Oat straw comes from the same plant as the rolled oats in your cereal. The common oat used in herbal supplements and foods is derived from wild species that have since been cultivated. Native to the Mediterranean region, oats were first cultivated in much of Europe by 2000 BC. The straw left from the harvest of the grains is the herbal oat straw. Oats are now grown worldwide. For herbal supplements, the green or rapidly dried aerial parts of the plant are harvested just before reaching full flower.
History of Avena Sativa:
Oatmeal has been traditionally considered a nutritive and demulcent, once prescribed for habitual constipation. Avena Sativa was served to convalescing patients as gruel. Oats are used to treat nervous exhaustion, insomnia and "weakness of the nerves". A tea made from oats was thought to be useful in rheumatic conditions and to treat water retention. When used in baths, it was good for skin disorders. Also, a tincture of the green tops of oat was used to help with withdrawal from alcohol addiction, although originally it was used for morphine withdrawal.
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Oat straw, primarily in the form of a tincture or tea from the green tops, is valuable as a diuretic. Avena Sativa is said to lower uric acid levels in the blood. Avena Sativa has also been known to increase libido.
The fruits (seeds) contain alkaloids, such as gramine and avenine, as well as saponins, such as avenacosides A and B. The seeds are also rich in iron, manganese and zinc. The straw is high in silica. Oats alkaloids are believed to account for a relaxing action. The beta-glucan found in oats may be helpful in lowering triglycerides.
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