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White Oak Bark: Uses and Benefits

White oak bark is native to England and has been naturalized in the U.S., where it is found mainly in the East. It grows as high as 100 feet and can live as long as 1,000 years. The trees are valued in the making of cabinets, tables and other furniture. Oak trees also bear acorns, which were a staple in the Native American diet.

Rich in tannins, white oak bark provides vitamin B12 and minerals like calcium, iron and zinc, and has many health-promoting properties. You'll often find white oak in natural skin creams for a variety of applications.

Internally, white oak bark is the most commonly used astringent and is extremely good for this purpose, say Ferrell et al. in Natural Remedies Encyclopedia. "It is used for ulcers, spleen problems, and diarrhea. The tea is taken for bleeding of the stomach, lungs, and rectum. It will stop the spitting up of blood. It will remove gallstones and kidney stones, and increase the flow of urine. Use it for diarrhea. Simmer an ounce of the bark in a pint of water for an hour. The decoction is good as an injection for vaginal infection or hemorrhoids. It is also used for bladder weakness, herpes, leukorrhea, nose bleeds, and prolapsed uterus.

"Externally, white oak bark is applied to poison oak rash, bee stings, insect and snakebites. Use it to bathe sores, scabs, burns and wounds. Use it on the gums to tighten them and prevent the loss of teeth. Apply a fomentation of it, overnight, to swollen glands, canker sores, tumors, goiter, mumps, fever blisters, and lymphatic swelling. Use it for herpes, leukorrhea, mouth ulcers, pyorrhea, ringworm, skin diseases, thrush, and tonsillitis, Tie a fomentation over broken capillaries and weak blood vessels. It is excellent for varicose veins. For this purpose, use the tea internally as well as externally."

Warning: Do not use during pregnancy. It may interfere with the absorption of iron and other minerals, when taken internally. It should not be used by people who are allergic to aspirin.

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