Times have been a bit hectic lately. The family has been ravaged by various viruses and we are in the middle of organising a trip to the UK. I have been using herbal methods to treat my battered immune system (of course) and thought that I would use one particular herb I am using as herb of the month for October.
Oats – Avena sativa – are a well known staple on the breakfast table. Whether it is oatmeal which is popular in the US or porridge in the UK, oats and oat products are well known and well loved all over the world. Particular in cold weather, oats are often eaten to generate inner warmth and slow-release energy which helps in the treatment of colds and chills.
The whole plant is utilised in herbal medicine. Also known as oatstraw, it is an excellent tonic for the nervous system. Used for both physical and nervous fatigue oats are also used for general debility. Rich in minerals, vitamins, flavonoids and more it has many healing properties. Oatstraw has antidepressant and restorative properties which make a great nerve tonic and it promotes sweating. Rich in calcium, oatstraw is used to prevent or treat osteoporosis. The grains make a nutritive and antidepressant nerve tonic while oatbran reduces cholesterol levels and has antithrombotic properties. You can also find a Wild Oats remedy amongst the Bach Flower Remedies which is recommended for times of uncertainty and dissatisfaction.
Oatstraw tincture and decoctions can be used for insomnia, anxiety and depression. The decoction also makes an effective skin wash to heal skin conditions. A poultice made from the grain has long been used to treat eczema, and other skin problems.
In the kitchen, oats are used for baking slices, breads and many different biscuits. There are also many savoury applications as oats can be used in stuffings, as toppings on cauliflower or macaroni & cheese and to thicken stews and soups.
If you would like to use oats in a savoury dish why not try this Indian recipe I found on the net for you.
South Indian Style Oats
(traditionally eaten as a breakfast but if it’s too savoury for you, it makes a fabulous side dish for your main meal too)
Rolled oats – 1 cup, roasted without oil till stiff (about 4-5minutes) on medium flame
Water – 2 cups
Onion – 1/4 cup chopped fine
Green chilli – 1 (as hot as you like), chopped fine
Curry leaves – few, chopped fine
Ginger – 1″, chopped fine
Sesame oil – 1 tbsp. (if not use your favourite oil)
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp.
Bengalgram/Chana dal – 1/2 tsp.
Black gram/ Urad dal – 1/2 tsp.
Groundnuts/ Moongphali – 1 tbsp.
Heat oil. Splutter the seasonings one by one and wait for the peanuts to turn pink and crisp.
Add the curry leaves, ginger, green chillies and onion. Sauté till the onions turn translucent. Now add the water and salt and bring to a boil.
Add the roasted oats. Stir till the water is absorbed and the mixture comes together.
Serve with or without chutney and pickle
My next blog post will come from the road, who knows what herbal goodies I come across while travelling.