Plant Profile: Oat

(Avena sativa, Avena fatua)


Energetics: Straw: Neutral to warming, moistening. 

Taste: Straw & milky top: Sweet.  

Parts Used: Tops & stalk (straw): These 2 parts of the plant have different qualities and uses and I did my best in my research to separate them from each other. However, it is not made easy as sometimes others don't differentiate between the 2 or use the term oat straw to really mean the oat tops or visa versa OR by referring to them both when relaying information on their medicinal qualities and uses. 

Systems affected: Tops: Central nervous system. Straw: Skin, musculoskeletal system.  

Key Components: Stalk contains: Silica, Minerals, carotene, folliculin-like hormone, flavones, glycosides, polysaccharides, alkaloids, proteins, flavonoids, saponins, fixed oil, starch, vitamins B, D, E & P.  

Preparations & dosage: Infusion of tops 1-2 tsp per cup, 4 tablespoons per quart. Decoction of straw: 1 oz to 1 quart water steeped for at least 20 minutes. Tincture: With alcohol, tincture immediately after harvesting to preserve all qualities, or glycerin. 

Foundational: Demulcent. Relaxant. 
Primary: Nervine. 
Secondary: Antispasmodic.
Foundational: Stimulant. Demulcent.
Primary:  Nervine
Secondary: Nutritive. Antispasmodic

Uses: Green tops are best tonic for nervous system & help relieve nervous stress, exhaustion, irritation & anxiety. Good for when you’re super stressed over a long period of time. Tonic herb for nervous system (nourished nervous system over time). For someone with frazzled nerves, always a bit edgy & bouncing from thing to thing. People that have been going and going and goin and are now suffering burnout. Drug withdrawal. Foundational in formulas for regenerating the nervous system. Specific for situations where the mycelium sheath surrounding the nerve endings have been damaged or worn such as in Multiple Sclerosis (does not heal but aids in reducing fatigue, strengthening muscles & improves nerve function). Helpful against depression, menopause & symptoms of drug withdrawal. Oat straws high silicon content makes it excellent for strengthening the connective tissue, skin, mucous membranes & nerve fibers. Combines well with lemon balm for hyperactivity in children & adults. Relaxes & tones entire nervous system. Works well with damiana & nettle root as a sexual tonic for men with impotency. Combines with oat straw in formulas to strengthen & heal bones, as a source of calcium most importantly during menopause & pregnancy. Oatmeal made from ripe grains is best medicine for convalescing especially after surgery or chemotherapy treatment. Especially good when nothing else will stay down, it is warming, nourishing, soothing, healing & anti-inflammatory. Topically an oatmeal bath is soothing to dry, irritated, chapped skin as well as other itchy irritated skin problems. Oat straw reduces arachidonic acid & stop the pro-inflammatory cascade int he body. Oat straw has important nutrients important for strong and healthy hair, bones, teeth and nails. 

Combines well with: Adaptogens. 

Growing: Hardy annual. prefer full sun, open ground. Grow best in zones 4-9 but can adapt outside these. Presoak seeds overnight & direct sow in the soil. 

Harvesting: For medicinal purposes harvest tops when grains are fully mature but still green. When you press the grain a small bit of oat milk should come out. For oatmeal harvest when grains are golden & fully ripe. Wait for a sunny morning & holding basket in one hand use fingers to rake up stalks allowing the grains to fall into the basket. 

Some say celiacs & those with gluten sensitivity/celiac should avoid oat straw. This is individual. Oats are naturally gluten free. Some people do have cross reactivity. The source is also important when considering cross contamination.

Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: Rosemary Gladstar. Pg 180-183
The Way of Herbs: Michael Tierra. Pg 172-173
The Herbal Apothecary: JJ Pursell. Pg 138-139