Health Benefits and Uses of White Oak

Health & Wellness

White Oak (Quercus alba) || Health Benefits of White Oak

Quercus alba to its botanical name of as "quercus" is believed to be derived from Celtic words meaning “fine tree”, commonly called White Oak is a large deciduous Missouri native tree belonging to Beech family Fagaceae. The plant is found growing in dry woods, gravelly ridges, sandy plains, rich uplands, moist bottoms, upland woodlands, well-drained areas of bottomland woodlands, sandy woodlands, bluffs, wooded slopes, savannas and sandy savannas, edges of limestone glades, and high riverbanks above the flood zone. It is found growing on many soil types, White Oak does best on coarse, deep, moist, well-drained, with medium fertility, and slightly acid soils. It is well adapted to heavy soils and north and east-facing slopes. Natural stands are often found in areas with loam and clay soil. White Oak is moderately resistant to ice breakage, sensitive to flooding, and resistant to salt spray and brief salt-water submergence. The plant is native to eastern and central North America and found from Minnesota, Ontario, Quebec, and southern Maine south as far as northern Florida and eastern Texas. Apart from White Oak it is also known as Northern White Oak, Eastern White Oak, Stave Oak, Ridge White Oak and Forked-leaf White Oak. White Oak is the Illinois State Tree. Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for Oak trees. Species name of Alba means white in reference to the light ash-gray bark. White Oak is a medium to large, spreading, slow growing, and long lived, deciduous tree that grows about 60 to 80 feet (18-24 m) in height. On favorable sites, individuals may grow to more than 100 feet (30 m) in height and exceed 5 feet (1.5 m) in diameter. It will grow fairly tall inside a forest, but when in the open it spreads horizontally rather than attaining height. Specimens have been known to reach an age of 450 years or more. The Wye Oak in Wye Mills, Maryland was estimated to be over 450 years old when it finally fell in a thunderstorm in 2002. The Great White Oak in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, estimated to have been over 600 years old when it died in 2016. The Mingo Oak was the tallest known white oak at 44.2 m (145 ft) before it was felled in 1938. Despite its name, the bark is usually light gray rather than white, and it is in the bark that its many beneficial herbal qualities can be found.

Although called a White Oak, it is very unusual to find an individual specimen with white bark; the usual color is a light gray. The name comes from the color of the finished wood. In the forest it can reach a magnificent height and in the open it develops into a massive broad-topped tree with large branches striking out at wide angles. Historically used to remedy a long list of conditions, this ingredient is mainly added to washes, baths, teas, tinctures, and other infusions. White oak bark may benefit both human hair and skin. Many herbs are well known, but White Oak is one that also may be said to be famous: its wood was used to build the hull of the USS Constitution in 1797, commissioned by George Washington. It’s said that the ship’s hull, which consisted of three layers, had both an outer and inner horizontal layer that were constructed from White Oak. And people still use this wood for construction today, as it’s a popular feature in many homes, as well as furniture. More recently, people have been using the wood to help create something entirely different: bourbon. The wood from White Oaks is known to assist bourbon in attaining its amber hue and rich flavor. This is why the barrels that people let their bourbon age in are usually constructed from White Oak. However, it is the human constitution that can reap many benefits from this venerable tree today, from relieving diarrhea to shrinking varicose veins to alleviating symptoms of the common cold.

This tree has been a staple in this area for centuries and continues to thrive in many regions. In the US, the White Oak tree can be found growing from Minnesota to Maine and continues to be found in states as far south as Florida. People have been using the fruit from White Oaks in North America for just as long. Native Americans were known to use the acorns by leaching the nut meat to remove the tannins and then grinding it into flour for cooking. The White Oak is holding the title of state tree for not just one or two states, but three: Illinois, Connecticut, and Maryland all claim this tree as their state tree.

In Illinois, you won’t be able to visit a county that doesn’t have at least one white oak tree in its borders. They declared it their state tree in 1973, after creating a special poll for the title and having 900,000 school-aged children vote on the matter.

Maryland is another state that takes pride in the white oaks in their area. They designated the tree as their state tree in 1941, mostly due to having one of the oldest white oak trees in the nation within their state. They named it the Wye Oak, and it was estimated to be nearly 500 years old.

Connecticut is the third state to have a white oak as its state tree, though they chose to have one specific tree as their symbol. This white oak tree is called the Charter Oak, which is said to have been over 500 years old when it was found in the 1600s. It fell in the mid-1800s. The tree is even featured on their state quarter.

White Oak bark might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of herbs, but it actually has several key health benefits. Also found in red wine, tea, and cocoa, these naturally occurring polyphenols are what produce specific properties. You can use it to help with varicose veins, for diarrhea and digestion, and for skin and hair issues. The part of White Oak typically harvested for health benefits is the inner bark and galls. A gall is a growth that occurs most often on twigs, small branches, and new shoots. They form when something (often a wasp laying eggs) irritates part of the tree and stimulates plants cells to grow. White Oak bark is well known as an astringent herb, which means it can tighten and tone tissues in your body. This astrigency comes mainly from the presence of plant compounds known as tannins (between 10 and 20%). White Oak bark can be dried and ground into a powder for topical and oral use, and it has been used for medicinal purposes throughout history. Topical applications are thought to suppress inflammation and soothe itchy skin, while White Oak bark tea is used to help treat diarrhea, the common cold, sore throats, bronchitis, loss of appetite, and arthritis. A variety of naturally occurring compounds in White Oak bark, especially tannins, are thought to be responsible for its claimed medicinal properties. Interestingly, the high tannin content of certain wines is typically a result of aging wine in White Oak barrels.

White Oak has a long history of usage for a variety of health conditions. It was listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia up to 1916 for its astringent and antiseptic properties. It is approved as a diarrhea treatment by the German Commission E, and it is on the GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) list for both topical and oral applications. It was being used by Native Americans as a remedy for many conditions. These benefits include acting as an astringent, antiseptic and an anti-inflammatory. North American settlers in turn learned from the Native Americans how to use the herb to treat illnesses, wounds and other physical problems. In addition to the bark, the acorns of the tree have been used as food and also to make a tea or coffee substitute which had the added benefit of controlling bowel problems. As an antiseptic, White Oak can control infections inside and outside the body due again to the action of the tannins. These bind with proteins in the tissues of the body and thus keep out harmful bacteria. Bladder infections, venereal diseases, vaginal infections and dysentery have been known to improve with the use of White Oak in the form of a tincture or tea, as well as in capsules of the powdered bark. On the surface of the body, skin infections may be helped by adding the bark to bath water or by applying an infusion or extract to the problem area. Some other beneficial qualities of White Oak include its action as a diuretic, which can improve bladder health and help get rid of kidney stones and gallstones. There has also been found to be an anthelmintic quality to this herb. This makes it effective against parasitic worms such as pinworms which can invade the intestinal tract. In the treatment of upper respiratory infections, due to the saponins it contains, it can act as an expectorant to help get rid of phlegm and mucous. However, it is the human constitution that can reap many benefits from this venerable tree today, from relieving diarrhea to shrinking varicose veins to alleviating symptoms of the common cold. It also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and can help to stop bleeding. As a diuretic and tonic, White Oak bark can help to eliminate toxins from the urinary tract to prevent infection. It’s also used to clear colds, flu and asthma. Your scalp has thousands of tiny hair follicles, all of which require nourishment. The follicles themselves are connected to blood, gland, and muscle cells, which need various vitamins and minerals to function optimally. Although the tannins in White Oak bark offer a wide spectrum of benefits, this herbal remedy also contains vitamin B12, potassium, iron, and other beneficial nutrients, all of which may improve the look of healthy hair.

It’s not always feasible or practical to spend more time outdoors, especially in facilities like schools, hospitals, daycare facilities, and workplaces. Fortunately, we can take steps to minimize exposure to indoor toxins by choosing healthier, more sustainable products and building materials. Not only are they better for the environment, but some natural materials and products are proven to have physiological and psychological benefits for humans when brought indoors. According to many authoritative studies, exposure to wood products indoors creates similar health benefits to those created by spending time in nature. Incorporating natural materials such as real wood cladding and flooring into a built environment helps to reduce blood pressure, heart rates, and stress levels, whilst improving well being, creativity, cognitive abilities, and the air we breathe. Wood products within a room have been shown to improve indoor air quality by moderating humidity. This effect occurs due to wood absorbing and releasing moisture in order to maintain equilibrium with the surrounding air, known as the equilibrium moisture content. Wood, therefore, absorbs moisture from the air in humid conditions and releases moisture in dry conditions. Residents in aged care facilities interact more with each other when surrounded by wood. Students in classrooms that feature more wood have lower heart rates and stress responses than students in classrooms featuring plastic and metal. Two out of three workers prefer offices with wooden chairs, desks, and blinds over the same office with those items made from plastic.
Students in classrooms that feature more wood have lower heart rates and stress responses than students in classrooms featuring plastic and metal. The public and big investors are urging the government to take action to combat climate change; while the spreading of green building certifications promotes sustainable development and building upgrades. Employers who are concerned with enhancing the well-being of their employees are incorporating strategies to enhance indoor environmental quality. A growing body of research documents the benefits of green buildings to health and productivity, particularly those using wood construction or finishing. Corporate sustainability approaches tie environmental and human resource priorities more closely together. “An increasing body of research is beginning to show that being surrounded by wood at home, work or school has positive effects on the body, the brain, and the environment and can even shorten hospital stays through reduced recovery times".

The best proof of the human and organizational benefits of wood is based upon the biophilic properties of wood. Biophilia is the term coined by the Harvard naturalist Dr. Edward O. Wilson to describe what he saw as humanity’s “innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes”, and to be drawn toward nature, to feel an affinity for it, a love, a craving. When people come into contact with nature, their neural, physiological, and psychological responses contribute to lower tension, lower blood pressure, more relaxation, positive moods, and increased focus. Biophilic design incorporates natural elements into the construction of buildings and their interiors. Wood is one of the few natural resources that can accomplish four important goals simultaneously: reduced carbon emissions; enhanced resilience in the life cycle of a building; improved well-being for the occupants; and increased organizational benefits from having safer, happier, and more efficient workers.

As White Oak enhances the level of shine to your hair, white oak bark will also actively condition your locks and scalp. When applied on a regular basis, it can improve the overall appearance, feel, and manageability of your hair. To ensure the best possible results, incorporate a quality shampoo and conditioner into your routine, in addition to key treatments.

Hair Strength:

Brittle strands are a sign that your hair is not as healthy as it could be. This is where White Oak bark comes into play, helping you not only improve the health and strength of each strand but also the follicle. In addition, the combination of the tannins and resins found in the bark itself has potent astringent properties. Applying it directly to your hair can result in fuller looking hair.

Shinier Hair:

If you suffer from dry, dull hair, you know how frustrating it can be especially in terms of breakage. On a daily basis, your hair is exposed to a number of stressors. In order to remain healthy, it needs to be cared for. By providing your hair with this level of support you can ensure that your hair is as shiny and healthy as possible.

White Oak bark is also often recommended when aiming to take the coarseness out of hair. This is mainly true for graying or silver hair. That is why for optimal hair health, be sure to include a hair serum into your daily routine.

Scalp Health:

Other topical benefits of White Oak bark include an ability to soothe your scalp and help with oily hair. As an astringent, oak bark can help to cleanse your scalp and dry up excess oil. It can also be made into a tea and used as a rinse for dandruff. Because White Oak can be drying, you may not want to use it if you have an extremely dry scalp or skin. Or you can combine it with another ingredient that will moisturize your scalp.

Flaky Scalp:

White Oak bark is known to offer soothing properties, potentially benefiting those suffering from a dry, flaky scalp. When applied topically, it can help target problematic skin including the skin found on your scalp. Often studied because of its potential impact on eczema and other dermal problems, White Oak bark may help reduce inflammatory symptoms of the scalp.

In terms of a potential infection, White Oak bark’s tannin influences its antiseptic property. This means that it may help actively prevent and fight the build-up of bacteria. Medical professionals often recommend White Oak bark for various conditions based on this beneficial effect.

Skin Care:

White Oak bark can also be used for skin issues like eczema and cuts, burns, and bruises. It has been historically used for wounds because it's a styptic herb, meaning it can stop bleeding. Oak bark also acts as an antiseptic to protect wounds, and the tannins present in it have antibacterial properties.

Skin Irritations:

Oak bark may contain up to 20% tannins depending on the type and time of harvesting. Tannins act as astringents, or agents that bind to proteins in the skin to constrict body tissues, therefore tightening pores and drying out irritated areas. In particular, the tannins in White Oak bark have been shown to inhibit the release of inflammatory compounds. They may also exhibit antibacterial properties by binding with proteins involved in bacterial growth. These specific properties of tannins are responsible for the possible topical uses of White Oak bark in treating skin irritation and wounds.

Natural Astringent:

White Oak bark has astringent properties because of the high level of tannins present in its bark. Astringents work by constricting or shrinking the body’s tissues on the inside and the outside. Natural astringents like White Oak bark have a variety of therapeutic benefits. White Oak perform some useful external functions and can help limit bleeding from the skin as well as other skin complaints like burns, bruises, wrinkles, and eczema. Its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties are also excellent for the skin.

Astringents help cleanse the skin while drying out oil. Applying White Oak bark helps better control the amount of oil that is on your hair and scalp, supporting a more optimal balance. This is particularly beneficial for athletes who are looking for a quick and efficient solution following their workout, as white oak bark can effectively remove excess oils from the skin and scalp. In fact, natural astringents benefit a wide range of people, including those who have a naturally oily scalp, those who suffer from an itchy scalp, or those who sweat a lot.

Antiseptic:

The tannin content of the White Oak bark is also responsible for its antiseptic properties which can help to prevent and treat both internal and external infections. The tannins bind with the proteins present in the tissues which help to stave off harmful pathogens and bacteria. White Oak bark has been effectively used against urinary tract infections, dysentery, and vaginal infections. To treat any internal problems, you can take white oak bark supplements in capsule, tincture or tea form.

Skin Infections:

White Oak bark can also be used externally to protect against skin infections and to help treat a number of skin issues. It has been successfully used to treat poison ivy and to soothe the pain and inflammation from bee stings and bug bites.

When applied to the skin, it may also help speed up the healing process from minor wounds, cuts, scrapes, and burns. It can even be a helpful natural remedy for mouth ulcers and herpes. You can apply it directly to your skin or make a cold compress with White Oak bark tea or liquid extract. An alternative is to add a cupful of dried bark to your bathtub and letting your skin soak it up.

Varicose Veins:

Because of its ability to tighten and tone, White Oak bark has often been used for its benefits for varicose veins. Varicose veins are twisted and swollen veins that usually show up in the legs. They can occur because of increased blood pressure and weak or damaged vein walls or valves. There's an increased risk of developing varicose veins as you get older and during pregnancy (especially if you have had multiple births). Hemorrhoids, or swollen veins around the anal area, are sometimes treated by bathing in water mixed with White Oak bark powder to dry out sores.

White Oak bark has a toning and anti-inflammatory effect when taken internally that can help veins to contract. You can try it for yourself in this vascular toning tea. 

Aids in Dental Care:

In the days before dentistry, the Native Americans used white oak bark to help treat oral infections and other dental issues like gingivitis and toothache. The bark consists of antibacterial and antiseptic properties which can help prevent and treat oral infections as well as being an astringent that will help oral sores to heal. You can make a natural mouthwash by boiling up a cup of White Oak bark tea and allowing it to cool.

Before toothpaste came into wide use, many people used White Oak bark to keep their mouths healthy. This is based on its ability to target oral infections, toothaches, gingivitis, and oral sores. Plus, you can make a tea from the bark or its extract and use it as an all-natural, organic mouthwash. The astringent and antimicrobial properties of White Oak bark make it great for natural oral health. White Oak bark is especially helpful for sore or bleeding gums and infections in the mouth.

Besides mouthwash, you can also use White Oak bark to make a gargle for a sore throat. You can do this by simmering the bark in water for about 20 minutes, straining, and letting it cool to room temperature. Gargle or drink a few cups as a tea.

Kills Bacterial Infections:

Oak bark is also used for its astringent and antibacterial properties for wounds, irritated gums and teeth, and burns at risk of infection. It may be gargled, drunk, or applied topically.

One test-tube study found that an ointment consisting of White Oak bark and other extracts was effective against drug-resistant bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus. However, it cannot be determined whether oak bark or one of the other extracts was responsible for these antibacterial effects. Thus, more extensive research is needed to understand the safety and effectiveness of oak bark.

While the use of White Oak bark in soothing skin irritation may be widespread, research on its use for this purpose is scarce. In some instances, White Oak bark may even aggravate irritation, especially when used on broken skin.

Respiratory Health:

White Oak bark can help to treat infections of the respiratory tract. Its saponin content means that it might have expectorant properties suitable for getting rid of mucus and phlegm from the respiratory system. Tea made from the herb is often used to treat coughs, colds, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions.

Improves Digestive Health:

In addition to its topical applications, White Oak bark is thought to provide healing benefits when ingested. White Oak bark is also thought to be effective against certain parasites and can tone tissues in your digestive tract.

Diarrhea:

Another frequent and traditional use for white oak bark is to ease diarrhea. The tannins present in White Oak bark help to strengthen intestinal lining and help the body transition from watery stools to normal. White Oak bark tea, in particular, is used to help treat diarrhea because of its antibacterial properties.

A test-tube study done on a related White Oak found that a bark extract showed action against certain bacteria (including E. coli) that can cause upset stomach and diarrhea.  Tannin compounds may also strengthen the intestinal lining and prevent watery stools. White Oak bark is even approved by the German Commission E for the treatment of diarrhea.

Furthermore, research in humans supports the use of tannins to treat diarrhea.

One study in 60 children with acute diarrhea found that those who received a supplement with tannins along with a rehydration regimen had significantly fewer stools after 24 hours, compared with their baseline. However, there was not a significant difference in the median duration of diarrhea after treatment between those who received the supplement and rehydration, compared with those who just received rehydration.

While these results are interesting, no studies have specifically focused on the compounds in White Oak bark. Thus, it’s unclear if the long-term use of oak bark tea and other products is safe and effective at treating diarrhea.

Kidney Health:

Diuretic:

White Oak bark also has natural diuretic properties meaning that it can help promote both the frequency of urination and the amount of urine you produce. Diuretics like white oak bark are a useful, natural alternative to pharmaceutical diuretic medication for those who would prefer to steer clear of pharmaceuticals. As a diuretic, White Oak bark can help improve the health of your bladder, help treat urinary tract infections and even eliminate kidney stones caused by the build-up of uric acid in the bloodstream.

Antioxidant:

Some of the compounds in White Oak bark, such as ellagitannins and roburins, may act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your body from underlying damage caused by reactive molecules called free radicals. The antioxidant activity of these compounds is thought to boost heart and liver health and possibly offer anticancer effects.

One study on ellagitannins from White Oak bark found that rats who received White Oak bark extract for 12 weeks while eating a high fat, high carb diet experienced improvements in heart and liver function, compared with rats who did not get the extract.

Another study in 75 adults with temporary liver failure found that those who took White Oak wood extract for 12 weeks had significantly better improvements in markers of liver function, compared with those who did not take the supplement.

However, the availability of ellagitannins and their byproducts in the body varies by individual. Thus, White Oak bark may not provide the same benefits for everyone. More extensive research is needed to understand the safety of the long-term use of White Oak bark products.

Traditional Uses of White Oak:

  • White Oak was often used medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes, who valued it especially for its antiseptic and astringent properties and used it in the treatment of many complaints.
  • White Oak bark’s main uses relate to treating inflammatory conditions, such as bleeding gums and hemorrhoids. It’s also used to treat acute diarrhea.
  • Inner bark consists of powerful antiseptic and astringent properties and is also expectorant and tonic.
  • Bark is boiled and the liquid drunk in the treatment of bleeding piles and diarrhea, intermittent fevers, coughs and colds, consumption, asthma, lost voice etc.
  • Bark has been chewed as a treatment for mouth sores.
  • Externally, it is used as a wash for skin eruptions, burns, rashes, bruises, ulcers etc. and as a vaginal douche.
  • It has also been used as a wash for muscular pains.
  • Bark is best collected in the spring.
  • Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of hemorrhages, chronic diarrhea, dysentery etc.
  • It reduces the risk of bacterial and viral infections.
  • It aids the ability of the body to fight against infections.
  • It reduces the risk of infectious diseases such as sexually transmitted diseases and other disorders.
  • It is used externally to get rid of skin disorders and insects bites.
  • Its antiseptic factors are beneficial to treat skin rashes, bruises and vaginal discharge.
  • It is used as an ointment to treat eczema, burns and cuts.
  • The herb is also used to treat oral issues like toothache and gingivitis.
  • Gargles are beneficial for bleeding gums and mouth ulcers.
  • Anti-inflammatory factor reduces the inflammation associated with cough and bronchitis.
  • Viral infections may cause damage to the lungs.
  • It fights for infections and protects the lungs from damage.
  • Extract is used to reduce the phlegm and treats cold.
  • It is effective for asthma and throat Infections.
  • It is helpful to prevent the development of initial symptoms of chilblains.
  • It helps to stop the internal and external bleeding.
  • It contracts the body tissues and restores their elasticity.
  • White Oak is good herbal for treatment for diarrhea and hemorrhoids.
  • This is used to treat Nose bleeding and vomiting.
  • It regulates the menstrual cycle. It eases the flow of blood in difficult menses.
  • It is helpful in varicose veins also.
  • It reduces the itching associated with genital problems.
  • This helps to regulate the kidney and bladder functions.
  • It reduces the risk of bladder infections and flushes out the kidney stones.
  • It prompts the urination and clears the passages.
  • Oils obtained from pressed acorns were used to alleviate pain in the joints.
  • It can also be applied topically in the form of a bath or compress to treat poison ivy rashes, bites, burns and minor wounds.
  • Piles can be treated by this herb. An equal amount of White Oak bark and lobelia seeds should be powdered and applied as an ointment on the bleeding piles which is painful condition.
  • Decoction of White Oak bark is used to relieve pain and bruises.
  • It treats effectively passive hemorrhages of lungs, uterus, bowels, especially after typhus.
  • Its bath is quite effective in strengthening skin and also tones flaccid structures of children and adults.
  • Powder of White Oak bark if applied continuously on scalp prevents hair loss and dandruff.
  • This herb lowers temperature in fever, decreases dryness and weakness due to fever.
  • It relieves bronchitis and associated symptoms like difficulty in breathing, chest pain, lassitude etc.
  • It is also used to treat signs and symptoms of inflammation like pain and swelling of skin, throat, mouth genitals and anal region.
  • White Oak bark is most often used as a tea, extract, or powder. It can be used internally or externally as a tea and made into a cold compress for wounds and skin irritation.
  • You can also make a decoction of White Oak bark and add it to a warm bath to soothe skin. Use a cooled decoction for a throat gargle, mouth wash, or hair/scalp rinse.

Culinary Uses of White Oak:

  • The bark from the white oak tree, known scientifically as Quercus alba, has been used to make medicine for centuries.
  • These days, it is still used to make herbal teas, tinctures and liquid extract for both internal and topical use.
  • A tea made from the bark is drunk to help boost digestive health, stimulate appetite and treat a range of respiratory issues including colds, coughs and bronchitis.
  • The herb is also used to treat oral issues like toothache and gingivitis.
  • It can also be applied topically in the form of a bath or compress to treat poison ivy rashes, bites, burns and minor wounds.
  • Make sure that you are familiar with the safety precautions and speak with your doctor if you are in any doubt about using the herb.
  • The acorns are much less bitter than the acorns of red oaks, but are small relative to most oaks. They can be eaten by humans but, if bitter, may need to have the tannins leached. They are also a valuable wildlife food, notably for turkeys, wood ducks, pheasants, grackles, jays, nuthatches, thrushes, woodpeckers, rabbits, squirrels, and deer. The white oak is the only known food plant of the Bucculatrix luteella and Bucculatrix ochrisuffusa caterpillars.
  • The young shoots of many eastern oak species are readily eaten by deer. Dried Oak leaves are also occasionally eaten by white-tailed deer in the fall or winter. Rabbits often browse twigs and can girdle stems.

Other Uses of White Oak:

  • The leaves of most species in this genus are more or less rich in tannins. A mulch of the leaves can be placed around vulnerable plants in order to repel slugs, snails, grubs etc. Fresh leaves should be used with caution, since these can utilize some of the nitrogen in the soil and this inhibit plant growth.
  • Oak galls are excrescences that are sometimes produced in great numbers on the tree and are caused by the activity of the larvae of different insects. The insects live inside these galls, obtaining their nutrient therein. When the insect pupates and leaves, the gall can be used as a rich source of tannin, that can also be used as a dyestuff.
  • When properly dried treated, the wood glues well, machines very well and accepts a variety of finishes One of the most important timbers in North America, it is used for cabinet making, furniture, panelling, flooring, construction, mine props, agricultural tools etc.
  • A dynamic accumulator gathering minerals or nutrients from the soil and storing them in a more bioavailable form - used as fertilizer or to improve mulch.
  • White Oak is potentially valuable for use in reforestation projects, and appears to have potential for use on other types of disturbed sites.
  • It has been planted on strip-mined lands in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and has exhibited good growth and survival on cast overburden and graded topsoil overlying mine spoils.
  • Leaves of most species in this genus are more or less rich in tannins.
  • Mulch of the leaves can be placed around vulnerable plants in order to repel slugs, snails, grubs etc.
  • Fresh leaves should be used with caution, since these can utilize some of the nitrogen in the soil and this inhibit plant growth.
  • Brown dye is obtained from the bark or from the galls; it does not require a mordant.
  • Yellow, chrome and gold can also be obtained if mordants are used.
  • Wood is strong, very heavy, hard, tough, strong, close grained, durable and is used for cabinet making, furniture, paneling, flooring, construction, mine props, agricultural tools etc.
  • It is highly valued for making the staves of barrels for storing wine and liquor.
  • Wood from the white oak is waterproof, so it’s used to make barrels for storing liquids.

Agroforestry Uses of White Oak:

  • White Oak is potentially valuable for use in reforestation projects, and appears to have potential for use on other types of disturbed sites.
  • It has been planted on strip-mined lands in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and has exhibited good growth and survival on cast overburden and graded topsoil overlying mine spoils.
  • It is well adapted to loamy and clayey spoils with a pH of 5.5 to 8.0.

Woodcraft: White Oak has tyloses that give the wood a closed cellular structure, making it water- and rot-resistant. Because of this characteristic, white oak is used by coopers to make wine and whiskey barrels as the wood resists leaking. It has also been used in construction, shipbuilding, agricultural implements, and in the interior finishing of houses. White Oak logs feature prominent medullary rays which produce a distinctive, decorative ray and fleck pattern when the wood is quarter sawn. Quarter sawn white oak was a signature wood used in mission style oak furniture by Gustav Stickley in the Craftsman style of the Arts and Crafts movement. White Oak is used extensively in Japanese martial arts for some weapons, such as the bokken and jo. It is valued for its density, strength, resiliency and relatively low chance of splintering if broken by impact, relative to the substantially cheaper Red Oak. USS Constitution is made of White Oak conferring additional resistance to cannon fire. Reconstructive wood replacement of White Oak parts comes from a special grove of Quercus alba known as the "Constitution Grove" at Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division.

Musical instruments: Deering Banjo Company have made several 5-string banjos using White Oak, including members of the Vega series, the White Lotus, and the limited edition 40th anniversary model. White Oak has a mellower timbre than more traditionally used maple, and yet still has enough power and projection to not require a metal tone ring.

Oak barrels: Barrels made of American White Oak are commonly used for Oak aging of wine, in which the wood is noted for imparting strong flavors. Also, by federal regulation, bourbon whiskey must be aged in charred new oak (generally understood to mean specifically American White Oak) barrels.

  • Cold Sores: Use White Oak Bark paste on the Cold Sores. It helps in contracting the tissues and as a result Swelling is reduced.
  • Ganglion: Apply White Oak Bark paste, made of White Oak Bark powder and lukewarm water over the affected area. Leave it for 30 minutes.

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