Avena sativa, otherwise known as the “common oat,” is the same plant that provides us with oatmeal, but the fresh version of this herb is quite different. In the young, green, “milky” stage when the immature oat seed is fresh and moist, the plant offers a unique quality as a trophorestorative — an excellent tonic/food for the nervous system. It must be gathered fresh in this young stage and quickly processed into an alcoholic or glycerite extract. This product was a specialty of the Eclectic Physicians of the mid-to-late 1800s who employed it to soothe temporary anxiety, sleeplessness, to uplift the mood, and as a deep tonic for the nervous system.

Today it is often use to offering nourishing support for those getting over addiction, including from cigarettes, sleep aids, and other prescription meds, and to soothe withdrawal discomforts . It is also used for nervous exhaustion, calm anxious states, to nourish and support during times of emotional stress, and for excessive sensitivity. It also helps to ease PMS discomforts and menopausal mood swings, and overall for anytime nerves are fragile or tense. Those with adrenal fatigue or stressed immunity may also benefit, as will those with simple daily stress. Type A personalities who burn the candle at both ends will find this fresh tincture of great benefit. You can “sow your wild oats” with this herb that helps to balance the endocrine system and support a healthy libido.

The fruiting tops and the stalk (known as oat straw) are rich in minerals and trace nutrients including iron, calcium, magnesium, silica, phosphorus, chromium, and vitamins A, B, and C. This herb has a mild flavor and can be synergistically combined with other herbal adaptogens or tonics.

The green oat tops can also be dried and used as tea, though slightly less desirable than the freshly made tincture. Use one ounce of dried green oat tops to one quart of boiling water. Steep, cover until warm, and enjoy in sips throughout the day. This herb can also be added to soup stock.

There are no known contraindications for this gentle herb, but those with celiac disease may want to be cautious due to cross-contamination with wheat and/or sensitivity to avenanthramides.

Writer Mindy Green is a founding and professional member of the American Herbalists Guild and an advisory board member to the American Botanical Council, publisher of Herbal Gram Magazine. Ms. Green served on the faculty of the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies (1995-2003). The California School of Herbal Studies is among Mindy’s business ventures as co-owner and a faculty member (1985-1995). She is a nationally certified Registered Aromatherapist and has served on the education committees of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists and the Aromatherapy Registration Council. She now runs her own consulting company, Green Scentsations, LLC.

 A prolific writer and lecturer, Ms. Green has authored over 60 published articles on herbs, aromatherapy, skin care, holistic health and integrative care.  She is co-author of Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art; author of Calendula and Natural Perfumes, and has contributed to numerous books on herbs and healing.  As a botanical-therapies expert, she has been interviewed more than 400 times by leading magazines and newspapers.

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or to sell any product.