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Most parts of the tree are used medicinally and its healing effects are many and varied.
The distilled water of the oak leaf bud can be taken internally or used externally to relieve minor inflammations. Bruised oak leaves applied externally to wounds and haemorrhoids will also help reduce and ease inflammation.
The bark of the tree is the part most used in medicine being tonic, astringent and antiseptic. As with other astringents it is recommended for use in agues and haemorrhages.
The medicinal qualities of the bark can be extracted both by water and by spirit. As a decoction it has a strong astringent and bitter taste with a slightly aromatic odour. To make it, collect some bark (best in the spring April or May) from some young trees and dry it in the sun before chopping it. Use 1 oz. of bark in a quart of water and boil it down to a pint. It can then be taken in a wineglass measure or dose, and used as a gargle mouthwash for chronic sore throats, or applied locally to bleeding gums and piles. Also used in hot baths for chilblains and frostbite or as a hot compress for inflamed glands, hernias and haemorrhoids. A stronger decoction taken by the spoonful is useful in chronic diarrhoea and dysentery.
Oak bark when finely ground and powdered makes a remedial snuff that can be inhaled to arrest nosebleeds. It has also proved beneficial in the early stages of consumption. Sprinkled onto bed sheets it will help to alleviate bedsores. A pinch of powered oak bark mixed with honey and taken in the mornings will help and aid ladies with menstrual problems.
Ground and powdered acorns taken with water was considered a useful tonic for diarrhoea, and a decoction of acorns and oak bark made with milk, was used as an antidote to poisonous herbs and medicines. In old times, the thin skin of the acorn was used to cover open cuts or wounds, and ground and powdered acorns taken in wine was considered a good diuretic.
The acorns can be used for a surrogate coffee and were even used to bake bread (also during the famine).
Oak is used as a Bach Flower Remedy to treat despair and despondency.