Last Friday was Oatmeal Day. (And since Saturday was “Be Late for Something Day”, I’m following suggestions.)
Call me weird, but I grew up eating oatmeal in the winter and still like it. Hot, a little brown sugar & milk, mmm. Wintertime comfort food which is not only warming but nutritious.
While there are a lot of “instant” products on the market today, the most healthful benefits are found in the whole, rolled oats. It takes longer to cook but you get more nutrients and fiber. Studies have found that eating two to three servings of whole oats per day can reduce both total and LDL cholesterol 2-3% over a low-fat diet alone.
Herbalists don’t usually use the oatmeal – we use the “straw” instead. This is simply the dried plant. The most widely-known benefit of oats is as a skin soother. Oats are found as an ingredient in bath and beauty products generally marketed for dry or irritated skin. You can make a very soothing bath on your own by cooking about a pound of oatstraw in two quarts water for about a half hour. Strain this mixture and then add the liquid to a warm bath. (If you try this with oatmeal you will end up with a gelatinous goo which is impossible to strain. Trust me on this.)
Oats are also used orally to treat depression and stress. A cup of oatstraw “tea” or 3-5 mL of the tincture is taken three times a day in addition to other therapies.
So, if you’re feeling a wee bit stressed nowadays (and who isn’t?), try a cup of oatstraw tea or get even more healthful benefits by eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Oats are known magically to bring prosperity so who knows? Your morning oatmeal may get you that perfect job or a rise in pay!