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avena sativaAvena sativa (Graminae)

OATS

 

Herbalists prescribe the flowering tops to sustain the nervous system. Treatments for eczema and dry skin often include oat extract. Ayurvedic doctors give oats to ease opium withdrawal.

 

Samuel Johnson defined oats as "a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people". Their origin is unknown but oats have probably been eaten, if not cultivated, since neolithic times. Widely used in medicine, oats' traditional uses as a general nutritive and nerve restorative have been confirmed by recent experiments. The plant is an annual grass easily distinguished from wheat or barley by the loose head of grain and its papery covering.

 

PARTS USED

Flowering tops, grain.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Alkaloids; flavonoids; protein; minerals, including silica and calcium.

 

ACTIONS

Restores the nerves; stimulant; supports the nutrition and tone of the nervous system.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Used for depression, melancholia, and for general debility involving the nervous system, such as occurs in shingles and multiple sclerosis. Prescribed in Ayurvedic medicine for opium withdrawal. Skin preparations containing oat extracts are still used in orthodox medicine for eczema and dry skin. If eaten in large amounts, oats may lower blood cholesterol levels.

 

PREPARATIONS

Groats, oatmeal, whole plant juice, tincture, over-the-counter skin preparations.

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