Avena sativa, also called wild oats, groats, straw or oat straw, are grasses native to Scotland. All of the immature plant is used for medicinal purposes except for the roots. If the plant is allowed to mature, then it is dried and the seeds are removed and used as the popular grain known as oats. The entire plant is nutrient rich and is commonly taken as a tea.
According to herbalist Michael Tierra, herbal diuretics such as:
- oat straw work by increasing urine flow
- They are used to treat obesity
- lymphatic swelling
- nerve inflammation
- urinary tract infections
- kidney stones
- skin eruptions 1
MayoClinic.Com says diuretics work by forcing your kidneys to put more sodium into your urine, which will take more water along with it. By having less fluid running through your veins, it puts less pressure on your artery walls. The oat plant, including oat straw, is considered safe, but you should first speak to your physician before using oat straw as a diuretic to prevent any other medical complications.
Oat straw, taken as a tea or extract, is used by herbalists as a tonic to fend off depression. Oat straw is commonly used in traditional and herbal medicine to nourish and strengthen the central nervous system. It is also considered a stimulant that homeopaths will use to help treat liver infections and arthritis.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, taking oat straw can help prevent or treat osteoporosis by increasing hormone levels that stimulate cell growth. Wild oats, including oat straw, are commonly sold as a supplement for male enhancement, though it has not yet been clinically proven to do so.
Cooled, prepared oat straw tea can be placed directly on your skin or added to a bath that can help nourish dry skin as well as treat mild eczema. Oat straw is also used as a folk remedy to treat warts. Because oat straw contains high amounts of silica, which is the main ingredient in our nails, it can help keep your toenails and fingernails strong and free from splitting. Oat straw has emollient qualities that can benefit your hair. Use the tea as a hair rinse to add body and shine.
- "The Way of Herbs"; Michael Tierra; 1998
- Oat image by Dennis Kornilov from Fotolia.com