Posted: 19 Jul 2014 08:00 AM PDT
More than likely, you are probably familiar with oats and may also be slightly aware of their many health benefits. Something you may not have heard of, however, is oat straw, or the green stem of the oat plant. Deriving itself from the Avena sativa plant, oat straw has been passed down from generation to generation as a natural herbal supporter for women's health. Although clinical research on the product has remained limited, available literature hints to its possible benefits for a multitude of health areas, including improving female reproductive health, lifting mood, and possibly protecting against osteoporosis.
Here are the top few researched benefits of oat straw for women:
1. Sexual Health
Tradition holds oat straw as a powerful aphrodisiac, and recent research is confirming that these claims are not too far off.  It is said that oat straw can increase circulation and improve blood flow, a key element when it comes to increasing sexual desire.
2. Menstrual Issues
Some traditions claim that oat straw may help alleviate menstrual cramps and bloating. The herb has also been widely used as a natural diuretic, a gentle tool that may help decrease bloating. Diuretics are also said to be important tools that aid the cleansing process by helping to support the kidneys and urinary tract. Rich in nutrients and loaded with antioxidants, oat straw may also contain anti-inflammatory compounds.
3. Mood Lifter
Avena sativa is an excellent source of B vitamins, nutrients essential for energy production and mood stabilization.   Natural saponins contained within the entire plant may help support blood sugar health by decreasing blood sugar spikes following consumption of a high-carbohydrate meal.  Traditionally, oat straw has been used as a stimulant and a remedy for stress, anxiety, depression, and overall tension. Research is needed to find conclusive evidence for these benefits.
4. Supports Bone Health
Oats are naturally rich in calcium, a nutrient that plays an important role in bone density. One study also reported that oat straw increases luteinizing hormone in rats, an important hormone that stimulates cell growth. This may be helpful for initiating bone cell production, possibly supporting bone strength. 
Using Avena Sativa
Oat straw is available in a number of forms, ranging from capsuled extracts, pure powder, and whole stems. It can be made into a tea or blended into smoothies, and some people even incorporate oat straw powder into baked goods. While evidence on its many health benefits are few and far between, this natural herbal remedy is fairly safe for most individuals and has no known side effects. While oats are naturally gluten free, it may be important for Celiac disease patients to find gluten-free sources of oat straw.
Have you ever used oat straw? What were your experiences? Let us know in the comments!
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
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