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Oatstraw Benefits: Stress Reliever, Love Potion, Brain Booster, and More

Oatstraw benefits include nourishing, healing, and bringing balance and vitality. Here are 11 ways oatstraw heals, plus 8 ways to use it.

Oatstraw is an herb with many beneficial properties. (The Grow Network)

Oatstraw Benefits: Stress Reliever, Love Potion, Brain Booster, and More

Botanical Name: Avena sativa

Family: Poaceae

Other Common Names: Oat, common oat, cat grass, pet grass, oatgrass

Parts Used: Aerial parts

Energetics: Moist

Thermal Properties: Cooling

Actions: Anti-depressant, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, nervine (relaxing), nutritive, tonic

Taste: Salty

Plant Uses: Nervous system exhaustion, strengthen sexual potency/desire, restorative and strengthening to the whole body, mood lifter, clearer cognition, stress reducer

Plant Preparations: Nourishing herbal infusion, bath, poultice, sitz bath, foot soak, wash, hair rinse, vinegar infusion

Toxicities/Warnings: Possible gluten cross-contamination; potential danger for those with Celiac disease

Introduction to Oatstraw Benefits

Avena sativa is a plant with a long history of nourishing humanity. Even its name, Avena, means nourishment. Unsurprisingly, it also means “oats.” Sativa is a term used to denote a cultivated plant. Thus, Avena sativa is “cultivated oats.” It’s a variant of wild oats, Avena fatua. Fatua means “not good” or “foolish.” (This was possibly due to its tendency to infiltrate cultivated oat fields: “These dumb oats keep getting into our cultivated oats.”) Nevertheless, wild oats and cultivated oats can be used interchangeably.

Oats are a member of the grass family. They are believed to have originated in Northern Europe or the Near East, possibly in the Fertile Crescent. The ancient Romans used them as a horse feed, a use faithfully maintained to this day. They have been spread across the world, finding a great deal of job security as a feed for cows, chickens, and humans. They’ve even been used to control erosion on depleted soils.

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Besides its use as food, Avena has a long history as herbal medicine with a variety of uses. Oatstraw has been used since the Middle Ages as a restorative plant and to enhance mental capacities. The hulls were stuffed into mattresses and pillows as an aid to anxious and overworn people. And oats’ reputation as a sexual enhancer and vitality restorer are so ingrained in our language that we still have phrases like “feeling your oats” and “sowing your wild oats.”

We will be focusing specifically on the oat stalks in this herb profile. However, both the stalks and the grains have medicinal and nutritional applications.

11 Oatstraw Benefits

Oatstraw benefits include stress relief. (The Grow Network)

Image by Avi Chomotovski from Pixabay

  1. Whole Body Tonic: You’d be hard pressed to find an area of the body that oatstraw doesn’t strengthen and revitalize.1)Bone, Kerry, and Simon Mills. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier, 2013.
  2. Nervous System Tonic: Oatstraw soothes frazzled nerves, figuratively and literally.2)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.
  3. Skin Soother and Healer: The high mineral content and soothing nature of oatstraw make it an excellent tool for repairing and strengthening irritated, damaged skin.3)Hoffmann, David. Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies. London: Thorsons, 2002. 4)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.
  4. Tension Tamer and Energy Booster: If you feel overworked, overstressed, or just out of gas, oatstraw can help. It helps to lower your stress levels and restore depleted adrenals to get you up and moving.5)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.
  5. Amazing Nutritive and Rejuvenator: Oatstraw is an excellent source of bio-available nutrition that can support and bring new vigor to ailing body systems.6)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.
  6. Antidepressant: When used regularly, oatstraw infusions make an excellent mood lifter.7)Green, James. The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual. Crossing Press, 2011. 8)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. 9)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010.

    Oatstraw benefits include boosting romance! (The Grow Network)

    Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

  7. Modern Day Love Potion: Add a little more magic to your intimate times. Oatstraw helps to increase potency and pleasure for all.10)Malviya, Neelesh, Sanjay Jain, Vipin Bihari Gupta, and Savita Vyas. “Recent Studies on Aphrodisiac Herbs for the Management of Male Sexual Dysfunction—A Review.” Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica ñ Drug Research 68, no. 1 (2011): 3-8. Accessed February 19, 2019. http://ptfarm.pl/pub/File/Acta_Poloniae/2011/1/003.pdf. 11)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989. 12)Forêt, Rosalee De La. “Oats Monograph.” HerbMentor. Accessed February 20, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/oats/.
  8. Strengthen Bones, Hair, Teeth, and Nails: Repair weak bones and toughen up your whole body.13)”Calcium-rich Oat Straw Has Been Clinically Proven to Aid a Variety of Health Issues.” NaturalNews.com. Accessed February 19, 2019. https://www.naturalnews.com/034830_oat_straw_calcium_bone_health.html. 14)Hoffmann, David. Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies. London: Thorsons, 2002. 15)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.
  9. Endocrine System Supporter: Oatstraw facilitates a healthy endocrine system, helping your hormonal signals communicate correctly and efficiently.16)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.
  10. Stabilize Blood Sugar: Oatstraw helps your body respond to insulin, helping to level out your blood sugar.17)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010. 18)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.
  11. Pain Reliever: One of the pleasant side effects of consistent oatstraw use is that it reduces aches and pains across your body.19)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.

Medicinal Properties of Oatstraw

Oatstraw boasts such a long list of medicinal uses, it’s hard to know where to start. But that’s okay, because when one is feeling overwhelmed, oatstraw is just the plant to turn to.

Stress Relief

Oatstraw benefits include use as a tension-tamer! (The Grow Network)

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

It helps us to recover from the stress, burnout, and frazzled nerves of being overworked, undernourished, and under-rested.20)”Mountain Rose Herbs: Oatstraw.” – Mountain Rose Herbs. Accessed February 19, 2019. https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/oatstraw/profile.

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Adrenal Restoration

It restores worn-out adrenals and feeds a depleted nervous system.21)Green, James. The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual. Crossing Press, 2011. 22)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010. 23)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989. Don’t forget that your brain is a part of your nervous system, too. Oatstraw contains nutrients important for the building up and correct functioning of your mind. It clears thoughts and improves cognition.24)”Calcium-rich Oat Straw Has Been Clinically Proven to Aid a Variety of Health Issues.” NaturalNews.com. Accessed February 19, 2019. https://www.naturalnews.com/034830_oat_straw_calcium_bone_health.html. 25)Dimpfel, Wilfried, Charlotte Storni, and Marian Verbruggen. “Ingested Oat Herb Extract (Avena Sativa) Changes EEG Spectral Frequencies in Healthy Subjects.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 17, no. 5 (2011): 427-34. doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0143. 26)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.

Calming the Nerves

Oatstraw is a gentle restorative for all people, men and women, old and young.27)”Mountain Rose Herbs: Oatstraw.” – Mountain Rose Herbs. Accessed February 19, 2019. https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/oatstraw/profile. Women, depleted of resources by pregnancy and extended lactation, can be refilled and re-energized by oatstraw. It balances menstrual cycles and helps with certain menopause issues, such as night sweats.28)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010. 29)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989. Children benefit from its calming effects, too. Conditions such as bedwetting, colic, asthma, hyperactivity, speech issues, and allergies, especially when related to nervous distress, can often be mellowed or completely removed with regular use.30)Hoffmann, David. Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies. London: Thorsons, 2002. 31)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.

Tension and Anxiety Relief

Through its soothing nature, oatstraw helps to relieve anxiety and the effects of tension that accompanies it. It offers relief from eye strain, tension headaches, and sleepless nights.32)Hoffmann, David. Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies. London: Thorsons, 2002. 33)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.34)”Calcium-rich Oat Straw Has Been Clinically Proven to Aid a Variety of Health Issues.” NaturalNews.com. Accessed February 19, 2019. https://www.naturalnews.com/034830_oat_straw_calcium_bone_health.html.

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Whole Body Tonic

Though it has an affinity for the nervous system, oatstraw is really a whole body tonic.35)Bone, Kerry, and Simon Mills. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier, 2013. It eases inflammation and nourishes wherever it goes.36)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989. It soothes pains and provides much-needed nourishment. Regular use can benefit a surprising variety of conditions across the body. Some of these include cystitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, leg cramps, heart disease, varicose veins, insulin resistance, hemorrhoids, rheumatism, digestive distress, urinary infections, kidney stones, liver problems, emotional distress, and even epileptic seizures.37)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010. 38)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989. 39)”Calcium-rich Oat Straw Has Been Clinically Proven to Aid a Variety of Health Issues.” NaturalNews.com. Accessed February 19, 2019. https://www.naturalnews.com/034830_oat_straw_calcium_bone_health.html.

Energizer

Sustained energy is one of the benefits of oatstraw. (The Grow Network)

Image by Moni Mckein from Pixabay

Oatstraw has an energizing property, restoring a youthful spring to your actions. Unlike caffeine, with it’s sudden energy spike and crash, oatstraw helps to support a sustained vitality and zest for life.40)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989. It has antidepressant properties, as well, and is especially effective at relieving the exhaustion and debility related to depression.41)Green, James. The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual. Crossing Press, 2011. 42)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. 43)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010.

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Pain Reliever

Oatstraw benefits those with pain, too. It can be used topically and internally to soothe nerve pain, shingles pain, and the pain of fibromyalgia.44)Green, James. The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual. Crossing Press, 2011. 45)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010. 46)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989. 47)Motherwort – Leonurus Cardiaca by Susun Weed – Weed Wanderings Herbal EZine. Accessed February 20, 2019. http://www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/August08/grandmother.htm.

Reproductive Tonic

There’s one more oatstraw benefit that I haven’t mentioned yet. It is a remarkable tonic for sexual and reproductive health.48)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.49)Forêt, Rosalee De La. “Oats Monograph.” HerbMentor. Accessed February 20, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/oats/. While not technically an aphrodisiac, oatstraw does support the correct function of the endocrine system.50)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989. This helps set the stage by getting your hormones flowing. Oatstraw increases pleasure sensitivity, enhancing intimate contact, and supports sexual performance by assisting blood flow to the pelvis.51)Malviya, Neelesh, Sanjay Jain, Vipin Bihari Gupta, and Savita Vyas. “Recent Studies on Aphrodisiac Herbs for the Management of Male Sexual Dysfunction—A Review.” Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica ñ Drug Research 68, no. 1 (2011): 3-8. Accessed February 19, 2019. http://ptfarm.pl/pub/File/Acta_Poloniae/2011/1/003.pdf. 52)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989. As with many of oatstraw’s benefits, the best results come with regular use. You should see significant improvements after about 2 weeks.

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Bone Strengthener

Toughen up with oatstraw! Its easily absorbed minerals are useful for strengthening bones, repairing fractures, and preventing osteoporosis.53)Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010.54)”Calcium-rich Oat Straw Has Been Clinically Proven to Aid a Variety of Health Issues.” NaturalNews.com. Accessed February 19, 2019. https://www.naturalnews.com/034830_oat_straw_calcium_bone_health.html. Your skin, teeth, hair, and nails will thank you, too.55)Hoffmann, David. Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies. London: Thorsons, 2002.56)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.57)Forêt, Rosalee De La. “Oats Monograph.” HerbMentor. Accessed February 20, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/oats/.

Nutritional Properties of Oatstraw

Oatstraw has a pleasant taste. (The Grow Network)

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Oatstraw has a mild, pleasant taste. That’s a good thing, because you’re really going to want what it has to offer. The nutritional qualities of oatstraw are top notch, and they are in a form that is easy for the body to absorb. Oatstraw is an excellent source of magnesium and chromium, an important mineral for maintaining a healthy blood sugar  level. It’s also a good source of calcium, vitamin A, niacin, iron, phosphorus, riboflavin, selenium, thiamine, and vitamin C.

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Many of oatstraw’s medicinal properties are linked to this high level of available nutrition. When used consistently, these nutrients help to increase bone density, attention span, sense of balance, coordination, cognitive clarity, sensitivity to pleasant stimuli, and overall calmness.58)Dimpfel, Wilfried, Charlotte Storni, and Marian Verbruggen. “Ingested Oat Herb Extract (Avena Sativa) Changes EEG Spectral Frequencies in Healthy Subjects.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 17, no. 5 (2011): 427-34. doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0143. 59)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989. 60)”Calcium-rich Oat Straw Has Been Clinically Proven to Aid a Variety of Health Issues.” NaturalNews.com. Accessed February 19, 2019. https://www.naturalnews.com/034830_oat_straw_calcium_bone_health.html.

This Nutritional Profile of oatstraw helps explain its many benefits. (The Grow Network)

Preparations and Typical Dosing 

Oat Bedding

Stuff a pillow or mattress with oat materials to help facilitate effective rest. This can be especially helpful for tense or nervous people, or for those recovering from traumatic experiences.61)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989. This has typically been done with oat hulls, though they can be difficult to obtain. Whole oats or oatstraw can be substituted, though the oats may be too stiff, and the oatstraw may try to poke you through the pillowcase.

Oatstraw Bath

Oatstraw makes a great stuffing for bedding and pillows. (The Grow Network)

Image by Claudio_Scott from Pixabay

Indulge in an oatstraw bath to sooth neuralgia pain and irritated skin.62)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. The easiest method would be to stuff a cloth bag full of oat straw and hang it so hot water from the tub spout can pour through the bag. Then take the bag off the spout, tie it closed, and let it continue soak in the water as you bath. While faster and easier, this bathtub brew may not be strong enough for some conditions.

For a more potent brew, boil 1 pound of oatstraw in at least 2 quarts of water for 30-40 minutes. Then strain the liquid and add it to a bath.

You could also try a few variations of this to target specific areas. A sitz bath can be used to comfort uterine pain, intestinal distress, and bladder spasms. A foot bath can help to remove pain as well as foot odor. Or use your oatstraw infusion as a wash for dry skin, frostbite, chilblains, eczema, and other skin conditions.63)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.

For chronic conditions, bath at least twice a week with oatstraw. This is best supplemented by drinking oatstraw infusions, for as long as required. Acute conditions may call for multiple daily baths and poultices. Once the pain is adequately relieved, they can be used 1-2 times per day, as required.

Nourishing Herbal Infusion

Enjoy oatstraw benefits by making a nourishing herbal infusion. (The Grow Network)

A nourishing herbal infusion is one of the easiest ways of gaining the benefits of oatstraw. Weight out 1 ounce of dried oatstraw and place it in a quart or liter canning jar. Boil water and fill the jar. Cap it, give it a good shake, then set it aside for at lest 4 hours. Overnight is also fine. Then strain out the herbs and enjoy.

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Drink the full amount each day for best results. Oatstraw is the type of herb whose benefits build up with consistent use over time. So drink 1-4 cups (250-1,000 ml) each day to see the maximum benefits. If you brew extra, it will stay good in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

Poultice/Fomentation

Brew an infusion of oatstraw as above, and apply it to a desired area. The texture will be more pleasant when using oatstraw powder. However, if the roughness doesn’t both you, you can use rough-cut oatstraw. You could also filter out the oatstraw, and apply an infusion-soaked cloth to the area.

Avena Meditation

Susun Weed recommends a guided meditation on Avena. It involves a gradual relaxation and movement of various parts of the body while contemplating the powerful effects of oatstraw. The full text can be found in her book, Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal).64)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.

Infused Mineral Vinegar

Use mineral-rich, oatstraw-infused vinegar on your salads. (The Grow Network)

Image by Peter Biela from Pixabay

Infuse vinegar with the power of oatstraw for a mineral-rich salad dressing or cooking ingredient. The following recipe comes from My Country Garden:65)Herb Garden – Oatstraw. Accessed February 19, 2019. http://www.mycountrygarden.net/hgarden/oatstraw/. “Infuse vinegar (I usually use organic apple cider vinegar) with some … red clover blossoms, dandelion (leaves or roots), alfalfa, chickweed, raspberry leaf, or nettles for a month and take at least 1 Tbsp. a day…. The acidity helps your body absorb the minerals.”

Oatstraw Hair Rinse

For strong, lustrous hair, try an oatstraw hair rinse.66)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989. After shampooing as normal, pour 1 cup of strained oatstraw infusion over your head and hair. Massage it in and leave it  there. Don’t rinse. Towel dry.

Uses for Animals

Pets, especially cats, like to eat young oat shoots to gain minerals that may be missing from their diets. This is how it gets the name “cat grass.” But it’s not just for cats. Dogs, birds, small mammals, and even some reptiles will happily eat cat grass.

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You can often find oats, marketed as cat grass, at pet stores or any store with seed displays in the spring. Place the seeds in a pot or tray of growing medium, about 1/4 inch deep. Water the container, and lay plastic wrap over it to keep the moisture in. When the seeds sprout, take the plastic off, and let them grow to around 4-6 inches tall.  At this point, you can set the seedlings out for your pets to nibble on as they desire.

Precautions and Contraindications

Oats and wheat are often grown in the same fields and processed on the same machinery, making cross-contamination a hazard for those with Celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Certified gluten-free oats are available. However, these may still pose a problem to people with Celiac disease, due to an oat protein called avenin, which is very similar to the the wheat protein gliadin.

People can be allergic to wheat pollen, though the pollen has long disappeared by the time the stalks are ready to harvest. Other than this, oatstraw is considered to be very safe both externally and internally, with no side effects or drug interactions being reported.67)Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.68)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

A Note About Milky Oat Tops

Milky oat tops can be used in much the same way as the straw, but there are a few differences to consider. The milky oat tops are harvested during a weeklong period when the oats exude a milky substance if squeezed. This will occur after the seed heads become plump, but before they harden. Harvest oat tops by pinching the stem between your thumb and finger, and sliding your hand up the stalk. Seed heads will pop off into your hand or container.

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The oat tops have overlapping medicinal properties with the oat straw, but their effects can be seen much more rapidly. To get the absolute highest potency, use them fresh or tinctured. However, if this is not possible, milky oat tops will still be effective when dried and will also retain their full nutritive properties.69)Herbal Academy . “Oats Benefits: Getting To Know Avena Sativa.” Herbal Academy, January 25, 2018. https://theherbalacademy.com/oats-benefits-getting-to-know-avena-sativa

A tincture of milky oat tops is an excellent medicine for the frazzled, the burnt-out, and the just plain exhausted. It is often paired with adaptogen herbs, such as Siberian ginseng. Due to its small dosage, a milky oats tincture will not impart significant minerals or other nutrition. Use 5 ml 35 times per day.70)Forêt, Rosalee de la. “Oats Monograph.” Herb Mentor. Accessed October 18, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/oats

Plant ID  

Oats are an annual grass. As such, they have straight, hollow stems, and blade-like leaves with parallel venation. Their branched stems produce small, hanging, swaying, spiked seedheads, which hold the grains. Immature oats will exude a milky substance when crushed. The stalks grow between 1 and 4 feet tall and are light green in color.

Some potential look-alikes for oats do exist. Any number of the grasses might resemble oats, especially at the younger stages. The shape and nodding pattern of the grains will help you differentiate them. Wild or hybrid oat species are look-alikes for Avena sativa, but these are also safe to use. Wood oats and sea oats are potential look-alikes, as well. Neither is actually an oat, but both are edible.

You should always be absolutely sure about the identity of a plant before harvesting and using it. Be sure to verify your identification with multiple, trusted sources.

Where It Grows and Where to Find It

Oats are native to Northern Europe, but have been spread so thoroughly that they can now be found worldwide. You can find the cultivated grain on plains across the world. They can also go wild, spreading into uncultivated land. Oats prefer full sun and dry, slightly acidic soil.

How and When to Harvest

Oat stalks are most often harvested when the grains are green and immature, at the milky stage, or when the grain has fully matured. The stalk harvests best when the seed is mature, in late summer, but could realistically be harvested at any time.

Cut the stalk and allow it to dry. Once fully dried, it can easily be chopped or powdered. The grains are usually prepared separately, but can also be included with the straw.

What Do You Think?

Oatstraw benefits are so extensive that it really is a remarkable medicine. It’s powerful, versatile, and safe for nearly everyone to use. Give it a try and see if you don’t agree. And be sure to let us know, in the comments below, how well it works for you.

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This is an updated version of an article that was originally published February 28, 2019.

Psst! Our Lawyer Wants You to Read This Big, Bad Medical Disclaimer –> The contents of this article, made available via The Grow Network (TGN), are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information provided by TGN. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk. And, of course, never eat a wild plant without first checking with a local expert.

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References

References
1, 35 Bone, Kerry, and Simon Mills. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier, 2013.
2, 4, 5, 6, 11, 15, 16, 18, 19, 23, 26, 29, 31, 33, 36, 38, 40, 46, 48, 50, 52, 56, 59, 61, 63, 64, 66, 67 Weed, Susun S. Wise Woman Herbal Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Pub., 1989.
3, 14, 30, 32, 55 Hoffmann, David. Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies. London: Thorsons, 2002.
7, 21, 41, 44 Green, James. The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual. Crossing Press, 2011.
8, 42, 62, 68 Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.
9, 17, 22, 28, 37, 43, 45, 53 Pedersen, Mark. Nutritional Herbology: A Reference Guide to Herbs. Warsaw, IN: Whitman Publications, 2010.
10, 51 Malviya, Neelesh, Sanjay Jain, Vipin Bihari Gupta, and Savita Vyas. “Recent Studies on Aphrodisiac Herbs for the Management of Male Sexual Dysfunction—A Review.” Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica ñ Drug Research 68, no. 1 (2011): 3-8. Accessed February 19, 2019. http://ptfarm.pl/pub/File/Acta_Poloniae/2011/1/003.pdf.
12, 49, 57 Forêt, Rosalee De La. “Oats Monograph.” HerbMentor. Accessed February 20, 2019. https://herbmentor.learningherbs.com/herb/oats/.
13, 24, 34, 39, 54, 60 ”Calcium-rich Oat Straw Has Been Clinically Proven to Aid a Variety of Health Issues.” NaturalNews.com. Accessed February 19, 2019. https://www.naturalnews.com/034830_oat_straw_calcium_bone_health.html.
20, 27 ”Mountain Rose Herbs: Oatstraw.” – Mountain Rose Herbs. Accessed February 19, 2019. https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/oatstraw/profile.
25, 58 Dimpfel, Wilfried, Charlotte Storni, and Marian Verbruggen. “Ingested Oat Herb Extract (Avena Sativa) Changes EEG Spectral Frequencies in Healthy Subjects.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 17, no. 5 (2011): 427-34. doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0143.
47 Motherwort – Leonurus Cardiaca by Susun Weed – Weed Wanderings Herbal EZine. Accessed February 20, 2019. http://www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/August08/grandmother.htm.
65 Herb Garden – Oatstraw. Accessed February 19, 2019. http://www.mycountrygarden.net/hgarden/oatstraw/.
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This post was written by The Grow Network

COMMENTS(6)

  • Lisa K says:

    I have a few tea recipes that call for oatstraw that I will be trying. Thanks for a great article and I really like the format as well as the Nettle article.

    1. Scott Sexton says:

      Glad you enjoyed it (although I had nothing to do with the formatting). Oatstraw is one of my favorite herbs.

  • Teresa Klepac says:

    I have been making infusions of oatstraw for a while now but would like to try the milky oat tops. It really has a pretty mild flavor and is easy to drink. Thanks for the article!

    1. Scott Sexton says:

      Hi Teresa. I’m a fan of the mild flavor, too. With some herbs, it’s a feat of strength just to get them down.

  • Owl says:

    Terrific article! I just happened to have a small pile of oats drying in the greenhouse and I can’t wait to try out some of these uses.

    1. Pataniki says:

      awesome overview and all my questions answered….maybe a touch more on planting seeds and environment and watering for us old folks who would like to experiment..but one of the best i have come across…glad i am a member…manythxs

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