The plain and ordinary young man and sometimes called ‘common’, Master Oats, has suffered badly with the middle child syndrome, older brothers such as Mister Wheat, Mister Barley and Mister Rye, have taken the limelight for too long and now it is time for Master Oats to rise and shine. This very gifted young man has more ability than you think. I ask you, “what are oats good for?” Breakfast cereal you say, well that is a good start but, he is a greater contender for a fight than just a bowl of porridge, or glue, as some may dare to judge.
Well, how good is he then, I here you say, okay, I’ll tell you how good he is, when Tina Turner sang, “We don’t need another hero”, I’m sure she must must have been singing about Master Oats, I’m not sure who this Mad Max guy is anyway.
Okay, I hear ya, that does sound a little ‘extreme’, but seriously, he is made of good stuff and if given half the chance, he could become a hero for our modern heart-failing age, which is full of depression, anxiety, stress, fatigue and bodily weakness.
Yes, Master Oats has been around for quite some time, so why do I call him ‘Master’, as if relating to him as if being ‘younger’, because he just hasn’t been allowed to ‘come of age’ such as his older half brothers wheat, barley and rye, as they all do come from the same family, ‘Poaceae/Gramineae’, but wheat, barley and rye come from a different Genus. Oats is a native to Europe and does still grow there wild. Back then, as is often today, animals are fed better than humans, and traditionally it was fed to the livestock at that time, but there is records of it being used in the human diet.
Mr John Gerard an Elizabethan physician had this to say about it: “Some of those good house-wives that delight not to have anything but from hand to mouth, according to our English proverbe, may (while the pot doth teeth) go to the barne, and rub forth with their hands sufficient for that present time.” … and “Otemeale is good for to make a faire and wel coloured maid to looke like a cake of tallow,”.
Oats – Avena sativa, with the name Avena coming from the Romans calling it Aveo, meaning to desire, and the term Oat comes from the old English – āte and nobody seems to know where that came from.
How to use Oats
So lets discuss some of Oats many uses. Historically, it seems to be the food of the poor or just a feed for livestock, and during the 1500’s it was turned into various forms of bread and cakes, and a replacement for “want of Barley”.
The first thing that comes to most peoples minds are its many Culinary uses and the most well known is Porridge, which can be made very basically or can be almost stylised into something very fancy, and if you want to then do it. Another more popular use of rolled oats is Muesli, developed by the Swiss Doctor – Bircher Berner and also in ‘muesli bars’. Using rolled oats has health benefits, but not as much as the original green product, for example ‘green oat straw’ and ‘green seed’.
- Put 50 grams or 1/4 cup of rolled oats into a saucepan
- Add a pinch of salt
- Add 350ml (12fl oz) of water to the saucepan
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes
- Stir regularly to prevent sticking to the bottom
- Pour into a bowl
- Add some milk and sweetener
- And enjoy
From this point you can multiply the formula to suit extra persons, and once you have completed this highly complex recipe, you can now move on to adding extras. Instead of adding water you can add your preferred milk to simmer the oats in or have half water and half milk. You can add many herbs and spices to your porridge during the cooking process or after you have put it in the bowl: these can be cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Or, you can add various berries such as, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, mulberries or blackberries, as well as raisins and sultanas or fruit such as bananas. You can add extra fibre through various types of brans too. To add a little bite to your breakfast, you can throw in Greek yogurt, I have even tried a small splash of apple cider vinegar at the beginning, as it helps to break the oats down – predigestion, which is good for those trying to recover or convalescence. For sweeteners you can use honey, stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit, to name just a few. If I had to use sugar, I would use Jaggery or molasses, due to being very raw, and containing more nutrients.
- At night…
- Place all your chosen ingredients from the list above (except for the water) into a Thermos, Vacuum or Dewar flask and evenly mix them up
- Pour in boiling hot water, you may need a little extra hot water if adding more ‘dry’ ingredients
- Place the lid on immediately
- Leave until the morning
- Open and enjoy
- 3 cups of wholemeal flour
- 1 cup of rolled oats
- 2 Tablespoons of finely chopped dandelion leaves or similar
- 5 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons of honey or similar
- 1 table spoon of coconut oil
- 1 1/2 cups of milk
- Place flour, rolled oats, baking powder, and dandelion leaves into a bowl
- Throughly and evenly mix
- In another bowl beat the egg
- Then to the beaten egg add the 2 tablespoons of sweetener, 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 1/2 cups of milk and mix
- Add and mix in these to the dry mixture above
- Put this mix into a suitable sized cake or bread tin
- Cook at 177 C / 350 F for about 1 hour
- Allow to cool and enjoy
Being an Aussie, I cannot dare to leave this thought here, as one of the most famous oat biscuit recipes in The land of Oz, is the ANZAC biscuit. The popular modern recipe for Anzac Biscuits has rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter, baking soda and boiling hot water and the modern version has desiccated coconut. These should never be called cookies and I won’t bother giving the recipe as there are many on the internet, and you promise to stick to the original recipe, hey mate.
Most of the oat plant can be used in a therapeutic manner, so with Oat tea, you normally use the oat straw, and on the whole it has the same values, but not exactly.
Simple Oat Straw Tea
- Place 1 – 2 teaspoons of green oat straw into a cup (Dried or fresh)
- Pour in boiling hot water
- Steep for 10 – 15 minutes
- If necessary, you can add a little sweetener
- Drink freely
Please note: Green oat straw is better than dried, but if you can’t get the green version, then dried will do.
Strong Oat Straw Tea
- Place equal parts of Oats, hops, passionflower and valerian into a cup
- (Total amount should equal about a tablespoon)
- Pour in boiling hot water
- Allow to steep for 15 minutes
- And drink
Menstrual Cramp Tea
- Place equal parts of Oats, mugwort, chamomile and cramp bark into a cup
- Pour in boiling hot water
- Allow to steep for 15 minutes
- And drink
- Place the hot to warm cup onto the ‘sore spot’ as the heat will help to.
Other very good herbs for Menstrual cramps taken in capsules etc., are: Peony root, Cramp bark – very good and Primrose oil. With oats, both the seed and the straw are safe during both pregnancy and lactation as well.
You can grow oats as micro greens and use them in juices as well, similar to wheat grass.
Oat Straw Bath
- Throw 2 -3 cups of oat straw into a large pot
- Pour in 2 – 3 litres of water
- Bring to boil and simmer for five minutes
- Strain out the straw
- Pour into a ready prepared bath
- Soak to your hearts content
Oatmeal Sponge Bath
- Place 500grams of ‘uncooked’ oatmeal into a loosely woven cloth bag
- Tie up with a string
- Place it under the hot running water whilst preparing your bath
- Once your bath is ready, and the oatmeal is softened
- Gently use the bag with the oatmeal as a sponge
You don’t have to use this in a bath setup and it is very helpful with conditions such as eczema and shingles.
Very Old Beauty Treatment
Nicholas Culpeper’s treatment (modified)
For the removal of freckles and spots on the face and other areas
- Place enough oatmeal into a saucepan to cover the region wanted
- Pour in enough vinegar to cover
- Bring to boil and simmer for a few minutes
- Allow to cool
- Once cool enough apply to the face
How to grow
- Prepare a decent sized container with rich potting mix
- Evenly spread the seed over the top of the mix
- You can have it close but not too close
- Rake the seed into the mix
- If you are planting the seed out in the garden, bury the seed at least 2.5cm / 1″ deep, to keep birds at bay
- Water in
- Keep the soil or mix slightly moist
- After approximately 45 days depending on weather etc. you should be able to start harvesting
- Depending how well the oats grow, they can reach anything from 60cm – 150cm / 2′ -5′
To the best of my knowledge, I don’t know of anybody propagating from cuttings or root division and probably not worth it anyway.
Due to the speed of the growth, so except for grasshoppers and other plant eating nasties, oats should be relatively easy to manage.
If you do get any disease it could be one of several things: Crown Rust, Yellow Dwarf Virus, Oats Halo Blight, Oat Leaf Blotch, Culm Rot or Stem Rust. But unless you are growing large crops then generally you should be fine and practice crop rotation and keep a hygenic garden.
There is a simple test when to harvest the aerial parts, which at this stage can include young seed. This is described as ‘the milky stage’. Simply place the seed in between your two thumb nails and squeeze, and milky sap should come out. If you are specifically after the seed for things such as making your own rolled oats, then wait until the plant is mature and dry.
Place your harvest in a warm and dry area, spread it around as you are drying them out to cause even drying. Once they are fully dry, you can either store them or have a go at threshing them.
Store your product in a cool dry place in a airtight sealed jar or container and they should last approximately three months.
The information below is for informational and education purposes only. So please do not “self-treat”. When seeking any ‘therapeutic’ advice always see a Health Care Professional first.
Aerial parts and seed
Aerial Parts: Infusion is 4 – 8 teaspoons per day
Seed: Minimum to maximum of dried powder is 3.0 – 6.0g per day
Rolled oats: simply a bowl a day
Aerial: Nervine tonic, anxiolytic, antipruritic, emollient, tonic, sedative, and antidepressant
Seed: Antipruritic, emollient, nervine tonic, tonic, antidepressant, lipid lowering, antihypertensive, blood sugar regulator, and mild thymoleptic
Aerial: Fatigue – nervous, anxiety, insomnia, mild depression, dry skin, itching, eczema – bath, neurasthenia, shingles, herpes zoster, herpes simplex, and exhaustion. Convalescence, stress, plus nervous tension,
Seed: Dry skin, itch, eczema, both topically and bath, neuralgia, anxiety, insomnia, mild depression, exhaustion, convalescence, stress, nervous tension, hyperlipidaemia, hypertension, hyper/hypoglycaemia, melancholia, menopausal neurasthenia, and general debility
Aerial: Beta-glucan, triterpenoid, saponins, – avenacosides, alkaloids – avenue and trigonelline, sterol – avenasterol, flavonoids, starch, phytates, coumarins. Nutrients – silicic acid, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, zinc, vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, K, and amino acids
Seed: Beta-glucan, triterpenoid, saponins, – avenacosides, alkaloids – avenue and trigonelline, sterol – avenasterol, flavonoids, starch, phytates, coumarins. Nutrients – silicic acid, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, zinc, vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, K, and amino acids
Pure certified organic oats, that have ‘not’ come in contact with other grains such as, wheat, barley and rye should not cause any trouble with coeliac or gluten intolerance. Always check before use if unsure. Do not use the seed/rolled oats if you have any intestinal obstruction.
Please remember, this blog cannot and should not replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment, and no cure is implied in anyway. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.
Russell a.k.a Herbal Panda
“Never made a mistake? How boring is your life?” – Herbal Panda