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A Note on this Materia Medica

Each botanical write up is compiled from my notes taken at various herbal schools, favorite herb books and personal experience. This information is for general health and information only. Nothing contained in the herbal monographs should be taken as medical advice. People passionate about living a holistic lifestyle and the uses of plant medicine will find something of interest here. This project is dedicated to my love of herbs and a place where I can share with others who feel the same. This is a work in progress and as I go through my notes and continue my studies I will be updating and adding new herbs. Thank you for being here!

-Colleen, Head Witch

OAT

Avena fatua (wild) A. sativa (cultivated)

Common Names: Wild oats, Milky oats, Oat straw, Oatgrass
Family: Poaceae, Graminae
Part/s Used: Milky, unripe seeds for fresh tincture preparations. Dry oat stems for tea (oatstraw)
Energetics: Neutral to warm
Taste: Sweet, salty, bland
Actions: Trophorestorative, nervine, nutritive tonic, adaptogen, alterative, anxiolytic, reproductive tonic
Organ System Affinity: Nervous system
Tissue State: Dry/atrophy
Constituents: Proteins, glycosides, avenin, avenacines A and B, histamine, hordenine, trigonelline, flavonoids
Nutritional properties: Vitamins A,C,E, K. Many B vitamins including B6, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine. Oats are rich in minerals such as calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sodium. It contains low to average amounts of colbolt, manganese, potassium, selium and tin. Additionally, oat straw contains protein and amino acids such as arginine, histandine, leucine, lysine, phenylalaine and tryptophan.
Planet: Moon
Element: Earth

Medicinal Preparations:

Tincture: Fresh 1:3 or 1:4 95% 
Drops: 10-30   Times a day: 4x
Glycerite: Fresh 1:3 or 1:4 Glycerin 50% Alcohol 50%
 
Tea: Hot/cold infusion/decoction (Steep for 4 hours)
Ounces: 8-12 Times a Day: 3-4
 

Habitat and Botanical Description: 

Oats is a species of grass native to the Mediterranean but has been naturalized in most temperate regions of the world. You can find Wild oats growing along the roadsides, in disturbed areas with poor soil or swaying gently in an open sunny meadow. Oat grows up to four feet tall on an erect stem with long flat linear leaves and open branches with nodding flower clusters.  

Medicinal Uses:

Milky oats is a classic Trophorestorative herb. Nourishing to the mind, body and spirit due to its high vitamin and mineral content. Oats is considered a nutritive tonic and will work its magic over a period of time when ingested consistently.

Milky oats is a specific herb for the nervous system. A delicious soothing tonic, indicated for nervous states with exhaustion. Oats will being rest to those who are overworked, dealing with anxiety, trauma, or facing uncertainty. Oats can be helpful for the person who is not able to focus and feels tired all the time because their energy being drained from overthinking. Drinking the tea over several weeks will bring a sense of stability and well being. Although it is a nervine, it is not sedating. It can be taken throughout the day safely. The tincture of milky oats is especially helpful when symptoms are more severe. 

Its nutritive properties include calcium and encourage the growth of nails, strong bones, and healthy connective tissues. It is a specific for osteoporosis and combines well with horsetail, mullein and nettle. 

Milky oats is a medicinal herb safe for pregnant and lactating mothers. Its nutritive constituents support a healthy body and help the mother produce a nutritious milk supply. Oats is helpful as a reproductive tonic in both men and women. Often used in PMS formulas to alleviate sugar and chocolate cravings (though chocolate contains magnesium in which we crave but it also contains caffeine which will ultimately deplete magnesium).

Avena is an herbal ally for individuals going through drug withdrawal from tobacco, alcohol, narcotics and pharmaceuticals such as anxiety medications and sleep aids by fortifying the body with vitamins and minerals that strengthen the nerves and help decrease agitation with mood alleviating qualities.

Oatmeal is wonderfully soothing as a topical treatment for a variety of skin complaints. Combine the ground oats with milky oat tea to make a healing paste. Its cooling and mucilaginous (cook to get the mucilage) properties are soothing to rashes, poison ivy, dandruff, hot and dry skin conditions, shingles and chicken pox (during the dry stages). Oats is a staple for the home apothecary.

Energetically, Milky oats gives us emotional strength. Oats tenderly whisper "shhhhhhhh" as it sways gently with the ever changing winds, reminding us to remain calm, move with it and trust that we are firmly rooted to the ground. 

Milky oats are ruled by the moon. The moon qualities are shown in the milky white latex excreted in unripe seeds. Its medicine is helpful for our sensitive lunar nature. Helping to calm the waves emotions so we are not so reactive and can approach moments of stress with objectivity and grace. 

Oats can be used as a cover crop for the garden to help bring nutrients back into the soil. 

Harvesting:

Harvesting wild oats is a wonderful pastime. They grow abundantly throughout the country and in most places, a considered a weed, so it can be harvested freely. Just be sure to leave plenty for the wildlife. Find a deserted or abandoned field in the early spring when the oat grains are green and plump and excrete a milky sap (the medicine) when squeezed between two fingers. The time to harvest is a relatively short, lasting only about a week. When ready, pinch the middle of the stem between your two fingers just below the branches and slide up the stem popping the grains off. Once the seeds grains are harvested cut the at grass just above the soil level and to make bundles. Upon returning home, tincture the fresh seeds immediately. Gather the stems to create bundles and dry. Once dry, cut into smaller pieces, jar and label

Contraindications:

Individuals with gluten sensitivity should avoid oats (although if taken as a tincture, the alcohol inactivates the protein that usually triggers allergic sensitivity and is unlikely to aggravate a gluten sensitive person). Use caution. Avoid excessively high doses of the tincture as it can induce a third eye headache. Oats antagonize the antinociceptive anti pain effect of morphine and the pressor response to nicotine.

Recommended Products:

Oat Straw Harvest Prayer by Diane Perazzo  

Oat straw ancient one
Milk of our Mother Gaia
Thank you for soothing
And supporting us.
Thank you for giving us
The strength to lead
And the faith to follow.
 
Oat straw ancient one
Your nourishment builds our bones
And help use to stand straight and strong
Your dusty milk
Eases our worried minds
And gladdens our hearts
 
Oat straw ancient one
Your golden fields
Drift in waves of love
For she whose gifts are never ending
Always mending,
Helping to carry on

 Sources:

  • Avena Fatua. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avena_fatua. April 2022
  • Cunningfolk, Alexis J. Nourishing the Soul. Milky oats plant profile.
  • Dellman, Jesse. Milky Oat: Nourishment for the nerves. https://ravensongherbals.com/blog-post/milky-oat-nourishment-for-the-nerves. August 2021
  • Edwards, Gail Faith. The Way of the Wild Heart. Oat straw Avena sativa. https://gailfaithedwards.com/2012/07/11/oatstraw-avena-sativa/  
  • Gladstar, Rosemary. The Science and Art of Herbalism. A Home-Study Course. Lesson 1
  • Herbal Academy. The Herbarium. Monographs: Oat.
  • Northeast School of Botanical Medicine. Avena-A Monograph on Oats as medicine. https://7song.com/avena-a-monograph-on-oats-as-medicine/ . April 2022
  • Perazzo, Diane Finkle. Oat Straw Harvest Prayer.  https://dianeperazzo.com/2019/10/07/oat-straw-harvest-prayer/ April 2022
  • Popham, Sajah. Alchemical Herbalism Course. School of Evolutionary Herbalism. Lecture Notes; 2020
  • Popham, Sajah. The Vitalist Herbal Practitioner Program. School of Evolutionary Herbalism. Lecture Notes; 2021
  • Sinadinos, Christa. The Essential Guide to Western Botanical Medicine. Fieldbrook, CA; 2020
  • Sinadinos, Christa. Northwest School for Botanical Studies Course. Lecture Notes; 2014
  • Worts and Cunning Apothecary.  http://www.wortsandcunning.com/blog/nourishing-the-soul-milky-oat-plant-profile. April 2022

    Disclosure: This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.