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Avena sativa

A member of the grass family, Oats are a well known grain that is particularly well adapted to our wet and cold northern climes. It fares especially well in Scotland, where it is held in great esteem. Porridge, oatcakes and similar food stuff is what is said to give the Scottish their strength and endurance. Oats, containing a wide range of amino acids, vitamins and minerals, are highly nutritious and porridge is probably the healthiest breakfast cereal there is. Porridge is also recommended for convalescence or as a restorative food after childbirth. In recent years it has been touted as a cholesterol lowering food that has become part of the 'healthy heart' campaign. In the latest 'craze campaign' Oat's power to enhance sexual stamina is touted and they have now become a constituent of numerous natural aphrodisiac pills and sexual energy enhancers.

Oat seed can be sprouted and used in salads, or ground and cooked as gruel. This most wholesome grain is full of vital nutrients, scores of amino acids, vitamin A and B as well as minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc. Oats support the nervous system and are the best food in cases of general debility or during convalescence. They are diuretic and can help in rheumatic conditions. A tincture made from the green tops (after sprouting the seeds) is said to be useful in overcoming tobacco addiction. Oats, eaten as food, can lower the cholesterol level. For external use a decoction can be added to the bathwater in order to soothe itchy skin and eczema.

Oats can be used in fertility magic and to convey strength and endurance. They may also be used in healing rituals, for rejuvenation and for inner peace. Oats are commonly used in money spells.

Not all herbs are suitable in pregnancy, breastfeeding or for young children, or if you are unwell, or taking any medication. If in doubt, please ask a medical herbalist or healthcare practitioner.