Milky Oats~ Avena sativa Plant Monograph
Updated: Dec 3, 2019
Botanical ID: Common, easy to grow annual Cover crop. Adds biomass to soil, best planted with peas (mutually beneficial, nitrogen fixing, medicine, food source). Grass Family plant, seeds look like a mobile, dangling out sideways. There are two awns that jut out. Both the unripe seed and straw are used in different ways for medicine.
Energetics: Moistening, neutral, demulcent, vulnerary, sweet, nutritious.
Nervine, Alterative, Sedative, Nutritive to the nervous system, cerebral trophorestorative. High in minerals, protein, latex, silica flavones, glycosides, vitamin E and starch.
Harvest: The immature seed is used, which exudes a milky latex and “pops” when you squeeze the head. The window of harvest is small and if you don’t pay attention, it will be do late. I’ve noticed this specific ripe stage lasts one to two weeks and requires patience and constant checking in.
Use: Avena Sativa is the ideal medicine for a depleted nervous system, accompanied by heart palpitations, irritability, mental and physical exhaustion, insomnia, nervous system irritation and loss of libido (especially due to stress). Oat has an affinity for “feeding” the nervous system. Think back to the old remedy of adding rolled Oats to your bath in order to soothe the kind of itch that makes you want to crawl out of your skin. Hot, inflamed, irritated.
Oat medicine can help with both exogenous and endogenous “crawling out of your skin” feelings. Perfect for soothing individuals who are “frazzled, wired and tired”.
Milky Oat seed has been used to treat addictive habits from opium, morphine, nicotine, alcohol, and coffee and support the recovery process. Oat seed combines well with most other Nervines, both relaxant and stimulant to strengthen the whole nervous system. Oats also help to restore the Myelin Sheath, which surround and protect the nerves.
Oat Straw is high in silica which helps strengthen the connective tissues of the brain, nerve cells, spinal cord as well as hair, skin and nails. Oat Straw is high in minerals and is a nice addition to a tea blend.
Personal note: During a really intense breakup a few years ago, I was harvesting Milky Oat and blending the tincture up in the heat of it all... because, priorities. The tension, the frazzled nerves… everything seemed to be on fire and inflamed. Cue the sympathetic nervous system response, aka fight or flight mode.
After I moved out, the utter exhaustion, inability to focus, lack of strength, chronic fatigue, and feelings of numbness flooded my nervous system. I felt too depleted to know what to do or how to help myself. I turned to family and friends for nourishment. Later, as I was decanting the Milky Oat tincture, I laughed out loud to myself in a “DUH” sort of way. This was the exact medicine I needed while going through this painful and draining experience (along with Rose, Hawthorne and Mimosa for the processing of grief) Great timing, thank you Avena.
Dosage and Preparation: There is a lot of debate on the best percentage of alcohol to extract Milky Oat at. Generally the dose is 2-5ml of tincture three times a day. Some say 1:5 25% ETOH (dry) is a good way to tincture. I’ve found the best way is fresh seed blended in a blender 1:2 at 60% ETOH. Others say 1:2 or 1:3 at %75-95% alcohol. For folks with alcohol issues you can use Apple cider Vinegar, which is wonderful at extracting the minerals. Use caution in Latex allergies and Celiac disease.
I use homegrown Milky Oat Seed in my Adrenal Support Formula. I also have it available as a Single tincture and love doing custom formulas! Let me know if you’d like some soothing Avena medicine in your life.