Oat Grass Benefits

Oat Grass
Latin Name

Avena Sativa

Also Known As

Oat Grass, Button Grass

Origin

Europe

Parts Used

Young tender stems

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Oat Grass has been used traditionally for medicinal purposes for many years. Uses include helping to balance the menstrual cycle, to treat dysmenorrhoea, for osteoporosis and urinary tract infections.

Oat Grass belongs to the family Poaceae, joining the other supergreen grasses such as Wheatgrass and Barleygrass.  Paleobotanists place this ancient cereal grass as being cultivated as early as 2000 B.C.

Oat Grass Benefits

Digestive Health

Oat Grass is extremely rich in antioxidants, including one particularly powerful one called tricin. This flavone compound exerts smooth muscle relaxing properties, making it beneficial for gastrointestinal cramping.

It is also a great source of both soluble and insoluble fibre - insoluble fibre isn’t broken down by the gut and absorbed into the bloodstream. It adds bulk to waste in the digestive system which helps to keep you regular whilst preventing constipation,

Soluble fibre is soft and sticky and absorbs water to form a gel-like substance inside the digestive system. It helps to soften the stool so it can slide through the GI tract more easily and binds to substances like cholesterol and sugar, preventing or slowing their absorption into the blood. That's why it's known to help regulate blood sugar levels and protect against heart disease. What's more, soluble fibre boosts the population of good bacteria in the gut which is linked to improved immunity, anti-inflammatory effects and even enhanced mood.

Alkalises the Body

Our body’s Ph is now known to be of paramount importance, with countless studies pointing to the fact that disease struggles to take hold and thrive in an alkaline environment. Oat Grass is highly alkalising (as are many leafy green vegetables), and as such can provide many healing benefits.

In his ground-breaking book “Healing is Voltage”, Dr Jerry Tennant explains that voltage is synonymous with Ph. He discovered that cells are designed to operate at -22mv which is equivalent to a Ph of 7.35 (slightly alkaline). He found that an alkaline Ph will provide your cells with an electrical charge whilst an acidic Ph depletes this charge. This charge translates into energy within the body – the more charge your cells can store, the more energy you will have.

If you eat too many acid forming foods without counterbalancing with alkaline foods, the body struggles to maintain the blood’s Ph – normal blood Ph is tightly regulated between 7.35 – 7.45, the result of too many acid forming foods is catastrophic to the body in many ways. Firstly it will pull alkalising minerals out of your bones and teeth, such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. This can understandably lead to a whole host of disorders including osteoporosis. The body will also store excess acid in the muscles, one of the primary causes of fibromyalgia. If not kept in check, your body may go into a state of “acidosis”, this occurs when arterial Ph falls below 7.35 - chronic acidosis corrodes body tissue, and if left unchecked, will interrupt all cellular activities and functions. 

Antioxidant

Oat Grass is very antioxidant rich, containing a recently discovered member of the flavonoid family, tricin. It is recognised as a valuable human health compound due to its antioxidant, anti-aging and cardio-protective potentials.

Everyday stress, pollution and processed foods can lead to the formation of free radicals. These are rogue atoms or atomic groups which have lost at least one electron and are forced to steal electrons from neighbouring molecules in the hope of stabilising themselves which can cause havoc in the body. Tricin is also a prolific free radical scavenger, helping to slow down the aging process and lessening the effects of oxidative stress.

Folklore and History

It is thought that modern oats probably originated from the Asian wild red oat which grew as a weed it other grain crops. Archaeological studies show that oats have been found dating from 2,000 BCE and have been used ever since as a valuable source of human and animal nutrition.

The Ancient Greeks and Romans considered oats to be diseased wheat and believed them better suited to animals, despite this oats became a popular staple in Germany, Scandinavia, Ireland and most famously Scotland!

Oat Grass
Constituents

Aconitic acid, apigenin, avenarin, caffeic acid, calcium, carbohydrates, carotene, β-carotene, chlorine, chlorophyll A and B, chromium, cobalt, copper, rhamnosides, glucosides, fat, fiber, fructose, glutamic acid, glutaric acid, guanine, hypoxanthine, iodine, iron, isoleucine, leucine, lignin, luteolin, lysine, magnesium, malic acid, manganese, methionine, niacin, oxalic acid, pantothenic acid, pentosans, phosphorus, potassium, proline, protein, pyridoxine, riboflavin, selenium, silicon, silicon oxide, β-sitosterol, sodium, spermidine, spermine, sugars, sulfur, tartaric acid, thiamine, threonine, the antioxidant tricin, tryptophan, uronic acids, valine, vanillin, and zinc.

Precautions

Oat grass is safe and can be consumed by most people including pregnant and breast-feeding women. Nevertheless, consumers should take note that it can cause digestive tract problems such as bloating. If you experience such problems, reduce your daily dosage then increase it gradually over time. However, if this strategy fails to work, you should consult your healthcare professional or dietitian as soon as possible.