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Contents of the bark
Oak bark is grey-brown in colour and distinctly gnarled and furrowed. The bark is collected from the tree normally during April and May it being easier to strip at this time before the leaf buds open and its sap begins to flow again.
It contains some 15 - 20 per cent of tannin, and is used universally for tanning leather as well as making dyes. Tannins bind with protein of the tissues, thus making them impermeable to bacterial invasion and infection, while at the same time strengthening the tissues. (Galls are even higher in tannins than the bark.) Next to the tannins (phlobatannin, ellagitannins, gallic acid) it contains quercetin, calcium, iron, potassium and other substances (of the White Oak - quercus alba - it is said that it also contains the minerals manganese and zinc. It can be assumed that these minerals are also found in the quercus robur).
Oak bark provides not only great astringent properties, but anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties as well. Oak bark's astringent properties tighten tissues and strengthen blood vessels, making it ideal for treating diarrhea, hemorrhoids and varicose veins. The blood-clotting agents active in Oak bark are also helpful to cease nosebleeds. Oak bark has also been used to treat irritations caused by poor digestion, ulcers, strep throat and skin problems.
Except for the occasional upset stomach or constipation reported after drinking the tea, Oak bark is rarely associated with side effects. There are no known reasons to avoid Oak during pregnancy or breast-feeding, though Oak can cause constipation. It is safe for use in children and infants.
Acorns are extremely rich in starch and tannins. Because they contain a substantial proportion of carbohydrate and fat, they still are often collected in sacks and given to pigs. However, they must also be mixed with other vegetable food to counteract their binding properties.
The coffee made out of acorns is feeding, strengthening and has a tonic effect on the intestines. Too much of the coffee could lead to constipation because of the tannins they content.