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From Oats….to Oatstraw

Oats have been a staple food for many generations but not all oats have the same nutrition we are looking for in our food. Unstabalised Oats or Oat Groats are a great way to get the best out of our oats. A little more soaking or cooking is needed but, the benefits far out way the extra effort! The regular consumption of Oats helps to promote healthy skin, hair, nails and teeth. Whole oats help to lower cholesterol and provide a particularly nourishing food for the blood and fibre for the bowel.

And then there’s Oatstraw…

The tradition of using the ‘straw’, the dried herb of the oats plant, as a medicine also goes back a long way and has a strong theme of being used for nervous system disease and debility.

Oats have been used to treat conditions such as headaches, migraines, shingles and fatigue. Oats tincture and Oatstraw tea have been recommended for degenerative wasting conditions such as multiple sclerosis and there is a history of using Oats in epilepsy treatments.

In Europe there is a long tradition of using Oatstraw in baths as a treatment for rheumatism and painful muscles as well as for kidney of bladder problems.

Oats have been used to help lift a depressed mood and help people who are withdrawing from addictive drugs or alcohol.

This has been copied from RW Whelan’s excerpt from works by Finlay Ellingwood that was published nearly a century ago… amazing!

Physiological Action—Its selective influence is directly upon the brain and upon the nutritive functions of the organism, increasing nerve force and improving the nutrition of the entire system. The influence of a single full dose is promptly felt, similar to the influence of any active stimulant, but more permanent. It is a stimulant, sedative and direct nutritive tonic, apparently restoring the wasted elements of nerve force.

Specific Symptomatology—The following indications for the use of this remedy are given by King: Spasmodic and nervous disorders, with exhaustion; the nervous debility of convalescence, cardiac weakness, from nervous exhaustion….in general neurasthenia it promptly relieves the almost unbearable occiputal headache common with nervous exhaustion.

It is a remedy of great utility in loss of nerve power and in muscular feebleness from lack of nerve force. In the overworked conditions of brain workers; ministers, physicians or lawyers—in the general prostration from great anxiety and worry. With these, there is so-called nervous dyspepsia, atonicity, in fact, of the entire gastrointestinal tract. There is heart feebleness with some irregularity; there is cool skin and cool or cold extremities: there is melancholia, irritability, peevishness, vagaries of thought, morbid desires and fancies, usually accompanied with autotoxemia which demands persistent elimination. With these avena is directly indicated. In sexual neurasthenia it is the remedy par excellence, as it has a selective influence upon the nerve structure of the genito-urinary apparatus.

Therapy—It will be found directly serviceable in paralysis and wasting disease of the aged, in nerve tremors, and especially in chorea and in paralysis agitans. It has been beneficial in epilepsy. In the convalescence of prostrating disease, and during the asthenic or later stages of inflammatory disease… because of its selective action upon the nervous structure which supplies the reproductive organs, it will be found to allay nervous excitement, nervous palpitation of the heart, insomnia and mental weakness, or failure and general debility. It is a sovereign remedy in impotency. This writer has had better satisfaction in the use of this agent in the temporary impotence of young newly married men, than from any other single remedy or combination of remedies. If there be prostatic or other local irritation, a combination of this agent with saw palmetto will cover the field. The nervous headaches of the menstrual epoch, especially those accompanied with burning on the top of the head, and sick headaches apparently from disordered stomach at this time, or in fact sick headache at any time if accompanied with nervous weakness, are all promptly benefited by Avena Sativa… In atonic amenorrhea with great feebleness, it is valuable. In neuralgic and congestive dysmenorrhea, with slow and imperfect circulation and cold skin and extremities, it is an excellent remedy.

 This agent exercises a restorative power in overcoming the habits of alcohol, tobacco, morphine, and opium. It will enhance the value of other prescribed agents. There is no danger of forming the habit of taking Avena, as it can be suddenly abandoned at any time without evil consequences, even when given in large quantities”

The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia (BHP) describes the actions of Oats root as ‘antidepressive, thymoleptic (a medicine that modifies a patient’s mood) and a cardiac tonic’. It says it is indicated for ‘depression, melancholia, menopausal neurasthenia ( a condition characterized by lassitude, fatigue, headache, and irritability, associated chiefly with emotional disturbance) and general debility and that it is specifically indicated for depressive states’. The BHP suggests combining it with Skullcap and recommends a dose of 1-5mls of the 1:5 tincture in 45% ethanol.

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