Other Common Names: Groats, herb oats, oatgrass, oats, wild oats.
Habitat: Oat straw grows in moderate temperatures such as Northern Europe. It grows well in dry wastelands, cultivated ground and meadows alike. It is a hardy zone 2-type plant that can be grown in heavier soils although it normally prefers sandy or loamy soils. It requires good drainage but can grow in a high acid soil. It does require sun, and cannot grow in the shade. Oat Straw tolerates drought well. Although it is widely distributed as a cereal crop it is just as often found in garden beds, or planted to prevent soil erosion. The fruit, seeds and straw are typically gathered in August.
Plant Description: The Oat straw plant is an annual grass. It stands erect with a flat, rough, but elongated leaf. It has a golden seed shaped much like a spindle. It is in flower during June and July. The seeds ripen from August to October. The flowers have both male and female organs, and is pollinated by the wind.
Plant Parts Used: Grain, straw, and seed. When the seed is harvested and dried – also in late summer – it can be stored for several years. It has a texture similar to flour and puts forth a mild, creamy flavor.
Therapeutic Uses of Oat Straw and Claims
- Oats have been an elemental food source for both humans and animals since prehistoric times. There is speculation that this food source is best described through it genus name, avena, which traces back to its original meaning of nourishing while sativa means cultivated.
- In addition to its recognition and value as a stable food crop, however, oat straw is also used in the treatment of a number of human maladies, ailments or discomforts.
- It has been purported to help with the lowering of cholesterol naturally, increasing of vigor and stamina (it has been suggested to people recovering from long term illnesses as an aid to help rebuild their strength).
- The oat seeds carry antispasmodic, cardia, diuretic, emollient, nervine and stimulant properties.
- Oat straw and the grain have also been prescribed in the treatment of a wide range of nervous conditions. It has also been shown to help with the exhaustion related to neurological pains or herbal treatment for insominia, or multiple sclerosis. A tincture has been used as a nerve stimulant when treating opium addiction and it is a popular herbal remedy for anxiety and ADHD.
- It can help to combat problems such asobesity, varicose veins, irritations related to the digestive tract and as an herbal treatment for hemorrhoids, however it has been found that it should not be used in dyspepsia when accompanied by acidity of the stomach.
- Research now shows that it contains the anti-tumor compound b-sitosterol and there is some suggestions that the chances of cancer in the bowel may be reduced by eating oats regularly, as well as cancers in general.
- There is also some evidence to suggest that the consumption of the oats helps to naturally lower the blood sugar levels in the body and that it could be helpful as a herbal remedy for diabetics as well.