Oak Bark

What other names is Oak Bark known by?

Chêne Anglais, Chêne Blanc, Chêne Blanc d'Amérique, Chêne Commun, Chêne Pédonculé, Common Oak, Corteza de Roble, Durmast Oak, Écorce de Chêne, Écorce de Chêne Blanc, Eichenrinde, English Oak, Pedunculate Oak, Quercus alba, Quercus Cortex, Quercus pedunculata, Quercus petraea, Quercus robur, Quercus sessiliflora, Sessile Oak, Stave Oak, Stone Oak, Tanner's Bark, Tanner's Oak, White Oak, White Oak Bark.

What is Oak Bark?

Oak bark is the bark from several types of oak trees. It is used to make medicine.

Oak bark is used as a tea for diarrhea, colds, fever, cough, and bronchitis; for stimulating appetite; and for improving digestion.

Some people apply oak bark directly to the skin in a compress or add it to bath water for pain and swelling (inflammation) of the skin, mouth, throat, genitals, and anal region; and for red itchy skin due to cold exposure (chilblains).

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of oak bark for these uses.

How does Oak Bark work?

Oak bark contains tannins, which might help treat diarrhea and inflammation.

Are there safety concerns?

Oak bark might be safe for most people when taken for up to 3-4 days for diarrhea. Oak bark can cause serious side effects such as stomach and intestinal problems, and kidney and liver damage.

Oak bark might be safe for most people when applied directly to the skin for up to 2-3 weeks. When applied to damaged skin or when taken for longer than 2-3 weeks, oak bark is UNSAFE.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of oak bark during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Heart conditions: If you have a heart problem don't use oak bark.

Skin conditions including eczema or large areas of skin damage: Don't take oak bark baths if you have one of these conditions.

A nerve condition that leads to overly tight muscles (hypertonia): Don't take oak bark baths if you have this condition.

Fever or infection: Don't take oak bark baths if you have one of these conditions.

Kidney problems: There is concern that using oak bark might make kidney problems worse. Avoid use.

Liver problems: There is concern that using oak bark might make liver problems worse. Avoid use.

Dosing considerations for Oak Bark.

The appropriate dose of oak bark depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for oak bark. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011