Avena Sativa - a Herbal Tonic
Avena Sativa (other common names Avena, Common Oat, Cultivated Oat, Yulaf) is the biological name for the what we commonly know as oats. This annual grass is usually 1,2 m tall with spikelets that carry 2 flowers. In temperate and sub-tropical countries avena sativa is grown as fodder and is cultivated as a summer crop. For human consumption oats are grown as the grains for cereals and medical preparations.
Avena sativa favors a variety of soils, from sandy and loamy to clay. The plant usually requires well-drained soil with acid nutrition. As a rule, oats cannot grow in the shade, but tolerate drought. The plant is also cultivated in beds.
Seeds and whole plant are used for the variety of food and medical preparations. Grain is the source for oatmeal and cereals.
Oats are common for the culinary uses and are widely found cakes, biscuits and other pastries, in oat flour and as a source of oil. Medicinal forms of avena sativa include fluid extracts (good for tonic purposes and used as a nutritive addition in herbal remedies applied for colds and chills), decoction (prepared from the whole dried oats), herbal wash, which is good for various skin conditions and poultice, also beneficial for skin disorders like eczema, cold sores etc. Avena sativa is also available in tablets.
Oats contain a big variety of chemical compounds beneficial for human’s health - saponins, flavonoids, many minerals, alkaloids, steroidal compounds, vitamins B1, B2, D, E, carotene, wheat protein (gluten), starch, and fat. The body-building nutritional compounds are represented in wide range in this plant. They include silicon, manganese, zinc, and calcium. The testosterone activity of avena sativa provides it with the sexual-enhancing features. Anticholesterolemic, antispasmodic, cardiac, diuretic, emollient, nervine, sedative and nutritive properties make oats a widely popular ngredient in herbal formulas. Plant’s influence upon the brain and nutritive functions of the body provide general improvement of the body’s nervous system and nutrition.
Although oats are mainly used as a food, oat grain and preparations made out of it also have medicinal properties. In general, avena sativa preparations are used to restore vigour after debilitating illnesses, help lower cholesterol levels in the blood and also increase stamina.
The seed of the plant contains the antitumor compound b-sitosterol and so has been used as a folk remedy for tumours. Used as a tincture, avena sativa is a powerful uterine and nervine tonic. It is used for treatment of a wide range of nervous disorders, including opium addiction treatment. The herbal preparations from the plant are beneficial when used to boost fertility, improve sexual performance, promote energy, and strengthen the heart. Avena sativa enhances digestion, reduces detoxification process and provides support for urinary organs. Applied topically, herbal remedies work as eczema treatment and other skin disorders.
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