Oak bark contains plenty of tannins. Extracts of oak (Quercus robur) relieve, among other things, itching and thus help, for example, as a pruritic sitting bath for hemorrhoids
The oak is considered a symbol of eternity. Numerous legends and myths entwine themselves around them. So seven nuns of the Cistercian monastery Ivenack are said to have broken their vows. As a punishment, they were turned into seven oaks. Since these oaks have been standing in the grove for about 1000 years, the nuns still seem to have to pay.
Likewise, the oak was associated with deities. In ancient Greece, for example, there was an oak oracle: Three women carefully listened to an old knotty oak. From the rustling of the leaves they allegedly heard the voice of Zeus. For the Celts, the oak tree was the tree of the weather god Taranis. Nordic peoples dedicated the tree to the god of thunder and war, Thor.
In addition to its mythical significance, the oak has played a role as a medicinal plant since antiquity. Healers estimated the bark thousands of years ago as a hemostatic agent.
What does the oak look like and where does the medicinal plant come from?
The pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) is a tree up to 50 meters high. The trunk can become over 1.5 meters thick. The bark is greyish brown and has a cracked bark. The alternate leaves have deep bays. They shine green at the top, on the underside they look dull and are silky hairy. The oak forms male hanging kittens and female small flowers. The fruit is the glans. It looks oblong-egg-shaped and is enclosed in the lower part of a scaly cup. The pedunculate oak belongs to the beech family (Fagaceae) and flowers between April and May. The tree is found throughout Europe and often grows in mixed forests.
Which plant parts and ingredients are used?
The oak bark is used because it contains a lot of tannins. The bark contains between eight and twenty percent of tannins. These include those of the catechin type, such as the substances catechin and epicatechin. Furthermore, so-called ellagitannins and complex tannins.
What do the ingredients do? What does oak help against?
The tannins contained in the bark have an astringent effect on the skin and mucous membrane, ie they contract. The tannins react with proteins that are in the skin and mucous membrane, and change their structure. As a result, the upper tissue layers solidify. The result: Small blood vessels are sealed, resulting in a hemostatic effect. Bacteria are less able to penetrate the skin and mucous membranes, which, for example, keeps diarrhea pathogens away from the intestinal mucosa. In addition, tannins weaken nerve stimuli in the skin. This manifests itself as an itching-breastfeeding effect.
Used externally - as a foot bath, hip bath or envelope - extracts of oak bark therefore help against mild inflammatory skin diseases. The antipruritic effect alleviates oak discomfort in the genital and anal area - for example, hemorrhoids. Who sweats excessively, can also put on oak bark.
Oak bark tea can alleviate acute diarrhea if caused by bacteria or viruses. However, the taste of such a tea is unpleasant due to the high tannin content. ๑•ิ.•ั๑
Anyone who has a fever, suffering from heart failure or high blood pressure, should refrain from a full bath with oak bark extract. Likewise, if extensive skin injuries are present. Some people are sensitive to oak bark. With them, the high tannin content can hit the stomach and cause nausea.
Do not take oak bark extracts with other medicines as the tannins may affect their absorption into the body.