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Nutritional Supplement

Oak

  • Skin Protection

    Eczema

    Topical preparations containing calendula, chickweed, or oak bark have been used traditionally to treat people with eczema.
    Eczema
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    Topical preparations containing calendula, chickweed, or oak bark4have been used traditionally to treat people with eczema but none of these has been studied in scientific research focusing on people with eczema.

  • Oral Health

    Canker Sores

    Oak is an astringent herb that can be used as a mouth rinse to soothe the pain of canker sores. The herb contains tannins that can bind up fluids and possibly relieve inflammation.
    Canker Sores
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    Historically, herbs known as astringents have been used to soothe the pain of canker sores. These herbs usually contain tannins that can bind up fluids and possibly relieve inflammation. They are used as a mouth rinse and then are spit out. None of these herbs has been studied in modern times. Examples of astringent herbs include agrimony, cranesbill, tormentil, oak, periwinkle, and witch hazel. Witch hazel is approved by the German Commission E for local inflammations of the mouth, presumably a condition that includes canker sores.

  • Menstrual and PMS Support

    Menorrhagia

    Astringent herbs such as oak have been traditionally used for heavy menstruation.
    Menorrhagia
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    Cinnamon has been used historically for the treatment of various menstrual disorders, including heavy menstruation.5 This is also the case with shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris).6 Other herbs known as astringents (tannin-containing plants that tend to decrease discharges), such as cranesbill, periwinkle, witch hazel, and oak, were traditionally used for heavy menstruation. Human trials are lacking, so the usefulness of these herbs is unknown. Black horehound was sometimes used traditionally for heavy periods, though this approach has not been investigated by modern research.

  • Women's Health

    Menorrhagia

    Astringent herbs such as oak have been traditionally used for heavy menstruation.
    Menorrhagia
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    Cinnamon has been used historically for the treatment of various menstrual disorders, including heavy menstruation.7 This is also the case with shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris).8 Other herbs known as astringents (tannin-containing plants that tend to decrease discharges), such as cranesbill, periwinkle, witch hazel, and oak, were traditionally used for heavy menstruation. Human trials are lacking, so the usefulness of these herbs is unknown. Black horehound was sometimes used traditionally for heavy periods, though this approach has not been investigated by modern research.

  • Digestive Support

    Crohn’s Disease

    Oak is a tannin-containing herb that may be helpful to decrease diarrhea during acute flare-ups and has been used for this purpose in traditional medicine.
    Crohn’s Disease
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    Tannin-containing herbs may be helpful to decrease diarrhea during acute flare-ups and have been used for this purpose in traditional medicine. A preliminary trial using isolated tannins in the course of usual drug therapy for Crohn’s disease found them to be more effective for reducing diarrhea than was no additional treatment.9 Tannin-containing herbs of potential benefit include agrimony (Agrimonia spp.), green tea, oak, witch hazel, and cranesbill. Use of such herbs should be discontinued before the diarrhea is completely resolved; otherwise the disease may be aggravated.

    Diarrhea

    A tannin in oak has been shown to inhibit intestinal secretion, which may help resolve diarrhea. In Germany oak is recommended to treat mild, acute diarrhea in children.
    Diarrhea
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    In laboratory experiments, a tannin in oak, known as ellagitannin, inhibited intestinal secretion,10 which may help resolve diarrhea. Oak is well regarded in Germany, where it is recommended (along with plenty of electrolyte-containing fluids) to treat mild, acute diarrhea in children.11

What Are Star Ratings?
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Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

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Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Oak bark was used traditionally by herbalists to treat hemorrhoids, varicose veins, diarrhea, and cancer. Tannic acid derived from oak trees has a long history of application in tanning hides and making ink.12

References

1. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd., 1988, 328-9.

2. Konig M, Scholz E, Hartmann R, et al. Ellagitannins and complex tannins from Quercus petraea bark. J Nat Prod 1994;57:1411-5.

3. Schilcher H. Phytotherapy in Paediatrics. Stuttgart, Germany: Medpharm Scientific Publishers, 1997, 49-50.

4. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenberg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988, 328-9.

5. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 168-70.

6. Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1919, 1998, 354.

7. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 168-70.

8. Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1919, 1998, 354.

9. Plein K, Burkard G, Hotz J. Treatment of chronic diarrhea in Crohn disease. A pilot study of the clinical effect of tannin albuminate and ethacridine lactate. Fortschr Med 1993;111:114-8 [in German].

10. Konig M, Scholz E, Hartmann R, et al. Ellagitannins and complex tannins from Quercus petraea bark. J Nat Prod 1994;57:1411-5.

11. Schilcher H. Phytotherapy in Paediatrics. Stuttgart, Germany: Medpharm Scientific Publishers, 1997, 49-50.

12. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Foods, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 485-7.

13. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 175-6.

14. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 175-6.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2019.