses: Sore throat, cough, chronic diarrhea, hemorrhoids, prolapsed uterus, digestive disorders, fever, bruises, nose and gum bleeding, internal hemorrhaging, damp skin conditions, varicose veins, edema, scalp rinse, kidney stones, incontinence, intestinal parasites, cancer. Acorn: Anemia, gout, rickets in children, regulates thyroid function.
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Kidney, Large Intestine, Lung
Key Actions: Relieves Excessive Discharge, Reduces Swellings, Eliminates Damp, Relieves Fire Toxicity, Stops Bleeding
Medicinal Uses: Diarrhea, rectal prolapse, parasites, hemorrhoids, frequent urination, dribbling, incontinence, urinary tract infections (UTIs), leucorrhea, night sweats, seminal emissions, varicose veins, topically as a wash or powder for sores, ringworm, or damp ulcerated skin conditions.
The genus Quercus is native to the Northern Hemisphere including America, Asia, Europe, and North Africa. There are 60 native U.S. oak trees. The states of Georgia and Alabama have the most oaks but native genera can be found in every state except Idaho, Alaska, and Hawaii.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Nut, Bark, Gall, Leaf
Flavors/Temps: Very Bitter, Slight Warming, Astringent
Caution: Due to high tannin content only use oak bark internally for no longer than four weeks. Not recommended for pregnant women.
Key Constituents: Nuts – Tannins, Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat. Galls – Gallotannic acid, Tannins, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, Protein, Fiber, Calcium. Bark – Tannins (including Ellagitannin), Saponins (including Triterpenoids), Octyl gallate, Polyphenols, Resin.
History/Folklore: Oak is a symbol of strength and endurance. It has become the national tree for many countries including Bulgaria, France, Germany, Jordan, Latvia, Poland, Wales, and as of 2004, the U.S. Germany puts the oak image on their coins. The Ancient Greeks identified it with Zeus (King of Gods) and in Celtic times the name of the oak tree was part of the name for druid which meant strong, firm, strong in knowledge, or “knower of the oak tree”. Oaks were also associated with the god of thunder.
The Latin name “Quercus” is thought to derive from the Celtic words that mean “fine tree.”
An extract of the bark made from the species Q. crassifolia has been shown to fight E. coli and other bacteria that can cause stomach problems and diarrhea. The German Commission E has approved oak bark as a treatment for diarrhea and the U.S. Pharmacopoeia listed it until 1916 for its astringent and antiseptic properties. Studies on oak bark in Russia confirmed it as the most effective remedy for preventing staphylococcal infections, making it a possible focus for use against MRSA, and other antibiotic-resistant infections.
Native Americans have used oak bark to treat a wide variety of ailments including bruises, hemorrhoids, bowel problems, and bladder issues. They used the acorns to make flour. The Ojibwa Indians used red oak bark for supporting heart and bronchial health.
Oak galls are formed by wasps laying eggs inside or feeding on the branches of leaves of trees. Used as a medicine in a similar way as the oak bark is, the galls are food for jays, nuthatches, titmice, and other birds that enjoy the larvae of the wasps. Sometimes they are called oak apple galls, because they can look like small apples. The galls do not typically harm the tree.
Oak galls help improve the elasticity of tissues and skin. This includes tightening the vaginal membrane wall, skin, and bladder tissues. Extracts made from the galls will contain vitamin A and C, iron, calcium and other antioxidants. Oak galls can also help to treat cysts.
Both oak bark and oak galls have antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, and coagulating properties. Oak galls are popularly used to make dye.
Oak bark powder can be applied externally to dry out sores, insect bites, and bruises.
The tannins found in the leaves, bark, and acorns can be toxic. The leaves and flower buds are especially toxic when they are just opening in the spring. A type of tannin known as ellagitannin, is known for improving the structure and function of the liver and heart. It can help reduce the impact of a high-carbohydrate and high-fat diet and has been noted for lowering systolic blood pressure. Ellagitannin has anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant, prebiotic, and cardioprotective properties. Used in correct doses the bark and oak galls make excellent medicines.
The acorns can be used in soups and cereals, or as a coffee substitute. As a coffee substitute 1-2 cups daily can be used as a medicine to help regulate thyroid function, improve blood count, and counter iron deficiency that contributes to anemia. It has also been used to treat rickets in children, reduce gout and joint pain, ease menses, and improve digestive function. Acorns do not appear on an oak tree until it is 20 years old.
Oak trees are powerful contributors to a clean environment. They store carbon dioxide and a single large oak can remove up to 10 lbs of toxins from the air each year.. They are a source of food and protection for birds, bears, insects, spiders, and many other species.
Oak woodlands host more than 160 different species of birds, and contribute to the health of over 2,000 varieties of plants. Their large canopies help cool the ground and block high winds that can cause damage to other growing plants and their deep and wide root systems help stabilize soils, recycle nutrients, and generate biomass for other nearby plants. Their dead, fallen branches also provide habitat for nesting birds and the bark from these fresh fallen branches is used for making medicine.
Oak wood is prized for furniture, flooring and cabinet making. White oak has some water resistance, so it is considered the best choice for crafting wine barrels and boats. Red oak trees are more abundant and their wood costs less than white oak.
White oak was used to build the hull of the famous U.S. naval ship, the USS Constitution, aka “Old Ironsides”, in 1797. She is the world’s oldest ship.
Inks and Dyes
How to use Oak (Xiang Mu) and take FULL advantage of it's healing powers!
Find out how to safely use this powerful herb and get specific recipes you can make use of immediately. Dive deep into Eastern and Western perspectives about HOW and WHY this herb works. Includes uses, benefits, essential oils, gardening tips, and much, much more.
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