Oats, Avena sativa
In the spring, we plant a cover crop of oats and field peas. The peas add nitrogen to the soil and the oats increase biomass and provide a structure for the peas to grow on. Also, come summer, we can harvest the oat tops for medicine. A perfect example of a multifaceted approach to growing our own medicine.
We time the harvest to collect the seeds when they are at the “milky” stage, when the seeds are the most nourishing. The seeds can be dried for tea infusions or tinctured fresh. There is an excellent blog post by a VT herbalist all about how to make a tincture from milky oats, including links to lots of information about the medicinal properties of milky oats. To dry the seeds, lay them out on a tray or screen for a few days until dry.
Milky oats are used as a tonic and nourishment for the nervous system. Oats are restorative and grounding, offering support for stress, anxiety, some forms of depression and symptoms of drug withdrawal.
Add oats to your herbal infusions for a slightly sweet and nourishing tea. We love making a long mineral-rich infusion (6 hours or more) of milky oats, tulsi, nettles and calendula flowers for nourishing the nervous system. Here are some other combination ideas:
Women’s Tonic Tea – Refreshing and nourishing tonic. Combine and prepare as an infusion 2 parts lemon balm, 2 parts nettle, 2 parts mint, 2 parts raspberry leaf and 1 part milky oats. Drink 3 to 4 cups daily.
Blend equal amounts of lemon balm, oats and chamomile and drink daily.
Cautions/Contraindications: Oats may be too sweet and damp for some constitutions or those with hypoglycemia. Also take caution with severe celiac disease.
Disclaimer: The information on this page has not been approved by the FDA. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before using herbal products. We do not endorse the websites linked to in the resources and have not extensively reviewed all the information on external pages for accuracy. Everyone reacts differently to herbs and we do not attempt to be completely inclusive in the information and contraindications for each herb.