Kermes oak properties

Kermes oak characteristics

Fruits and leaves of kermes oak
Fruits and leaves of kermes oak (Quercus coccifera)

Common Noun: Kermes oak

Scientific Noun: Quercus coccifera L.

Family: Beech family – Fagaceae

Habitat: In scrubs and dry places

Description of Kermes oak

Perennial shrub of the beech family – Fagaceae – till 2 meters tall. Stems downy.

Undivided leaves a bit toothed, dark green, spiny edge. Young leaves show lighter green, white hairy beneath.

The fruit is an acorn with scales in its cup, ripening two years after.

Kermes oak galls to produce red dye

Kermes oak red galls
Kermes oak red galls

It is sometimes worth noting the presence of some wood like balls in some of the branches.

They are the galls, produced by the same shrub so as the insects lay the eggs into them. By this method, the plant preserves its own branches.

These excrescences are profited to produce red dye.

Picking and storing Kermes oak

Bark should be picked up in Spring, from trees about 15 or 20 years old. Acorns at the end of Summer or at the beginning of Autumn.

Composition: Active components of Kermes oak

  • Tannins (cuercitanic, elagic and galic acids)
  • Fat
  • Starches
  • Sugars, etc.

Properties of kermes oak

illustration of kermes oak
Drawing of a detail of the plant with the fruits. © Daniel Martínez Bou

Kermes oak as a Medicinal Plant

Internal use  astringent remedies with kermes oak

It is one of the best astringents, such as the rest of the trees in its genus – Quercus (oaks)

  • Astringent: We should use the bark of the young trees, although the leaves and galls may be used, too. All these parts have astringent properties. It can be used for urinary incontinence.
  • Diarrhea: Infusion for 10 minutes of 10 gr. of bark in half a litter of water. We should drink a glass after each one of the three daily.
  •  Hemorrhoids: Use the same infusion.
  •  Hemorrhages of any kind which specially affect to women: metritis (Uterus inflammation) uterine fibromas, leucorrhoea and blennorrhea. Decoction of some dry leaves in a litter of water. Three glasses a day.

External use preparations with kermes oak

Since the tannins contained in this plants are very irritating to the stomach, specially the cuercitanic acid, you should rather make an external use of it.

Antiseptic properties of kermes oak 

The decoction seen above can be used for mouthwashes against:

  • Pyorrhoea and gingivitis.
  • To treat hemorrhoids and anal fissures make a 35 minutes decoction of a big handful of dry bark.
  • This decoction can also be used to treat female illness as leucorrhoea and blennorrhagia.
  •  Chilblains: Use the same decoction.

Anti-inflammatory uses of kermes oak

We should apply a compress soaked with the juice extracted from the smashed acorns to diminish inflammation.

Other uses for kermes oak

Edible food : Its fruits (acorns) are good for feeding pigs.

They are also eatable for human beings, in spite of their bitter and sour taste.

punto rojo More information about medicinal plants.

This article was endorsed by Vicente Martínez Centelles - Founder of the web and director. Teacher of natural sciences, expert in plants, natural remedies and botanical photography.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

5 February, 2021

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