American Oak, Chêne Blanc, Chêne Blanc d’Amérique, Écorce de Chêne, Écorce de Chêne Blanc, North American White Oak, Quercus alba, Quercus Cortex, Stave Oak, Tanner’s Bark, Tanner’s Oak, White Oak, White Oak Bark.


Overview Information

White oak is a tree. The bark is used to make medicine.

White oak bark is used as a tea for arthritis, diarrhea, colds, fever, cough, and bronchitis; for stimulating appetite; and for improving digestion.

Some people apply oak bark directly to the skin in a compress or add it to bath water for pain and swelling (inflammation) of the skin, mouth, throat, genitals, and anal region; and for red itchy skin due to cold exposure (chilblains).

How does it work?

The bark of white oak contains tannins, which might help treat diarrhea and inflammation.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Colds.
  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Improving digestion.
  • Arthritis.
  • Pain and swelling (inflammation) of the skin, mouth, throat, genitals, and anal region.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of white oak for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

White oak bark is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth for 3-4 days.

White oak bark is also POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when applied directly to unbroken skin for up to 2-3 weeks. When applied to damaged skin or when taken for longer than 2-3 weeks, white oak bark is LIKELY UNSAFE.

Some people might be allergic to the pollen of white oak.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of oak bark during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Heart conditions: If you have a heart problem don’t use oak bark.

Skin conditions including eczema or large areas of skin damage: Don’t take oak bark baths if you have one of these conditions.

A nerve condition that leads to overly tight muscles (hypertonia): Don’t take oak bark baths if you have this condition.

Fever or infection: Don’t take oak bark baths if you have one of these conditions.

Kidney problems: There is concern that using oak bark might make kidney problems worse. Avoid use.

Liver problems: There is concern that using oak bark might make liver problems worse. Avoid use.



We currently have no information for WHITE OAK Interactions.



The appropriate dose of white oak depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for white oak. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


  • McCune, L. M. and Johns, T. Antioxidant activity in medicinal plants associated with the symptoms of diabetes mellitus used by the indigenous peoples of the North American boreal forest. J Ethnopharmacol 2002;82(2-3):197-205. View abstract.
  • Cadahía E, Varea S, Muñoz L, Fernández De Simón B, García-Vallejo MC. Evolution of ellagitannins in Spanish, French, and American oak woods during natural seasoning and toasting. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Aug;49(8):3677-84. View abstract.
  • Glabasnia, A. and Hofmann, T. Sensory-directed identification of taste-active ellagitannins in American (Quercus alba L.) and European oak wood (Quercus robur L.) and quantitative analysis in bourbon whiskey and oak-matured red wines. J Agric.Food Chem 5-3-2006;54(9):3380-3390. View abstract.
  • Loria, R. C., Wilson, P., and Wedner, H. J. Identification of potential allergens in white oak (Quercus alba) pollen by immunoblotting. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1989;84(1):9-18. View abstract.
  • Masson G, Guichard E, Fournier N, Puech J. L. Stereoisomers of beta-methyl-y-octalactone. II. Contents in the wood of French (Quercus petraea) and American (Quercus alba) oaks. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 1995, 46, 424-428.
  • Prida A, Puech JL. Influence of geographical origin and botanical species on the content of extractives in American, French, and East European oak woods. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Oct 18;54(21):8115-26. View abstract.
  • Tyler VE, Brady LR, Robbers JB. Pharmacognosy. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lea and Fibiger, 1981.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
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