The same plant that gives us oatmeal is highly respected in the herbal world. Whole oats contain beta-glucans, which help to lower cholesterol, and also provide medicinal effects. Along with oatstraw, is something called milky oats which are the fresh seeds that have not yet hardened into that oats that we are familiar with. Both herbs are most valued in teas & tinctures as a nervous system tonic.
Oatstraw is the stalk of the plant that is harvested at the same time as the milky green tops. It's filled with nutrients just like the rest of the plant. Many of the benefits of oatstraw come from the nutrients and minerals contained in the green oat stalk.
Oatstraw is especially high in silicon, which is beneficial for skin, hair, nails, and bone health. Other vitamins and nutrients include zinc, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, vitamin A, and protein. The calcium properties are important to note as they are highly beneficial for women going through menopause and pregnant/nursing women because it provides nutrients that are essential during these times.
Benefits of Oatstraw
1. Restorative Tonic
One of the most traditional uses is as a nutritive tonic to restore the body and nervous system after prolonged stress, exhaustion, burnout, or illness.
It can also be used as a tonic during pregnancy or menopause to nourish the body and restore nutrients that may be depleted, especially calcium. (Rosemary Gladstar. Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide, pg. 181)
As a tonic herb, oatstraw works to restore and rejuvenate over time. An infusion of oatstraw taken everyday for several weeks will build the body back up.
2. Better Sleep
Oatstraw has a calming effect on the nervous system that benefits sleep. Oatstraw also contains a good source of calcium and magnesium, two nutrients that are important for a good night's sleep.
Calcium is needed for the brain to use tryptophan to produce melatonin, the sleep hormone. Magnesium is also essential for producing melatonin, and magnesium deficiency often results in insomnia.
3. Calms Stress and Anxiety
Along with promoting better sleep, the soothing benefits of oatstraw for the nervous system can calm stress, nerves, and irritability. It's one of the traditional nervine herbs used to treat general anxiety.
Oatstraw infusion taken over time can gradually help to reduce daily stress as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some studies indicate that oatstraw reduces levels of cytokines which are linked to depression and other mental disorders.
Check out our Afternoon Delight Tea HERE contains: Oatstraw, Nettles, Elderberries, Cacao Nibs, & Peppermint.
4. Boosts Libido
Surprisingly, along with its calming effect on the nervous system, oatstraw can also increase libido for both men and women.
It's thought to do this by supporting the endocrine system and regulating the hormones that support a healthy sex drive. Try a combination of oatstraw and damiana root to boost libido.
5. Heart Health
Just like oatmeal is considered a heart-healthy grain, oatstraw also has benefits for heart health.
It contains a rich source of antioxidants called avenanthramides. Avenanthramides have been found to reduce inflammation that contributes to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
6. Healthy Bones, Hair, and Skin
The silica, calcium, and other minerals in oatstraw provide the nutrients needed for healthy hair and nails. It contains an easily assimilated form of calcium that also supports strong bones and teeth.
Oats have long been used as a remedy for itchy and dry skin. Milky oats can be used in a warm bath just like common oats to soothe and hydrate irritated skin.
Adding an oatstraw infusion to bathwater will also have benefits for skin and nails.
How To Use Oatstraw or Milky Oats
The most common way to use oatstraw is as a tea or infusion.
You can find it in our Afternoon Delight Tea! A mixture of A combination of Nettle, Oatstraw, Elderberries, Cacao Nibs, & Peppermint. It's the perfect afternoon pick-me-up when yawning starts sneaking in.
DIY Oatstraw Infusions:
- 1 oz. dried oatstraw
- 4 cups boiling water
Instructions: Add dried herb in a quart jar or other glass container. Pour the boiling water over the oatstraw, cover with a cloth, and let it steep overnight. Strain out the herbs and refrigerate if not using right away.
You can drink the infusion throughout the day to support your body and nervous system. Or drink a cup of it before bedtime to help with sleep.
To relieve dry and itchy skin, add about two cups of oatstraw infusion to warm bathwater. Or add 1/2-1 cup of milky or regular oats to a muslin bag or old nylon.
Tie the bag and let the water run over it as you fill your bath. Squeeze oat milk from the bag into the water and directly onto your skin.
Oats, oatstraw, and milky oats are very safe and can be used even during pregnancy and nursing. They are gentle enough for babies and children.
The main precaution to be aware of is that oats can become contaminated with gluten during processing. Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should use oats and oatstraw that are certified as gluten-free.