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Herb Spotlight - Oatstraw

Oatstraw (Avena Sativa)

Family: Poaceae

Part Used: Aerial Parts

Flavor/Aroma: Sweet

Energetics: Neutral; Moistening


Herbal Actions: 

Demulcent, Alterative, Nutritive Tonic, Nervine5, Antispasmodic, Stimulent, Diuretic, Thymoleptic, Relaxant, Carminative6  

Overview:

Oatstraw is one of the oldest plant foods we have record of consuming. It is packed with nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and has been modified to fit our ever-changing dietary demands for centuries. Oatstraw is the base of most modern-day carbohydrates we consume, but there are varieties that researched has shown to provide a variety of medicinal benefits. From cognitive wellness, to blood sugar regulation, Oats are an herbal ally not to be missed.

Botany:

Oatstraw grows as an annual plant with hollow stems and solid joints, and in a grass like structure. Some species produce pendualing pods, also referred to as Milky Oat tops, and are best harvested in the beginning of the summer when they are young and filled with a nutritive milky latex. The straw portion of the plant is best harvested before or after the oat top is expressed, ensuring the energy has moved into the stalk rather than the fruit of the herb.5

Cultivation and Harvesting:

Oatstraw is widely used as a cover crop in the agricultural industry and by homesteaders alike due to its soil rejuvenating properties- protecting cultivated land by allowing it to rest through crop rotation and to replenish nutrients for future growth. The roots of the Oat plant are particularly adept at bioaccumulating calcium and magnesium, key nutrients to consider when focusing on soil health. Oat straw is native to the Meditterantien regions of the world, and is easily grown in a variety of climates and habitats.6

Southern Oregon Cultivation:

Oat straw makes a simple, yet potent addition to any apothecary garden; or just as a way to rest and reset your soil. Simply spreading and tampering down a few grains into most soil types will produce stalks of this nutritive plant medicine. The milky oat tops produced in the late spring and early summer make a delicious mid-afternoon snack, cooling the body and the nerves.

History and Folklore:

Oats have been around for centuries as a whole plant food and in medicinal preparations. Some of the first recorded meals, such as gruels and porridges, were based around the stripping and cooking of this plant. Baths of Oat were taken to soothe rashes, burns, and aching muscles.

American Native Uses:Oat was commonly used for the base of many meals to increase the vitality and stamina of those that consumed them regularly. It was also used to remedy mental and physical exhaustion, insomnia, digestive upset, and to help regulate a balanced blood sugar level.5

Modern Applications:

There is research to substantiate claims that Oat straw is a supportive tool in tobacco and alcohol cessation, breaking unhealthy habits, and can assist in convalescence.2 It is indicated to support shingles, herpes, multiple sclerosis, and to strengthen an overall weakened constitution. Topically it is used to support a variety of skin irritations, itching from bug bites, blisters, and inflammation. It is also a nutritious food source, containing high levels by weight of iron, calcium, zinc, and manganese. There is also evidence to support the use of Oat straw for impotence and sexual dysfunction, including vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse. By releasing luteinizing hormone from the brain, Oat can contribute significantly to the health of the reproductive system.1,4,5

Uses and Preparations:

Dried Herb Tea Preparation: 

1 Tablespoon per cup of warm water.

Using a reusable tea bag or tea ball, immerse the loose dried herbs into boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered, in order to release the maximum amount of herbal goodness. Some herbal tea can carry a strong flavor. We recommend organic honey as a sweetener which preserves the beneficial herbal compounds. 

Tincture: 

2-4 mL up to 4 times per day.

Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.  

Herbal Soak:

Around 100 grams of dried Oats per bath.

Dosage:

It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended dosages are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the dosage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.  

Precautions:

We recommend consulting with your practitioner if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, or if you are using any other medications. Do not use if you have grain intolerances, or consult with you health care professional before using this herb.

References:

  1. Oats (n.d.). Retrieved from http://cms.herbalgram.org/healthyingredients/Oat.html 
  2. Avena. Avena Sativa. (n.d). www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/ellingwood/avena.html 
  3. Rose, Kiva. (January 2017). Sweet Cream: The Medicine of Milky Oats. www.bearmedicineherbals.com/sweet-cream-the-medicine-of-milky-oats.html 
  4. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/Oatstraw.html 
  5. Oats. Avena sativa. (n.d.). www.herbrally.com/monographs/oats
  6. Avena sativa. (n.d). www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/avena.html 

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.