Genus and species: Avena sativa
Parts Used: green stalks, leaves and grain
Vitamins and minerals: (including calcium, magnesium ,Vitamin B complex, Vitamin A, C and E)
Properties: nutritive - tonic
nervine - antidepressant
cooling - diuretic
The nutritive properties of oats and oatstraw are not very different, except that oatstraw is lower in calories and higher in Vitamin A (carotenes) and Vitamin C, than the grain alone.
Oatstraw is one of the best anti-osteoporosis herbs - the others are alfalfa, horsetail, nettles and red clover blossoms. Oats is rich in calcium and vitamins needed for building bones. Consistent use of oats and oatstraw in the diet reduces cholestrol and improves circulatory function, helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, brings about noticeable improvement in coordination, bone density, balance, memory, sensitivity to pleasant stimuli, clarity of thinking and overall calmness and centeredness.
Oatstraw is a nervine, that nourishes strong nerves, helps people deal with stress (Vitamin B complex), maintains restful sleep patterns and reduces the frequency and duration of headaches and useful for menopausal symptoms (particularly insomnia, depression, anxiety, memory loss, restless legs).
Oatstraw is also one of the best remedies for feeding the nervous system , especially under stress. For depression it may be used with scullcap and mugwort.
The high levels of silicic acid in the straw will explain its use as a remedy for skin conditions, especially extermally.
Growing and Harvesting Oatstraw
Broadcast the oat seeds (I use a raised bed) early in the spring and cover lightly. Keep moist till germinated. Likes cool weather .
Harvest oatstraw when the oat seeds are at the milky stage and green and the stalks are still green. Harvest and dry everything down to the ground. You can get another crop usually too depending on the weather. Cut the stalks (you can use scissors but I harvest so much of it I use a paper cutter) into two inch pieces, and store in a cool dry place. Place a small batch of the stalks and seeds in the blender and blend for use.
Tea: infuse 1 - 3 tsp. of the dried straw in a cup of boiling water and leave for 10-15 minutes. I usually add it to just about all my herb tea blends.
Mineral (especially calcium) infusion: make an overnight infusion by pouring boiling water over 1 oz. of oatstraw in a quart jar. Cap and strain in the morning. Drink some every day. Some other calcium rich herbs are: nettles, sage, chickweed, red clover - 250-300 mg. of calcium in a cup of infusion (not a tea). There is a picture of the oatstraw infusion under Parts Used above.
Mineral vinegar: infuse vinegar (I usually use organic apple cider vinegar) with some of red clover blossoms, dandelion (leaves or roots), alfalfa ,chickweed, raspberry leaf, or nettles for a month and take at least 1 tbsp. a day and can be used in cooking. The acidity helps your body absorb the minerals. There is a picture of the mineral vinegar steeping under vinegar (left hand corner).
Herbs that contain calcium:
One large mugful of infusion will give you 250-300 mg. of useable calcium. Adding a pinch of horsetail to infusion adds 10% more calcium.
To make infusion of leaves: 1 oz/30g in 1 quart/liter of water for a minimum of 4 hours
To make infusion of flowers: 1 oz/30g. in 1 quart/liter of water for 2 hours minimum
Take hot, chilled, or at room termperature.
Calcium and Vitamin D work together - herbs that have both are :
Calcium and Magnesium work together - herbs that have both are: