Milky Oats: the herb that soothes and coats

oats

Oats gone to seed, lithograph

Common Name:  Oats
Latin name:  Avena sativa
Family:  Poaceae (Grass family)
Parts used:  fresh milky green seed heads, dried stalk, dried seeds
Tissue or system affinity:  nervous system, mucous membranes, skin
Taste:  slightly sweet
Energetics:  neutral & moistening
Actions:  nervine, nutritive, mineralizer

Uses:  Oats are really overlooked as an herb.  Milky oats (tincture of the milky seed heads) are used to restore depleted, overstimulated, and damaged nerves.  Some herbalists classify milky oats as a trophorestorative, which refers to an herb that has a particular affinity for an organ or organ system that corrects imbalance through vital nourishment and replenishment.

The dried stalk (oatstraw) is used as an herbal infusion to remineralize the body (calcium, magnesium, other nutrients and trace minerals).  It is commonly prepared as an infusion which is a longer steep of 2-4 hours.  You can drink 2-4 cups at a time.

Oat porridge is traditionally used in many cultures as a easy-to-digest food for those who are ill or recovering from illness.  It will also moisten dry mucous membranes (think of the mouth all the way south) and soothe irritated, red skin (oat bath).

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