Once thought to be a weed only suitable as feed for livestock, oats have been proven valuable as both a food and skin care ingredient. Evidence shows that oats were in Northern Europe as early as the Bronze Age and made their journey to North America in 1602 with an English explorer. The genus name Avena means nourishing while Sativa
Packed full of nutrients, all parts of the plant are used; grain, straw, and seed. Oats provide the best amino acid balance of all grains; a high lipid content to retain moisture; minerals for stronger skin, hair, and nails; plus an assortment of B vitamins to reduce stress and anxiety. Furthermore, in 1995, the Quaker Oats brand petitioned the FDA and was granted permission for the first heart health claim related to a specific food.
Oats have more water soluble fiber than other grains forming a thick mucilaginous gel which absorbs and moves excess sugars and fats through the body. By slowing the absorption of glucose in the blood and moving cholesterol out of the body, it helps to stabilize blood glucose levels and lower cholesterol for a healthier heart and body.
The anti-inflammatory property of oats is due to its high lipid content that softens and heals dry, itchy skin. Both oat grain and oat straw are used in shampoos, moisturizers, cleansing bars, and dusting powders.
According to Jerry Whittemore, former VP at Jason cosmetics, with a doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry, oats have two major accomplishments:
- Oats are a category 1 over-the-counter (OTC) monographed human protective drug. Meaning it helps the skin to do what it is supposed to do. By increasing the skin’s protective barrier it keeps water in and bacteria, fungus, pathogens, and poison oak out.
- Oat Beta Glucan, is a strong antioxidant derived from natural oats. It scavenges free radicals that relate to mistakes in cell replication which leads to aging. Beta Glucans are used in premium priced antioxidant lotions and creams to reduce aging of skin cells.
Whittemore says, “The FDA Human Monographs are very important to our personal care industry because they allow marketers to market actual, real drugs (ie: acne therapy drugs) without expensive premarket approval.”
Oat Straw is the grass and leaf portion of the plant commonly used as a tea or bath soak. Containing properties of the whole grain it is also used as a nerve tonic for the release of stress, exhaustion, and even depression.
Wild Oats (Bach Flower Essence) captures the “energy vibration” of the plant. It may be used orally, on pulse points, in sprays, and in baths. Wild oats is used to alleviate depression, open the intuitive channel, think outside the box, adapt and have the flexibility to change as needed.
Now that you are in the know… you may eat, drink, and be merry with the many virtues of oats.