Other Names: Avoine (French); Hafer (German); avena (Italian); avena (Spanish).
Description: Oats is an annual grass of up to 1 m in height with hollow stems and characteristically nodding spikelets, each protected by two large, leafy, persistent glumes.
Origin: Mediterranean region (southern parts of Europe and North Africa to Ethiopia); nowadays cultivated in many parts of the world.
Parts Used: The aerial parts, harvested just before full flowering are a traditional product known as oats (green tops) or Avenae herba recens. Oats straw (Avenae stramentum) and the ripe, dried oats fruits (Avenae fructin) are also used.
Uses and Properties: Oats straw (added to a bath) is considered effective for the support for inflammatory and seborrhoeic skin problem. Oats grain is a useful dietary supplement in cases of general weakness, and dietary disturbances. Oat bran in daily doses of 100 g is thought to maintain cholesterol in a healthy range. Green oats is claimed to have a sedative effect (reduced craving in smoking cessation).
Active Ingredients: Oats herb and straw contains high levels of soluble silica and minerals (iron, manganese and zinc). The presence of amino acids, vitamins (especially of the B-group), minerals, trace elements and polysaccharides are important in nutrition. Of interest is the presence of triterpene saponins (avenacin A and B; avenacosides A, B), scopoletin and a simple indole alkaloid (gramine).
Health Effects: The therapeutic value of oats straw may be due to the silica and mineral content. Dietary benefits are clearly derived from the nutritional value of oats. Other claimed health benefits are not yet supported by scientific evidence. It is speculated that the sedative (calming) effect is due to grarnine, while the anti-atherosclerotic activity may be linked to the gel-forming dietary fibre in oat bran. Human studies involving oat bran have shown possible cholesterol lowering activity.
Status: Traditional health; dietary supplement; Comm. E+ (oat straw only).
Preparation and Dosage: 100 g of oats straw is added to one full bath. The grain is used as part of the diet or infusions and liquid extracts are prepared from fresh or dried plant material.
Take 1 capsule, 3 times daily, with meals.
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