HERBS TO LIVE BY… Oatstraw & Milky Oats
COMMON NAME: Oatstraw; Milky Oats, Oats Flowering Tops; Oats
LATIN NAME: Avena sativa
PLANT PART USED: Stems (Oatstraw) & Premature Seeds (Milky Oats)
ENERGETICS: Neutral to cooling, moistening
PRIMARY ACTIONS: Antidepressant, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory (topically as colloidal oatmeal), Anti-insomnia, Antispasmodic, Anxiolytic, Cardiotonic, Capillary-Strengthening, Diuretic, Galactagogue, Hypolipidemic, Nervine Tonic, Nutritive, Vasodilator, Vulnerary (Demulcent & Emollient)
CONTRAINDICATIONS: Many herbal professionals would agree there are no problems with using oatstraw or milky oats, In theory, caution should be exercised with those who are celiac or have a recognized gluten sensitivity. While oats do not contain gluten, those with Celiac disease or gluten allergies must take care to verify the oats they select are not cross-contaminated in a facility that processes other gluten-containing grains.
ABOUT: ‘Milky oats’ are the premature oat that has not yet formed a seed. When harvested at the right time the premature green seed head can be squeezed and a sticky whitish “milk” will be released.
The ‘oat straw’ is the grassy stalk of the plant that should be harvested while the oats are in the milky oats stage.
As food, oats are the seed of the mature plant that is harvested for food commonly called oatmeal or baked and added to granola or muesli. Oatmeal is a calcium channel blocker that helps to lower blood pressure. When soaked and strained the oat ‘milk’ can be consumed as a beverage or medicinally added to bath water to soothe skin conditions or applied topically to soothe skin conditions including contact dermatitis, dryness, itching, rashes, eczema (weeping), and burns.
The most common herbal remedies are those made of the oatstraw infusion and of the milky oats tincture. Though they appear simple, one should not underestimate their healing potential. Oatstraw or milky oats should be considered remedies for most anyone at any time throughout life.
Oatstraw can help brighten one’s mood and lift depression by inhibiting the ability of monoamine oxide-B to break down a neurotransmitter called dopamine important for mood regulation. Oatstraw also keeps phosphodiesterase-4 from causing inflammation often connected to anxiety and depression. Additionally, oatstraw increases focus through vasodilation, therefore, it may be beneficial for those with ADHD.
Oatstraw infusion is supportive of those suffering from bed-wetting, boils, flu, coughs, bladder issues, joint pain and rheumatic complaints, exhaustion, frostbite, gall bladder issues, gout, heart and/or liver issues, impetigo, lung weakness, nervous conditions, sexual debility, etc.
Ayurvedic practitioners have used a decoction of Avena sativa as an elixir for opium addiction and noticed that certain people also have found it supportive for smoking cessation.1 While this may be controversial, it is not surprising that addictions stemming from anxiety may be helped by this gentle, yet powerful nervous system trophorestorative.
To make an oatstraw infusion, place 1/4 cup of chopped organic oatstraw into a mason jar. Fill the jar with steaming hot/boiling water and cover. To extract all the minerals, allow the infusion to set overnight for a minimum of 8 hours. Then strain and drink. Keep refrigerated for up to three days. An adult may consume one cup up to three times per day.
Oatstraw tea is even safe for infants (in small doses), children, women who are pregnant or menopausal, the elderly, the convalescing and in just about every life-stage and condition of health.
The milky oats of the oat plant are made into a tincture. It must be done at the premature milky stage of the oat seed. The best tinctures are made using a very high-percentage alcohol solvent as this is necessary to extract the milky white latex exudate from the immature seed.
Milky oats is a traditional remedy used to support and restore the nervous system. especially after long periods of prolonged stress The tincture would likely be faster-acting and more appropriate in an acute situation. Old-time practitioners used milky oats tincture to promote healthy heart and nerve function as well as to encourage healthy sleep patterns, An adult dose of milky oats tincture ranges from 20-40 drops 3 or more times per day.