Oak

Oak trees are popular for their great height and majestic canopies that provide ample shade, but they also possess many medicinal qualities.

Quick Facts
General Information
  • Common name(s)English Oak
  • Scientific nameQuercus robur
  • Plant typeTree
  • Native regionNorth Africa/Middle East, Western Europe, Eastern or Central Europe
  • Main Economic UseMedicinal, Timber industry
Oak

Oak trees are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, and they have deep roots in English culture. They are a symbol of strength and survival, and their wood is still praised for its resilience. Different species of the Quercus genus originated in Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa, and they later evolved into different species. Oaks were widely planted in Europe for their appearance and shade and were later brought to North America from England around the 17th century

THE OAK TREE HAS PLAYED A CENTRAL ROLE IN ENGLISH CULTURE.

Oak trees have been historically linked to the gods Zeus, Jupiter, and Dagda, who were all gods of thunder and lighting. The Druids also supposedly worshiped the oak tree, regarding it as sacred. In English culture, a spray of oak was engraved on one side of sixpences and shillings, and the yule log was traditionally cut from oak. Additionally, in ancient Rome, emperors were presented with crowns of oak leaves during victory parades. Today, oak is highly valued in the timber industry, and also offers nutritional and medicinal value.

Medicinal and Nutritional Information

Quick Facts (Medicinal and Nutritional Information)
  • Medicinal actionAnti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Astringent
  • Key constituentsTannins
  • Ways to useCapsules, Tincture
  • Medicinal rating(2) Minorly useful plant
  • Safety rankingUse with caution

Health Benefits of Oak

Oak's traditional uses in herbalism include:

  • Stopping diarrhea
  • Relieving hemorrhoids
  • Alleviating sore throats

How It Works

Oak bark possesses many medicinal qualities that make it effective for treating illnesses. It is antidiarrheal, astringent, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory in nature. Traditionally, oak bark extract has been used to treat a number of maladies. The bark is comprised of 15 – 20% tannins. Growths on the tree produced by insects or fungi – called galls - contain even more tannins, up to 50%.

How to Consume Oak

Main preparations: Teas, tinctures

Oak is not popularly consumed, but it can be made into teas and tinctures to treat a number of ailments. Oak should not be consumed orally for more than a month straight.

Culinary Information

Oak saplings or leaves are rarely eaten directly, but its wood has found many culinary applications as a flavoring agent. Oak timber is used to make casks for storing and flavoring wine and certain spirits, like whiskey. Oak is also sometimes used in smoking fish and meats because of its unique aroma and flavor. The acorns from oak trees are sometimes roasted and eaten in some regions.

Other Uses

Oak timber is widely used to make architectural beams, furniture, and casks for wine and spirits. Traditionally, oak was used for shipbuilding and tanning leather because of its strength and high tannin content.

OAK TREE WOOD IS MAINLY USED FOR BUILDING FURNITURE AND ARCHITECTURAL BEAMS DUE TO ITS INCREDIBLE STRENGTH AND BEAUTIFUL APPEARANCE.

Buying

Quick Facts (Buying)
  • Where to buySpecialized health stores, Online herb stores

Oak trees and acorns are widely available at nurseries and online. Oak is most popularly sold as timber, but the dried leaves and bark extract can also be purchased for medicinal uses. Oak bark extract and supplements for treatment of various ailments can be found online and at some specialty nutrition shops.

Plant Biology

Classification

English Oak trees, or Quercus robur, are members of the Fagaceae family, the Fagoideae subfamily, and the Quercus genus, which they share with approximately 500 different species. They are deciduous and can grow up to 150 ft (50 m) in height. They have short-stalked, lobed leaves and produce acorns. Oak trees are characterized by their height, large canopies, and broad, round crown. Oaks make great trees for yards that provide ample shade.

Varieties and Subspecies of Oak

Since oak trees have been found many different important uses, several cultivars have been developed through selective breeding in order to maximize its qualities. Quercus robur 'Concordia' and 'Purpurea' are usually the ones preferred for ornamental purposes, while the 'Fastigiata' or 'Cypress Oak' cultivar is the most widely used in the timber industry due to its larger size.

MANY PEOPLE KNOW OAKS AS THE BEAUTIFUL, TALL TREES THAT PROVIDE SHADE AND A PRETTY LANDSCAPE.

Growing

Quick Facts (Growing)
  • Life cyclePerennial
  • Light requirementsFull sun
  • Growing habitatTemperate climates
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones5a (From −28.9 °C (−20 °F) to −26.1 °C (−15 °F)), 5b (From −26.1 °C (−15 °F) to −23.3 °C (−10 °F)), 6a (From −23.3 °C (−10 °F) to −20.6 °C (−5 °F)), 6b (From −20.6 °C (−5 °F) to −17.8 °C (0 °F)), 7a (From −17.8 °C (0 °F) to −15 °C (5 °F)), 7b (From −15 °C (5 °F) to −12.2 °C (10 °F)), 8a (From −12.2 °C (10 °F) to −9.4 °C (15 °F)), 8b (From −9.4 °C (15 °F) to −6.7 °C (20 °F))
  • Potential diseasesMildew

Oak trees are considered fairly low maintenance to grow. They grow from acorns and need full sun, medium water, well-drained soil, and room to grow, given their potential height. It is tolerant of drought and both alkaline and acidic soil. Powdery mildew may be a concern in humid areas. Trees should be regularly fertilized and watered to be kept in top shape and avoid unnecessary stress on the plant, which will also deter pests like boring insects.

Additional Information

Quick Facts (Additional Information)
  • Other usesTimber

Economic Data

Oak produces some of the strongest wood, so it is highly valued in the timber industry. Oak wood is also popularly used to make casks for wine and other spirits for storage and flavoring. Oak tree wood takes up to 150 years before it is ready to use.


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