Natasha Richardson & Claire Goulding 

Avena sativa (Oat)
Plant Profile

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Names: Groats, Oatmeal.

Element: Earth

Planet: Venus

Magical uses: Blessing the harvest, Money, Fertility, Endurance, Inner peace.

Key words: Soothe, Build up, Nourish, Calm.

Tissue type: Atrophy, Excitation.

Qualities: Moistening.

Actions: Nervine, Antidepressant, Tranquiliser, Brain tonic, Cardiac tonic, Thymoleptic, Antispasmodic.

Physical Uses: Adrenal fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Debility, Neurasthenia, Tension, Irritability, Insomnia, Shingles, Hyperactive kids, Tremor, Parkinson’s, Low libido, Tachycardia, Palpitations, PMS, Headaches, Exhaustion, Shoulder tension.

Emotional Uses: Despondency, Apathy, Spaceyness.

Parts used: Flowering tops and straw.

Known constituents: Glycosyl flavones, Proteins, Vitamin E, Proteins, Iron, Zinc, Manganese.

Legend & Tradition

Oats have been an important part of British farming for quite some time. It is believed that the oats should be left for the church bells to ring three times before they are brought inside after harvest. This essentially gave a 3 week time period for them to dry outside.

Medicinal Uses

Oat tops are one of my favourite tonics for building up someone’s core-energy or chi. I use it for people who feel tired and wired. I once made a blend of Elderflower and Oat tops for a student who was clearly on-edge but said she didn’t understand why she wasn’t able to sleep. This gentle nudge was all she needed to sleep better and feel energized again during the day. What’s especially nice about Oat tops is that they don’t over-stimulate as some of the adaptogens do. It’s a good starting point for anyone with adrenal fatigue, depression, or anxiety. (Sahoo, 2018; Usha Rani, 2014; Kennedy, 2020) I think of it as bubble wrap for the nerves. Coating them in a protective layer when the nerves are agitated and fried.

It is sometimes used for tachycardia and palpitations. Not because it has a direct effect upon the cardiovascular system but because it supports the nerves and reduces their excitation which would lead to such circulation problems. (Uppala et al., 2013)

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Oat tops help with PMS. I like to think of PMS as a highlighting of whatever Is already happening in your life. It’s not a hormone imbalance and it very rarely needs hormonal herbs. When we assume a hormone is to blame for emotional upsets, we are partaking of the belief that women, and their hormones, make them hysterical. It’s better to own these feelings rather than brush them off. Oat tops allows us to lessen our sensitivity to our outside environment and allows us to take a calmer approach to whatever may be bothering us.

Safety ConsiderationsIf you have coeliac’s or severe gluten intolerance it’s best to avoid this herb but most Oat top suppliers don’t grow their plants next to or after wheat so there shouldn’t really be any gluten in it. But best avoided to be on the safe side.


K., U. R., Ramaiah, M., Nagaphani, K., Preethi, V., & Srinadh, M. (2014). Screening for Antidepressant-Like Effect of Methanolic Seed Extract of Avena Sativa using Animal Models. Pharmacognosy Journal, 6(3), 86–92.

Uppala, P. K., Latha, M. S., Reddy, R. S., & Chakravarthi, G. (2013). Evaluation of anti-depressant activity of Methanolic Seed Extract of Avena sativa L. In Mice. Research Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacodynamics, 5(4), 212-217.

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.

Sahoo, S. (2018). A review of some medicinal plants used for nervous disorders. J Med Plant, 6(3), 220-4.EBSCO CAM Review Board (2019) ‘Oat straw’s therapeutic uses’, Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health. Available at:,sso&db=ers&AN=94416148&site=eds-live (19-05-22).

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