Oats: Herbal Remedies


©2007 Publications International Oats are used in herbal remedies for the skin and the body.

Native to southern Europe and eastern Asia, oats are not only good for your insides, they are good for your skin as well.

Uses of Oats

Oats are nourishing because they contain starches, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, and though they contain some fat, they are low in saturated fat, which makes them a healthy choice. A serving of hot oat bran cereal provides about four grams of dietary fiber. Some types of dietary fiber bind to cholesterol, and since fiber is not absorbed by the body, neither is the cholesterol. A number of clinical trials have found that regular consumption of oat bran reduces blood cholesterol levels by about 10 percent in just one month.

Oats have been used topically to heal wounds and various skin rashes and diseases. Soaps and various bath-and-body products made from oats are readily available. Oatmeal baths are wonderful for soothing dry, flaky skin or allaying itching in cases of poison oak and chicken pox. (Hint: Don't dump oatmeal right in the bath; it will make a mess. Either grind it into a fine powder or wrap it in a cloth or old nylon stocking.)

Because oats are believed to have a calming effect, herbalists recommend them to help ease the frustration and anxiety that often accompany nicotine and drug withdrawal. Oats contain the alkaloid gramine, which has been credited with mild sedative properties.

Keep reading to learn about warnings and preparations for oats.

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This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.

Oats Preparations and Warnings

Like all herbs, there are some precautions you should take before using oats medicinally.

Oats Preparations and Dosage

Oatmeal is the most common oat preparation. Whole oats, rolled oats, and oat flour are available. Oat straw and whole dried oat groats may be tinctured and used as a medicine, but oats are more commonly dried for teas. Tinctures are also available, made from the milky white secretion of the fresh oat plant. Tea: Infuse 1 tablespoon of oats or green oats per cup of hot water. Drink several cups a day. Tincture: Take 1 to 2 droppers (1/2 to 1 teaspoon), three to four times a day.

Oats Precautions and Warnings

As with all high-fiber foods, oats should be eaten with plenty of liquid to ensure dispersal in the digestive tract. Other than allergy or intolerance to oats, no toxicity has been noted.

Side Effects of Oats

Although fiber helps to cleanse bowels, some people experience discomfort after suddenly increasing fiber consumption. If you have irritable bowel syndrome, your symptoms may be aggravated by abrupt addition of oat bran to your diet. But most people can tolerate gradual increases in oat bran consumption. Some people with a food intolerance of (or allergy to) oats may experience an eczemalike rash when handling oatmeal or oat flour. If you cannot tolerate eating oatmeal, avoid using oat-based medications.

To learn more about treating common medical conditions at home, try the following links:

Jennifer Brett, N.D. is director of the Acupuncture Institute for the University of Bridgeport, where she also serves on the faculty for the College of Naturopathic Medicine. A recognized leader in her field with an extensive background in treating a wide variety of disorders utilizing nutritional and botanical remedies, Dr. Brett has appeared on WABC TV (NYC) and on Good Morning America to discuss utilizing herbs for health.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.