Basic Information

Common name: Oats

Other Names: Oatstraw, Wild Oat, Groats

Latin Binomial: Avena sativa

Parts Used: Seed, Spikelets, Oat Bran





Medicinal Uses

Oats are high in protein and thus serve as a good nutritive herb. It has nervine properties that promote recovery from illness and depressive states (Hoffmann, 2003). It also drives down cholesterol levels due to the soluble fiber content that binds to cholesterol and prevents it from being absorbed and re-circulated. The bound cholesterol is then excreted as waste along with the fiber.


Key Constituents

  • Triterpenoid saponins
  • Phenolic Acids
  • Alkaloids
  • Sterol
  • Flavonoids
  • Coumarins
  • Silicic Acid
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B-Complex
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K


  • Vitamin E
  • Fixed Oil


  • Protein
  • Flavones



  • Nervine tonic
  • Antidepressant
  • Nutritive
  • Demulcent
  • Vulnerary


Body Organs Acted Upon

  • Nervous
  • Skin


When and How to Use It

Can be used topically in baths by steeping 16 oz. of oats in 2 quarts of boiling water for 30 minutes, then pour in bath. Alternatively, put 16 oz. of shredded oatstraw in a muslin bag and put into hot bath water. Similarly, can be soaked in a small amount of water with the resulting milky water applied directly to patches of dry skin.

Can be used internally as a tincture or infusion to strengthen the central nervous system. Tincture dosage is 3 to 5 ml, three times per day. Make an infusion using 1 to 3 teaspoons of dried straw to 1 cup of boiling water and let steep for 10-15 minutes; drink three times per day.


Safety Considerations

Alcohol tinctures of oat should not be taken in combination with morphine or nicotine as it will exacerbate the effect. Neither should alcohol tinctures be taken during pregnancy and lactation. No adverse effects occurred during sensitization studies in patients with biopsy-confirmed dermatitis and those with celiac disease and dermatitis.



Bone, Kerry and Mills, Simon (2013). Principles and practice of phytotherapy: Modern herbal medicine, 2nd ed. Churchill Livingstone, Elsevier, Ltd. China.

Chevallier, Andrew (2000). Encyclopedia of herbal medicine: The definitive reference to 550 herbs and remedies for common ailments, 2nd ed. Dorling Kindersley. New York, NY.

Hoffmann, David. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Healing Arts Press. Rochester, VT.

Marieb, E.N. (2015). Essentials of human anatomy and physiology, 11th ed. Pearson Education, Inc. Glenview, IL.

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