5 Benefits of Oat Straw: Dosage & Safety

Oat straw is a highly nutritious part of the oat plant. Traditionally, it was used for soothing skin, its dense nutrient content, and for nervous system support.  Although oat straw …

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Written by: Siobhan Mendicino
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Medical Review by: Daniel Powers, MS
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Oat straw is a highly nutritious part of the oat plant.

Traditionally, it was used for soothing skin, its dense nutrient content, and for nervous system support. 

Although oat straw is not as famous as ripe oats, both parts of the plant share medicinal properties. 

This article will look at the health benefits of oat straw, its safety, and its history.  

health benefits of oat straw

What is Oat Straw?

Oat straw is the ground-up stems and leaves of the oat plant. The oat plant is an ancient grain and is one of the first wild plants to be domesticated by early human civilization. 

While the oat seed is what you might eat for breakfast, the rest of the oat plam is considered “oat straw” and is ground up for medicinal use.

The scientific name for oat straw is Avena sativa. While this name refers to the whole oat plant, different parts of the plant contain specific medicinal properties. 

Ancient medicine systems around the globe used oat straw, green milky oat tops, and oats. The oat straw and milky oats were used for their medicinal effects on the body, while oats were prized for their nutrient and fiber content.   

In traditional medicine, oat straw was used as a tincture to balance energy levels, soothe skin, and support the nervous system. It’s also said that oat straw helps release tension in the body.  

Modern research suggests that oat straw benefits the nervous system, especially for individuals with high levels of stress.

Various scientific studies and traditional accounts summarize the numerous benefits of oat straw. 

Health Benefits of Oat Straw:

Oat straw benefits have been observed in human, animal, and lab-based studies.

Below are the top research-backed studies and expert accounts from professional herbalists describing the benefits of oat straw.

oat straw health benefits

1. May Reduce Inflammation

Oat straw is thought to be a helpful herb for inflammation

The immune system triggers an inflammatory response when the body is exposed to trauma. Short-term inflammation is a key part of the healing process; however, chronic inflammation is the body’s signal that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. 

Research suggests that the oat straw and the oat plant are rich in beta-glucan, a plant compound that is known to regulate and reduce inflammation. 

A 2015 clinical study observing children aged six months to six years old with eczema found that oat cream significantly reduced the size and redness of rashes. The cream was administered twice daily for three months. 

A review of medicinal plants used for inflammatory skin diseases mentions that oat straw is especially effective for skin disorders that are accompanied by itching.

Another research review suggested using oat straw for skin warts that cause inflammation. 

A review of oats mentions the anti-inflammatory properties of polyphenols, which are active constituents in oat straw.

American Herbalist Guild registered herbalist David Hoffmann (2003) suggests using oat straw in baths to treat “irritated skin conditions.” 

The German Commission E approves oat straw for external application in cases of “inflammatory and seborrheic skin disease, especially those with itching.”

Traditional accounts of Persian medicine explain that oats and the oat plant were topically applied for their skin-soothing properties. Oat was used in baths and as creams and poultices for inflamed and itchy skin. 


Research reviews have found that oat straw may work to reduce inflammation, especially inflammatory skin conditions. Additional human studies are needed to confirm this finding.

2. May Support Bone Health

Research shows that oat straw may benefit bone and connective tissue health due to its nutrient content. 

Optimal physical health and movement rely on bone and connective tissue integrity. Adequate intake of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and macronutrients is important for maintaining healthy bones and connective tissues. 

A lab-based study observed that avenanthramides, active constituents in oat straw, may regulate bone cells responsible for strong bone structure. These constituents also prevent the death of these bone cells, decreasing the possibility of degenerative bone diseases. 

Famed herbalist Rosemary Gladstar writes that oat straw is rich in the mineral silica, which “is needed for strong bones, hair, teeth, and nails.” She also mentions that this herb has high levels of calcium which is necessary for strengthening and healing bones. 

The Commission E also recommends oat straw for “connective tissue deficiencies.”


Oat straw contains nutrients that may work to benefit bone and connective tissue health. Human research is required in order to verify these findings.

3. May Support the Nervous System

Traditional accounts and registered herbalists claim that the entire oat plant helps those that struggle with anxiety and depression.

Anxiety and depression are mental health disorders. Both conditions affect the nervous system through their influence on mood and behavior. Anxiety and depression trigger symptoms like low energy, decreased quality of life, fatigue, and insomnia. 

David Hoffmann explains in his herbal text Medical Herbalism (2003) that oat straw is great “in combination with most…other nervines, both relaxant and stimulant, to strengthen the whole nervous system.” He goes on to mention that oat straw is very supportive for those under high amounts of stress.  

Eclectic Physician Dr. Finley Ellingwood writes in his medical text that oat straw and oats support the nervous system, especially in cases where there’s a loss of energy. 

The European Medicines Agency suggests oat straw tinctures for issues that have to do with the central nervous system.   

The Commission E recommends using oat for “acute and chronic anxiety, stress and excitation, neurasthenic and pseudoneurasthenic syndromes [conditions associated with physical and mental exhaustion].”


Traditional herbal usage indicates that oat straw may benefit the nervous system by relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression, however, clinical trials are needed for verification.

4. Nutrient Rich Properties

The entire oat plant is highly regarded for its nutritional content. 

The body requires nutrients to carry out and sustain basic physiological functions. The six major classes of nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Oat straw is also particularly rich various minerals, including:

  • Silica (i.e. silicone)
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • and Manganese. 

Oat straw also contains vitamin E, flavonoids, and nonflavonoid phenolic acids.

David Hoffmann describes oat straw as a “nutritive” with high amounts of vitamin E and starch in his Medical Herbalism text. 

Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar lists the nutrients of oats as “silica, B vitamins, starch, calcium, and flavonoids.” 


Oat straw has been found to contain nutrients, minerals, and vitamins, which are important for overall health.

5. Other Benefits

Other purported oat straw health benefits include: 

  • May have Antioxidant Properties: A review mentions that oat straw has vitamin E, flavonoids, and nonflavonoid phenolic acids, which are known for their antioxidant activities. 
  • May have Immune-Supporting Effects: Oat straw may support immune function due to its beta-glucan content. Beta-glucan is known for its immune-boosting and regulating effects.


Oat straw has been tied to a wide variety of health benefits. Human clinical trials are needed to verify these findings.
5 health benefits of oat straw

Oat Straw Safety:

Safety Class: 1

Interaction Class: A

Oat straw is designated as being generally recognized as safe by the FDA. 

According to the Botanical Safety Handbook, there have been no drug interactions or side effects observed with oat straw. However, it is recommended to check for an allergic reaction with a skin patch test.

Various governmental agencies, including the German Commission E, have approved the use of oat straw for various ailments.

Pregnancy & Lactation:

There are no trials on the safety of using oat straw while pregnant or breastfeeding.

However, traditional accounts and medical professionals, recommend the consumption and topical application of oat straw, milky oats, and ripe oats as they feel it is supportive for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and babies. 


Standard dosing for oat straw is as follows:

Infusion (tea): Add 1 cup of boiling water to 1-3 teaspoons of dried herb and allow to infuse for 10-15 minutes in a covered cup (to capture the beneficial essential oils). Drink 1 cup 3x per/day.

Tincture (1:5): 3-5ml, 3x/day.

Fluid Extract (1:1): 0.6 to 2 ml, 3x/day.

Bath: In a full bath, add 100g of dried herb (in a muslin bag or free-floating) and let the herb soak for 15 minutes before getting in.  


Oat straw is not on the United Plant Saver’s “at-risk” list and is considered unimpacted by human activities.

Naming & Taxonomy:

Oat straw’s scientific name is Avena sativa, which refers to the whole oat plant. While there are 30 different species in the Avena family, the “common oat” plant is the most commonly used species for medicinal and culinary purposes. 

The oat plant is in the Poaceae family (i.e flowering grass) and is planted every year as an annual crop.

Native to Europe, the Mediterranean, northern Central Asia, and North Africa, the oat plant is one of the oldest crops of human civilization. Since ancient times, oats have become increasingly popular and are now domesticated and cultivated worldwide. 

While the oat seed is what you might eat for breakfast, the rest of the oat plam is considered “oat straw” and is ground up for medicinal use.

Oat straw is considered to be highly nutritious and mineral rich, comparable to the oat seed. 

Common names of oat include Oats, Groats, Oatmeal, Milky Oats, Catgrass, Haber, Hafer, Avena, Straw, and Green Oat. 

History & Traditional Use:

The oat plant originated in the Fertile Crescent, where it began as its wild cousin, Avena sterilis. The oat plant has been cultivated for thousands of years after its domestication. Along with oat straw’s medicinal uses, it was also used for animal feed and industrial purposes.    

The earliest records of oat straw date back to 2000 BC when the ancient Egyptians used the wild oat herb for baths. After domestication, the oat plant quickly became one of the most valuable global crops behind wheat and barley. 

The oat plant gathered an influx of medicinal notoriety in the Middle Ages when European physicians began mentioning the oat plant in medical texts. England and Scotland use oats as a culinary staple, and the UK is known for baking the first loaf of oat bread. 

Currently, the entire oat plant is used cross-culturally as both food and medicine. 


The oat plant is one of the most versatile medicinal and culinary plants globally. Each part of the plant is therapeutic and nutritional. 

Taking oats and oat straw as an infusion, tincture, bath, or edible herb is recommended. 

Remember to consult a medical practitioner if you want to include oat straw in your daily routine.

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About Siobhan Mendicino

Siobhan is a herbal researcher and writer. She has a bachelor of science in communications as well as having completed a post-baccalaureate certificate in herbal studies.