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Avena Sativa

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 6, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Avena Sativa (Oat Seed Extract)

Avena sativa, popularly known as the common oat plant, is a cereal grain that is highly cultivated for its number of health benefits. This plant generally thrives in cooler temperate zones and can be planted and harvested all throughout the year.


The plant grows up to 1.5 meters high. They are generally solitary plants with non-auriculate leaves and rounded sheaths at the back. It is mainly cultivated in Northern temperate latitudes. The seeds are spindle shaped and are often pollinated by the wind.

History and Origin of Avena Sativa

The ancestors of Avena sativa have been traced back to the Near East, particularly in the Fertile Crescent area. These are the wild types. Domesticated varieties have only appeared during the Bronze Age, around 3000 B.C. in Europe, far from where its native ancestors were first actually seen. Compared to wheat and barley, this plant was considered only as a secondary crop and was not cultured as extensively as other crop plants were during that time period.

Ancient uses

The first record of the plant being used for commercial consumption was in England when it was used to manufacture oat bread during the 1800s. But still during these times, the plant was primarily used as a feed for horses and cattle and less for the medicinal uses that avena sativa is now used for. Farmers in the past were believed to have used oat seed extract to condition their horses and cattle for mating.

Many people also believe that the substance can be an effective aphrodisiac for humans. Avena sativa is an annual plant which means it can grow the whole year round. Extracts were only made during the later times and used for its anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, among others.

Modern Uses

Newer studies have discovered that oat seed extract has anti-fungal activity that can be used to inhibit the growth of certain fungal strains in food. Fractionation of the extract further revealed that the protein content of the liquid contained such bioactive compounds. The presence of such compound in oat seed is ten times more than that found in wheat and barley.

Oat extract is now also being used to treat several skin conditions, more particularly fungal infections on the skin for both people and animals. There are also a number of brands that incorporate the extract into beauty products such as lotions and soaps. Newer studies have revealed yet another benefit of oat seed extracts. Researchers have reported that it has potential in treating Depression, Anxiety and Insomnia. So far, clinical tests are showing promising results and without any kind of side effects. It is also considered to be a powerful sedative and an effective Stress reliever.

Warnings and Side Effects of Avena Sativa

There are no specific side effects associated with the use of the substance. For those that have pre-existing allergic reactions to plants and derived products belonging to the same plant family, it is highly recommended that you stay away from the seed extract, just to be safe.

There are now a number of products that make use of oat seed extract that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. So play safe and use only these kinds of products which are approved by the proper authorities.

Read also: Olive Leaf

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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