oatstraw large Oatstraw

Oatstraw | Avena sativa

general characteristics


general characteristics

Common names include oat straw, oatgrass, green oats, milky oats.

Oats are a cereal grass, a member of the family Poaceae, whose wild uncultivated ancestors originated in western Asia before spreading east into the Middle East and Europe.

Thought to have been introduced to Britain by the Romans as an animal feed, oats have been consumed for centuries as a staple and nutritious grain food. Less known are the medicinal and nutritional qualities of the oat stalk or 'straw' as many herbalists call it. All in all oatstraw is a very useful and versatile herb to have in the cupboard, effective for many modern health issues stemming from lack of nutrition, chronic stress and tension and chronic illness.


Organic oatstraw tincture and dried herb are available to buy in our herbal shop.


harvesting and preparation

harvesting and preparation

The excellent nutritional value of the oat seed itself is well known but the grass like stem of the plant is very rich in nutrients too and is the part most often used by herbalists (sometimes the flowering tops are included also with the straw). Oats are actually quite easy to grow if you can set aside a sunny well drained patch and allow it to become a mini oat field. Sow seeds in Spring on well drained bare soil and water well initially. Remember oats are a cereal grass so anywhere you might sow wild grasses or meadow flowers is suitable for growing oats. Sow in rows or patches for easy harvest.

Harvest the straw when the seeds ooze a milky fluid when squeezed by the fingers. Cut the stems near the ground and lay out on trays to dry or hang in small bunches somewhere warm. You can pick off the flowering seed heads and use separately or leave them attached for a whole oatsraw and flowering tops batch ('milky oats'). Allow to dry thoroughly before cutting into smaller pieces with a scissors and storing in an airtight jar somewhere cool, dark and dry.

Organic oatstraw tincture and dried herb are available to buy in our herbal shop.


therapeutic actions and uses

therapeutic actions and uses

Whereas oats (the grain used in porridge etc) are renowned for their nutrient content and slightly stimulating action, oat straw is valuable to help feed, soothe and support the nerves. The straw (stalk or stem) and flowering tops of the oat plant is a perfect example of a plant that encompasses both food and medicine. When the green unripe oats (the immature grain or seed) are included with the dried straw material this is known as 'milky oats' and is considered even more potent than straw alone.

Oatstraw is a prime nervine tonic herb, rich in nutrients needed by the nervous system such as magnesium, calcium (easily absorbable form) and B vitamins, including folic acid. It is valued amongst plant remedy lovers for its incredibly fortifying action on the nervous system, which in turn eases the whole mind and body into a sense of rest and deep nourishment.

Oatstraw has some remarkable actions on the brain, nervous system and muscles. It increases cerebral blood flow which makes it an ideal remedy for conditions such as stroke (preventative and curative), memory loss, it increases cognitive abilities (and is even considered nootropic by many, great link here), ADHD, hyperactivity, Alzheimers, Parkinsons disease, senility, seizures, psychosomatic disorders, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, post-viral fatigue, dementia and bi-polar disorders.

Oatstraw is the ideal remedy for depression as it doesn't over-stimulate as many anti-depressant remedies can do. Instead it gradually imparts a sense of well being and ease of mind, the perfect plant for those alternating between bouts of depression and anxiety.

The tea is effective against the 'negative' emotional states such as stress, tension, irritability, anger, frustration, grief, despair and anxiety. Oatstraw encourages the brain into an alpha wave pattern and an increase in dopamine levels associated with states of relaxation, joy and peacefulness.

Oatstraw helps to increase energy and stamina, both physically and mentally. Combats exhaustion, fatigue and makes a great tea for those who are  suffering or convalescing from chronic long term illness or stress and tension. This may seem contradictory considering that it is also helpful for de-stressing and relaxation. If you consider that exhaustion, depression and fatigue often result form a lack of nutrients or from persistent stress or chronic illness for example you will see how oatstraw first nourishes and relaxes which in turn leads to greater energy and stamina.

The tea can help improve the general health of muscles and all connective tissues. I would include it in any formula to help improve symptoms of MS, ease cramps and restless leg syndrome, nervous tics or twitches, lumbago, hernia, dislocations or structural mis-alignments, fallen arches and flat feet.

When made into an infusion and the liquid is used as a wash or in a bath, it is very soothing to the skin. Itchy skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, irritations from infections or rashes from rubella  chicken pox, shingles can be all be eased and the skin left soft and moisturised. Oats themselves will also be very effective so both grain and straw can be used together.

It is often used by people to increase bone strength, flexibility and density and is ideal for preventing and correcting osteoporosis and loss of bone mass and can help build bone mass in rickets and speed up healing of bone fractures and breaks. A mild tasting daily tea for young children suffering from growing pains. It helps speed up bone healing and connective tissue repair and improve healing after dislocations. The straw is also rich in silica which is needed by all connective tissues. It has a long history of use in cases of rheumatism and is useful for all types of connective tissue strengthening including cartilage, ligaments, tendons, teeth, hair and nails.

Oatstraw also has a wide range of therapeutic effects on the heart and entire cardiovascular system, both heart and blood vessels. It improves cholesterol profile by lowering overall levels if they are too high and helps to clean and keep clear the blood vessels of sticky sludge and plaque. It helps keep blood vessels pliable and elastic and will even help with palpitations and similar conditions. Oatstraw tea is useful as a daily tea for conditions such as high cholesterol, arteriosclerosis, atheroma, varicose veins, haemorrhoids and high blood pressure. Combine with nettle leaf for even more potent effects.

Can be a great help when withdrawing from other medications such as benzodiazepines, valium, opiates and recreational drugs. Oats and oatstraw (milky oats) have a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine for assisting with opium withdrawal in addicts, some say tobacco withdrawal too. Also useful for nicotine withdrawl when giving up cigarettes. It gives a vital boost of nutrients and assists the nervous system in settling back to normal brain chemistry and rebalances metabolism.

Oats have a reputation for enhancing sexual appetite (sowing your wild oats, etc, etc) but even the straw enhances sexual function and is a decent remedy for male impotence (especially stress related) and will restore libido over time, as well as nourish and invigorate all the hormone producing glands
Oatstraw also stimulates and nourishes the ovaries in such a way as to increase hormone production, including testosterone which can with regular use, increase the libido and a healthy appetite for sex in females at any stage of life. It will also stimulate ovulation in females so if taken regularly can encourage hormones back into balance during phases of menstrual irregularities.

Oatstraw is a great ally for many female complaints too. It makes a really nutrient rich tea during pregnancy, can help ease post-natal depression and increase and enrich milk production when breast feeding. A very useful remedy during the entire menopause as it helps stabilise the mood, calms anger bursts and hot flushes, promotes strong dense bones and helps prevent osteoporosis,  helps with sleep disturbances and insomnia, provides energy and nutrients, enhances female libido and is excellent to restore lubrication and moisture in cases of vaginal dryness.

Oatstraw helps to remove heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and chromium from the blood.
The tea also helps stabilise blood sugar, benefits the health of the pancreas and nourishes and improves the functioning of all the endocrine (hormone producing) glands including the thyroid, gallbladder, adrenals, ovaries and testes.

Oatstraw makes a nourishing and supportive drink to all going through puberty.
A lovely article on the restorative properties of oatstraw.

dosage and cautions

dosage and cautions

* Use with caution in gluten intolerance as some dried oatsraw will include flowering tops with immature oat seeds/ grains.

Tincture : 1/2 - 1 teaspoonful up to 3 times daily.

Dried oatstraw tea:  1 teaspoon (up to 2 teaspoons per cup for short term use) of dried herb per cup, up to 3 cups daily. Best if infused for several hours or overnight.......add 3-6 heaped teaspoons of oatstraw into a large jug or pan and add at least 3 mugs worth of boiling water. Cover and stand for several hours or overnight. Strain off a half cup then top up with boiling water. Drink all the infused liquid in the pan throughout the day, either alone or added to other herb teas.
* Add a handful of straw to a muslin bag or clean sock and add to a bath once or twice a week for soothing nerves and general healing.
* Oatstraw combines well with other nutrient rich herbs in tea form such as nettle, raspberry leaf and alfalfa.
* Oatstraw is a very safe herb and can be taken regularly for long periods with no ill effects at all from my experience. It forms a major part of my nutrient tea which I take almost daily.


Add 12 to the child’s age. Divide the child’s age by the total.
E.g. dosage for a 4 year old...... 4 {age} divided by 16 {age + 12} = . 25  or 1/4 of the adult dosage.





Child watering plants




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