Thursday, June 18, 2015

Survival Medicine: Oak Bark Astringent

Oaks (Quercus)

Oak trees are found though out the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, making them a very common site on many landscapes in the US. It is a highly valued wood for fireplaces but it also has many more uses for the survivalist.

 Identifying The Plant

The National Audubon Society states in their Field Guide to California that, Oaks are "highly variable in shape, oak leaves may be deeply lobed or unlobed, toothed or untoothed; different shapes sometimes occur on a single tree. Of the species found in California, all but four are evergreen. Evergreen oaks are somewhat drought-tolerant and usually have rather small leaves. Oak flowers are minute, greenish, simple in structure, and unisexual. Flowers of both sexes occur on the same tree. Males are clustered into slender pendulous spikes called catkins, which produce copious pollen. Females occur singly or in short spikes at leaf axils; after fertilization, each tiny pistil develops withing one or two years into an acorn with a scaly cap."

The oaks of the mid-west are not evergreen. They usually have bigger leaves that change brilliant colors in the fall and fall off completely for the winter.


The acorns are highly edible but must be leached of the tannons before consumption occurs. This involves leaching the ground up interior of the acorn for at least three days in water that is being flushed and replenished or is running constantly.

Acorn Tea is very yummy. See my past article on that: Acorn Tea: Warms the Body and Soul 


One of my biggest worries when stuff hits the fan is the lack of anti-biotics or first aid cream to treat abrasions and combat infection. Never fear though, oak bark makes an extremely effective antiseptic and anti-fungal rinse. Simply boil a handful of the bark in water and then put the whole mixture into a mason jar and let it sit for two weeks. After the two weeks strain out the remaining bark. Store the mixture in a mason jar. It will not go bad. Do not put this mixture in your eyes unless it is highly watered down. You can gargle it for toothaches and mouth sores.

Want to dive deeper? Off the Grid News has a great article about the many uses of oak it's bark, leaves and acorns. Check it out at:

 Attention Use At Your Own Risk I am not medically trained in anyway. I am simply a student. I read and experiment with ancient herbal techniques. I am simply passing on the knowledge I have gained from studding many texts on the subject and I am in no way responsible for anything you do with this information. For a listing on the books that I have compiled knowledge from visit:!saras-survival-stuff/c1mzf

For this article I used these resources the most:
Alden, Peter. National Audubon Society Field Guide to California. New York: Knopf, 1998. Print.
“The Natural Healing Power Of Oak Trees And Acorns.” Off The Grid News. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Jun. 2015. <> 

Simillar Articles:

Bee Pollen, The World's Only Super Food 
Peppermint: Not Just a Christmas Candy 
Yarrow: A Medicinal Essential 
Burdock: Lots of Vitamins and Medicinally Valuable 
Acorn Tea: Warms the Body and Soul
Curly Doc
Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit:
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