Oats are a domesticated annual, but also wild grass in the Gramineae family. It’s jointed stem grows 2-4 feet tall from a hollow, fibrous root and produces long, narrow, light green leaves and a panicle of spikelet of flowers that produce hairy, almost symmetrical grooved grains. The stalks are gathered at harvest in August, typically following the rye harvest, dried and threshed. Oatstraw is the crushed, dried stalks of the green Oat plant.
Oatstraw is a cooling nervine and uterine tonic, anti-depressant, anti-spasmodic, nutritive, demulcent, and vulnerary herb. It’s high in vitamin E, protein, and minerals, and works by essentially feeding and soothing the nervous system, especially in times of stress, nervous exhaustion, and depression. It’s extremely helpful in menopause cases and with the recovery from shingles, estrogen deficiencies, persistant colds, and muscular sclerosis. As a tonic herb, it’s helpful for the whole system and can boost brain function and metabolism. It has high levels of silicic acid which help treat skin conditions such as excema, psoriasis, and irritations when applied externally as a soothing bath or compress. For depression, it combines well with lady’s slipper and skullcap. In Aryuvedic medicine, oatstraw is used for treating addictions and considered rejuvenating.
Oatstraw can be taken as a tincture, with 3-5 ml three times daily, made into an infusion to taste drunk throughout the day. An infusion of oatstraw is high in B vitamins and protein. Oats, the fruit of the plant, can be made into a porridge or gruel. For irritated skin, both oatstraw and oats can be used in a bath at 1 pound of straw to 2 liters of water, boiled for half an hour, added to the bath water. As a foot-soak, it can help rejuvenate tired feet, especially when combined with a little peppermint and green tea. Oats themselves can be ground up and used in skincare products like as washes and scrubs (such as in my Dirty Girl Facial Scrub) and added to bath waters.
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