Avena sativa

An annually cultivated plant growing up to 1.2m (4ft). Generally the stems are erect and the root system is fibrous. The spikelets contain three flowers, which in turn produce two seeds.

Family: Poaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Oats is a key herb in Women and Sleep

Habit and cultivation: The wild oat is thought to originate from the Fertile Crescent of the Near East. The more domesticated cousins are derived from the wilder versions. Oats thrive better in cooler climates and moist soils. Sewn from seed, the plant loves the rain. Oats can be planted in autumn or spring.

Actions (known for): Anti-depressant, nervine tonic, tonic and cardiotonic.


The last of the major cereal grains to be domesticated around 3,000 years ago. Fed to horses during Roman dominance, its overall history is hard to trace and inconsistent. Used as part of the beer producing process and in the making of Scotch whiskey.

Parts used:

Above ground parts.

Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Avenosides (saponins), indole alkaloids, silica acids and flavonoids.

Nutritional constituents:

Vitamins: A, B-complex, folic acid, B6, C, E and K. Minerals: silicon, calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorus.


Convalescence, depression, exhaustion, insomnia and nervous tension. Topically: dry skins, burns, eczema, neuralgia and wounds.


Liquid extract (1:2): 20-40ml per week. Oatmeal or straw: 1-4g 3 x daily.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Depressive states.

Cautions for therapeutic doses

Contains gluten.

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