Discovering Herbs: Avena sativa (oats)
A warming bowl of porridge in the morning is a great way to start the day. As well as being tasty, it is an excellent restorative breakfast and actually has many health benefits. It helps lower blood cholesterol, stabilises the blood sugar and has a gentle calming effect helping us to face the day ahead.
It is also understandable that not everyone has time in the morning to make porridge but you can have the same health benefits by taking a tincture of the herb on a regular basis. A herbal tincture of Avena sativa, the very same oats you use to make porridge, is a wonderful restorative for those suffering from nervous debility, fatigue, neuralgia or over-work! This is because Avena is a nourishing herb, helpful in any state of debility and exhaustion, and especially relevant during a period of convalescence or when stress levels are running high. This is because of the high nutritional content of the herb, which helps to restore strength and vitality to the body.
It is particularly suited as a long term treatment in nervous debility where it makes gradual but sustained progress. This means it can be used for those with neuralgia and neuritis. A little known benefit of Avena is that, if it is taken as part of a regime for those attempting to withdraw from an addiction to alcohol, smoking, tranquillisers or other drugs, it can ease the transition and make the whole withdrawal process a lot easier on the individual undertaking it.
It is a mild sedative and helps you sleep, properties that are thought to be due to the alkaloid, gramine. Another alkaloid in Avena, avenine, stimulates the central nervous system and is the constituent that causes horses fed on large quantities of oats to become highly excitable! This illustrates nicely the concept that herbs contain a diverse range of constituents which, when taken in the correct amounts, provide a balancing effect.
So ‘getting our oats’ in the form of a bowl of porridge or a dash of Avena sativa tincture can really help us have a healthy start to the day!