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Wild Oats

Wild OatsAlso Known As:

Avena, Oatstraw, Wild Oat Herb.

Scientific Name:

Avena sativa.

Family: Poaceae/Gramineae. 

People Use This For:

Oats are also used for acute or chronic anxiety, excitation and stress. Nervous exhaustion, depressive states, insomnia.R1 pp.234 menopause.R2 pp.317


No concerns regarding safety when used orally and appropriately.69,70,71,72 Oat bran has Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status in the US.73

No concerns regarding safety when used topically and appropriately.74

Pregnancy and Lactation: Refer to a Medical Herbalist. 


Insufficient evidence to comment on the effectiveness for stress.

Mechanism of Action:

The applicable parts of oats are the seeds and straw. There is no research done on the effects on nervous exhaustion or mood.

Adverse Reactions:

Orally, oats are usually very well tolerated.

Interactions with Herbs & Supplements:

None known.

Interactions with Drugs:

None known. 

Interactions with Foods:

None known.

Interactions with Lab Tests:

See below for Coeliac Disease.

Interactions with Diseases or Conditions:

Celiac Disease: Oats and oat bran are generally excluded from gluten-free diets. However, oat products that are not contaminated with wheat, rye, or barley do not appear to cause adverse effects in nutrition, intestinal histology, or serology in adults with celiac disease in remission.75 


Oral: Traditionally milky oat pods are also used as a tincture and tea. 

Topical: No typical dosage. 

Dr Clare’s Comments:

Although there is unlikely to be any problem with Wild Oat infusion or tincture for celiac patients I don’t prescribe it because patients feel anxious about it in the remedy. This is traditionally used as a very nourishing herb for stamina in the nervous system. Particularly good for exhaustion from chronic stress especially with a poor sleeping pattern. It is suitable for all ages.

Specific References: OATS

69.  FDA Talk Paper. FDA Allows Whole Oat Foods to make Claim on Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease. 1997. Available at:

70.  American Dietetic Association Website. Available at: (Accessed 16 July 1999).

71.  Food and Drug Administration. Food labeling: health claims: oats and coronary heart disease. Fed Regist 1996;61:296-313.

72.  Foulke J. FDA Allows Whole Oat Foods To Make Health Claim on Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease. FDA Talk Paper. 1997. Available at:

73.  FDA. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Premarket Approval, EAFUS: A food additive database. Available at:

74.  McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A, eds. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, LLC 1997.

75.  Storsrud S, Olsson M, Arvidsson Lenner R, et al. Adult coeliac patients do tolerate large amounts of oats. Eur J Clin Nutr 2003;57:163-9.


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