Library of Nature: Avena Sativa

Do you feel stressed, tired, depressed, fed up or run down? If so, have you thought of making Avena sativa, also known as Oatmeal or Oat Straw, a part of your daily dose?

Avena sativa is commonly consumed (or taken as a supplement) for its highly acclaimed health benefits. The Avena sativa plant is made up of a seed (oats), leaves and stems (oat straw), and bran (the outer layer). Surprisingly, various parts of the plant are used to make herbal medicinal supplements, providing a wide range of health benefits.

Properties of Avena Sativa

Scientific name:Avena sativa

Common Name: Oats, Oat Straw, Oat Milk Seeds.

Used parts: The whole plant: seeds, flakes and straw.

Main components: Saponins, flavonoids, various minerals (including calcium), alkaloids, sterols, vitamins B1, B2, D and E, carotene, silicic acid, protein (gluten), starch and fat.

Actions: Nourishing and restorative to the nerves and reproductive organs. Antidepressant, cholesterol-lowering and nutritious.

Rich in Nutrients

Avena sativa differs from other specimens due to its nutritional components. It is mostlyrich in starch, followed by proteins, vegetable fat, and also has a generous supply of omega3.

It is rich in vegetable fats, and this does not mean that it is fattening since they are good fats: polyunsaturated fatty acids and linoleic acid.

Added to this, it has significant amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and E, and minerals such as sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron and sulfur.

It contains Avenina, an alkaloid that provides sedative action.

Another alkaloid in the bark of the seed called Trigonelina is very useful against fatigue since it is a muscle stimulant.

It has fiber and gluten, so its intake is not suitable for gluten-sensitive people.

Benefits of Avena Sativa

It was in the Middle Ages that avena sativa began to be offered as a brain stimulant and hormonal controller. However, those are not its only benefits. Other benefits are:

Cholesterol-lowering effects

Avena sativa is believed to lower cholesterol as it contains high amounts of fiber in the diet (approximately 750 mg of soluble fiber per serving is a health claim to reduce the risk of heart disease). Oat bran can block substances that contribute to diabetes and high cholesterol.

Weight Reduction

It also provides a feeling of fullness which helps promote weight loss. It can also be a good remedy for constipation. The high amount of fiber also helps intestinal transit.

Anti-diabetic Effect

Beta-glucan from oat bran has a beneficial effect on metabolic syndrome and blood glucose. However, research is still determining whether there are health benefits to blood sugar control.

Benefits for Skin

Oatmeal edibles(such as an oatmeal bath, emollients, and colloidal oat extracts) help alleviate inflammatory skin conditions. Likewise, it has been given multiple cosmetic uses, incorporating it in soaps, creams and makeup, as it fights dermatitis, skin irritations, rashes and herpes.

Nervous System Effects

A recent study found that Avena sativa supported cognitive performance in stressful situations and increased healthy overall mental functioning. Supplementation of oat herb extract was found to improve attention, focus, and the ability to stay focused during tasks performed by adults at various levels of cognitive functioning[1].

How to take Avena Sativa

Cooking is not the only way to consume it. Besides consuming it in whole grain, oatmeal or oat milk, it can also be consumed as an oatmeal infusion, oat tincture and other nutritional supplements manufactured by companies specializing in herbal medicine.

 

Reference:

[1] Kennedy, D. O., Bonnländer, B., Lang, S. C., Pischel, I., Forster, J., Khan, J., ...& Wightman, E. L. (2020). Acute and Chronic Effects of Green Oat (Avena sativa) Extract on Cognitive Function and Mood during a Laboratory Stressor in Healthy Adults: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study in Healthy Humans. Nutrients, 12(6), 1598.

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