Oat Herb

Other Names of Oat Herb: Groats, Avena sativa

Useful Parts of the Plant: Seeds, Stalks

The therapeutic properties of oats, called avena sativa by botanists and pharmacologists, have been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments from skin disorders to nervous exhaustion and anxiety attacks. While oatmeal is used to treat skin ailments and to relieve itching, tea made from fresh oats leaves and stalk is used as a mild sedative. Traditionally, oats have also been used to improve fertility and sexual performance, thoughscientists attribute it to the ability of oats to reduce stress and performance anxiety. In the beauty care industry, oats and oats straw are primarily used in the formulation of skin and hair care products, thanks to the moisturizing and revitalizing action of oats.

Nutritional Information and Properties

Oat grains and oats straw are rich in vitamins and essential minerals like zinc, iron, manganese, and silica. Being a rich source of soluble and insoluble fiber, oats aid in the digestion of food and in the elimination of toxins from the body. The 28 flavonoid compounds and organic acids present in oats seeds have antioxidant properties that reduce the damage caused by free radicals. The sugars in green oats and stalks help in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Besides helping to lower cholesterol levels, oats are also a valuable source of vitamins such as vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamins B1 and B6, and vitamin E.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses

Here are some of the benefits derived from the use of oats and oat straw:

  • Oat straw tea is an effective anti-depressant and is said to have a soothing effect on the elderly as well as on children who are hyperactive.
  • The tea of green oats is also effective in lowering uric acid serum levels in those with problems of gout. Those with kidney stone problems and liver sluggishness also benefit from this tea.
  • The ability of oat germ to reduce cholesterol levels makes it an important ally in the fight against heart disease and obesity.
  • Fresh green oat plants have been used to prepare extracts, which when ingested with water four times a day, reduce nicotine craving, thus checking the urge to smoke.
  • The diuretic properties of oat straw tea have made it useful in the treatment of urinary tract diseases.
  • Oatmeal used in the bath is said to relieve itching of the skin, and lotions with oatmeal in them are used to treat skin rashes.
  • Mixed with liquid paraffin, oatmeal helps to heal burns.
  • Diets with oats have been found useful in the regulation of blood pressure.
  • Tinctures made from fresh oat plants and seeds have been found to be effective against insomnia, irritation, general weakness, and nervous disorders.
  • A paste of oat flour and yeast is applied on wounds and skin ulcers to hasten the healing process.
  • Oats are also used in the treatment pruritus.
  • Oatmeal paste is also used to treat diaper rash in infants.
  • Skin infections like wet eczema and psoriasis are treated with a paste of oat flour applied, over gauze, on the affected area.
  • Oats can also help to lower blood sugar levels and control diabetes as the beta glucan in oats helps to reduce glucose levels.
  • Beta glucans in oats also strengthen the body's immune system
  • Extracts of oats and oat straws are used in hair care products to revitalize damaged hair.
  • With its bone strengthening properties, oats is an important food for those with osteoporosis.
  • Oats are grains that are suitable for celiac patients who cannot tolerate the gluten in wheat or rye, and thus, oats form a major component of the diet for people with celiac disease.
  • The presence of insoluble fiber in oats leads to slower gastric emptying and better absorption of nutrients from the food digested.