The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

White Oak

Scientific Names

White Oak

  • Quercus alba L.
  • Fagaceae
  • Beech family

Common Names

  • Common White Oak
  • Hu (Chinese name)
  • Tanner’s bark

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Parts Usually Used

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White Oak

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

White oak is a large, native North American tree; usually 60-100 feet high, but may grow as tall as 150 feet with a trunk diameter up to 8 feet. White oak bark is pale gray, and the leaves have rounded or finger-shaped lobes. The alternate, deciduous leaves are bright green and hairless, widest beyond the middle, with 3-5 pairs of rounded lobes. Light brown, ovoid acorns grow on current year’s twigs in bowl-shaped cups enclosing a quarter of the acorn.

Other varieties: Red oak (Q. rubra); Black oak (Q. tinctoria); English oak (Q. robur)
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Where Found

Grows from Canada southward to the Gulf of Mexico, as far west as Texas. Found in upland woods.
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Medicinal Properties

Astringent, tonic, antiseptic, anthelmintic, styptic
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Biochemical Information

Calcium, cobalt, 15-20% tannin, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulfur, and vitamin B12.
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White Oak Acorn

Legends, Myths and Stories

The acorns are astringent like the bark; but when shelled, ground into a meal and soaked in running water for a few hours, the tannic acid is leached out. They then may be used as a nutritive tonic for wasting diseases.

In some areas, Native Americans would gather 500 lb. per family, which was a year’s supply. These were stored and later used for bread, pudding, soup, etc., prepared fresh from the ground acorn. They also were known to have allowed acorn meal to go moldy in a dark, damp place, and then scrape the mold off for application to boils, sores, and other inflammations.

There are about 40 species of the genus Quercus in China.
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Good for hemorrhoids, PMS, varicose veins, goiter, gallstones, kidney stones, fever, sores, wounds, sore throat, canker sores, menstrual problems, gonorrhea, leukorrhea, stomach troubles, and bladder problems. Good for teeth. Tea used in enemas and douches. Used for chronic diarrhea, dysentery, ringworm, chronic mucous discharge, poison-ivy rash, burns, pinworms, hemostatic. Stops hemorrhages in the lungs, stomach, scrofula, and bowels, spitting of blood, stops vomiting. Used for inflammations, boils, sores, infections internally and externally. Folk cancer remedy. Since it contains tannin, experimentally, tannic acid is antiviral, antiseptic, antitumor and carcinogenic.

Taken internally for poisoning by strychnine, veratrine, and other vegetable alkaloids.

A poultice of powdered oak bark and wheat flour combined with a little boiled water draws out slivers or splinters and other foreign substances. A wash of oak, or oak combined with witch hazel bark, is an excellent night-time compress for varicose veins and broken capillaries under the skin.

The galls have the same properties as the bark.
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Formulas or Dosages

Use dried powdered bark from the branches.

Infusion: steep 1 tbsp. bark in 1 pint water, simmering for 10 minutes. Take up to 3 cups a day.

Decoction: use 1 oz. of inner bark and 2 pints of water, boiled down to 1 pint and strained. Take 1 cup every 1 to 2 hours until relief from diarrhea or dysentery if felt.

Some reports of good results with powdered bark in gelatine capsules to relieve diarrhea or dysentery. Take 2 capsules swallowed with a glass of warm water 3 to 4 times a day.

Wash, enema or douche: steep 1 heaping tsp. in 1 qt. water for 30 minutes and strain. Apply often.
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Nutrient Content

Calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and vitamin B12.
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How Sold

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Tannic acid is potentially toxic.
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Resource Links

Civil War Era Medicinals Found Potentially Effective

Futurity: 3 Plants from U.S. Civil War Medical Guide Fight Infection

Emory University: Civil War plant medicines blast drug-resistant bacteria American Civil War plant medicines inhibit growth, biofilm formation, and quorum sensing by multidrug-resistant bacteria

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Buy It! Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests, Medical, Economical, and Agricultural; Being Also a Medical Botany of the Confederate States, by Francis Peyre Porcher

Buy It! Wild Plants and Survival Lore: Secrets of the Forest, by Mark Warren

Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Shih-Chen Li, Georgetown Press, San Francisco, California, 1973.

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Secrets of the Chinese Herbalists, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Company, Inc., West Nyack, NY, 1987.

Buy It! Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! An Instant Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Pamela Forey and Ruth Lindsay, Crescent Books (January 27, 1992).

Buy It! The Magic of Herbs in Daily Living, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Co. (1988).

Buy It! A Useful Guide to Herbal Health Care, HCBL (Health Center for Better Living).,1414 Rosemary Lane, Naples, FL 34103., Special Sale Catalog, 1996

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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