Latin: Avena sativa
Parts Used: Seeds and grass
Taste/Energetics: Sweet, neutral, slightly warming.
Properties: Anxiolytic, nutritive tonic (straw), nervous system tonic (mily oats), antispasmodic
Actions: There are two main ways to work with this plant. The first is to work with the Oat tops when they are harvested with an unripe seed at their “milky” stage- thus the term Milky Oats. The second is to work with the plant in whole form, cut up as “straw”. In the first case, milky oats is one of the best nervous system restoratives out there and is one of my main go-tos in case of exhaustion, weaknesss, severe shock and trauma with associated depression, listlessness and dissociation. The exhaustion might also show up also as frequent colds, poor sex drive, digestion and elimination. Milky oats brings you back slowly and gently. Yes it is anxiolytic but also invigorating and strengthening. Taken regularly it steadily rebuilds the vital force. Herbalist Kiva Rose writes “It is a profound restorative for the nervous and endocrine systems which are so easily depleted by a stressful lifestyle and bad diet. It’s no replacement for proper nutritional therapy but an excellent therapeutic agent for the process of healing. It seems to directly provide a special sort of “nerve food” for the body, to rebuild the nervous apparatus in a way that is both nutritional and yet more.”
Oat straw is the whole form of the grass and is somewhat different in effect. While milky oats seems to have a direct relaxant quality on the nerves, oat straw is more nutritional and indeed is used as a food for both humans and animals. It is a deeply nourishing herb filled with vitamins and minerals. This is an herb that works over time to strengthen those who are exhausted, malnourished, weak, feeble with anxious depression. There may be a feeling of fear, of things being too much. Oat straw is calming, strengthening and vitalizing.
Dosage: Commonly milky oats is taken in a tincture 1-2 ML as needed or added to tea formulas of 1-3 tsp. Oat straw is best taken in large amounts in tea form. This is one of Susun Weed’s standard rotated large batch infusions. She suggests taking an ounce of oat straw infused in a quart of hot water for at least 4 hours.
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Oats monograph by Lara Pacheco (Herb Rally)
Milky Oats by Kiva Rose