Oat Tops

Oat Tops

avena sativa

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Other names: Milky Oats
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Seed, Unripe Seed, Stem & Leaves
  • Side Effects: Those with wheat sensitivity (celiac) may have react
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About Oat Tops

Avena sativa is a famous crop of the family Poaceae. It is commonly hailed as oats. Here, oat tops refer to the milky tops that are consumed in dried form since the prehistoric era. Oat plant is characterized by the vertically erect stem and a dense fibrous underground root system. It has numerous branches with spikelets, possessing flowers. These spikelets are responsible for producing two seeds, out of which one matures.

The use of oats runs down through the generations as a food and health supporter. The oat tops are considered to originate with the aphrodisiac property. It is famous as ‘‘Nature’s Viagra’’ as it potentiates the libido in both men and women. Also, it helps in attenuating menstrual cramps, bloating, and other women-related disorders.

The medicinal perks of oat tops know no bounds as they are all-rounder when it comes to catering to human health. It supports heart health by promoting healthy circulation that reduces the chances of atherosclerosis, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. It also acts as a potent anxiolytic.

Oat tops are brimmed with various physiologically active compounds, out of which avenanthramide is useful in reducing inflammation. Other essential constituents include phosphorus, magnesium, folate, thiamine, calcium, sodium, niacin, fiber, and vitamin C.

Growing

Oats are considered the third most eaten crop in the USA. Oat seeds are obliged to be grown outdoors as it is not some petty crop. It needs a good amount of space to flourish.

Annual oat seeds must be planted in the early spring, at least 1/2 inch deep and 12-14 inches apart in the soil bed. On the other hand, the perennial oat varieties are sown in spring or autumn.

The oats crop requires full to partial sun exposure and well-drained soil with a pH ranging from 6 to 7.5. The crop must be watered to keep the soil moist and allow healthy germination. Even after sprouting, the crop should be watered to avoid drying conditions. Compost or manure can be added to the bed to avoid excessive evaporation of water.

Oats seed takes around 6 to 10 weeks to sprout. The plant then grows at a moderate pace. Soon few tendrils appear past the soil bed. It takes at least two months for the oat plant to show a steady pace of growth after germination.

The oat plant steps into the blooming phase in July and continues the process for around 6 weeks. The flowers on the spikelets are self-pollinated as insect pollination proves to be of no use here. The pollination results in the formation of seeds, which drop from the plant or are collected to be grown again.

Harvesting

The best time to begin oats tops harvest is when it turns golden-brown i.e. is usually in August (late summers).

Oat tops are the most anticipated part of the whole crop and they can be harvested by making use of the scythe, sickle, or binder.

Oat tops are arranged thinly on the baking sheet and are oven-dried on the lowest setting. They can also be dried by making use of a dehydrator.

Usage

Oats are cheered all around the world due to their purported medicinal benefits.

  • Tincture - Infuse freshly chopped oat tops in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea - Dried oat tops are steeped overnight, strained, and can be heated at the time of ingestion of oats tea.
  • Decoction - Dried oat tops are boiled in water for an hour, strained, and consumed to counter various diseases.
  • Salve - Oat tops are soaked in water and grinded to form a smooth paste. This paste is then added to melted Shea butter and coconut oil to form a salve.