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The Oak in Autumn | Die Eiche im Herbst

Oak leaves in autumn

According to Erwin Thoma and Julia Gruber's book Bäume für die Seele, oak trees symbolize longevity, power and masculinity. The Old Celtic word for Druids is often translated as "Oakmen." Oaks and their mistletoe play a central role in their healing arts. In folk medicine, the bark and leaves of the oak are valued because of the tannins and bitterness. Together they are anti-inflammatory and hemostatic.

Thoma and Gruber also discuss the use of oak; due to its strength and hardiness, it is best used for flooring and furniture construction. However, it is mostly overused these days. Most furniture does not require the hardiness of oak and another wood would not only suit just fine but look lighter, more colorful, or smell more invigorating.

If you're interested in using elements of the oak tree in your kitchen, acorns should be well boiled to reduce the bitterness, then roasted and grated. They can serve as a coffee substitute or as an addition to bread flour.

Below is a recipe for an Oak Bark Hip Bath recommended by Thoma and Gruber:

  • Boil 100 grams of bark with one liter of water, simmer for ten minutes, then strain for one day and soak.

  • For a bath, fill the decoction with warm water in a plastic pan, place in and allow to soak in for 15 minutes.

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