The Natural Way

Wednesday, August 1, 2001

It's difficult to be funny when describing Avena sativa, or commonly, - oats. I like to use humor 'cause the chuckle helps carry the message home and feels good at the same time - kinda like swallowing cherry-flavored medicine. Oats makes it tough, as some people think of oats as a large mass of sticky, clumpy mucilage you pour milk on to eat when it's cold outside. I think this is the national glue of Scotland.

But oats are good for you and some people really do like their flavor. They are nutritious and have helped many people reduce calories and cholesterol levels. However, I'll be talking about the use of the herb in stem, fruit and whole seed form.

The old herbalists classified oats as a nervine, tonic, antispasmodic and stimulant. The stimulant effect is clear from the herbal signature of "feeling your oats" or "sowing your wild oats." Need I be more graphic?

Oats in tea form works so well as it is chock full of nutrition, bordering at about 45 elements, such as arginine (thus the "sowing your wild oats"), lysine (cholesterol), trytophan (calming) and most of the vitamins and minerals. The chemical constituent list count approaches 50 with beta sitosterol, oxalic acid, quercetin and vanillin standing out. And these are just the ones science knows about.

Granny would borrow the oat stem from the barn, brew a tea then use it for gastroenteritis, dyspepsia, colic, calming the nerves, boosting an exhausted person, helping with croup, bronchitis, coughs, withdrawal from nicotine, drugs, uterine disorders and giving grandpa a little boost on Saturday night when she wanted him boosted.

The tea has a light taste with a very light color as though it has trapped sunlight in it. Oats isn't a magic herb but because grandma gave it to him on Saturday night, grandpa would certainly have thought it to be magic and another little gift from heaven.

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