Herbs in Focus: Oats and Oatstraw
Oatstraw is an herb I use in many of my products, particularly teas, just because it is one of the gentlest herbs to use for a host of problems that many of us endure day to day - most notably stress.
What does it look like?
Before I took my herbal apprenticeship class I never once questioned where the oatmeal I ate for breakfast really came from nor did I realize oats and oatstraw grows everywhere from your freeway off ramp to a patch of land in urban Long Beach. I also particularly see it used ornamentally when it is dried during the autumn season and used as a wreath.
If you do choose to harvest oatstraw make sure that it is somewhere that is not near a freeway ramp or something similar. I usually reap some 'milky' oat tops from my herbal teacher's community garden in Long Beach. To know when they are ready you usually have to check every week during their ripening period by squishing one of the oat tops between your fingers. If you feel a pop followed by some milky drippage, get your bag ready to collect some oat tops! The stalks are also great to harvest for the actual oatstraw (the majority of what I use in my products).
Where To Buy
When I am just purchasing a single package of herbs and not buying in bulk, I can get a one pound bag of organic Oatstraw through Amazon Prime from Starwest Botanicals.
- Oatstraw is rich in Silicas and calcium. It is a wonderful adaptogenic, great nervine and lovely demulcent.
- Helps "people with mental and physical exhaustion who are irritable and lack focus" (Horne)
- It is also a great "nervous system stabilizer" especially when met with periods of "over work and prolonged periods of stress". (Kane)
- It can also help with "loss of libido" (Horne)
- Procure only organic Stinging Nettle and Oatstraw for your tea. You can also buy some from me as well! I sometimes get the rare opportunity to harvest both of these herbs in Southern California.
- Fill a 1QT mason jar with 1/8 of a nettle and oatstraw mixture (not much plant material is needed). Cut a lemon or an orange and squeeze the juice in the jar. Throw the lemon/orange in there as well. This will help release minerals like the silicas that need some type of citrus to be absorbed.
- Pour Boiling hot water over the lemon/orange, nettle and oatstraw and fill to the top. Cap it.
- Wait for 6-8 hours (overnight infusions are the best; the more it steeps, the more the rich minerals come out).
- Strain and enjoy!
I typically drink about 4oz a day in the morning, whereas other people drink the whole quart in a day!! I personally think start out small and work your way up to see what your body prefers. If you find your body is drying out i.e. eyes and skin are becoming dry, infuse your tea with some marshmallow root (will help lessen the drying effects of your Nettle Oatstraw tea).
- I used the 1.5 oz of water to 4.5 oz of glycerin ratio for about .5 oz of dried herb . Mix glycerin and water in a separate container until it is fully diluted - goes from cloudy to clear
- If dried herbs are whole, grind them up in your NutriBullet or for me I used my mom's old coffee grinder from the late 90s. Put dry herbs in a jar then pour the water/glycerin mixture on top. Shake well. If you find that there tends to be too much herb in comparison to the glycerite, add more glycerite/water to the mixture.
- Store in a cool, not sunny area and shake it everyday. I keep mine in my bathroom just so I can remember to shake it everyday.
- After two weeks strain it with a cheese cloth into another sterile jar or for me, I am adding it to a pump. To preserve it I store it in my refrigerator.
Add as a sweetener to your tea every morning or take by itself multiple times throughout the day.