Sunday, April 24, 2016

                        Blog#50: Herbs You Can Use Safely for Healing

There are many ways to use herbs for healing.  They can be used as teas, which usually are mild and primarily act as mild stimulants or sedatives; they can be used as infusions, which make them act more like tonifying foods; they can be used in extractions, which allows them to become more medicinal; they can be used as seasonings, which can have a subtle effect on the various internal organs, and help in digestion; and they can be used in several other ways.  These seven blogs will cover the use of herbs as infusions, a method that many people will find new and quite helpful.  I recommend initially using just one herb at a time in an infusion; that way you will be able to tell exactly how it affects you.  If you combine several herbs into an infusion and experience an undesirable reaction, you won’t know whether you were sensitive to a particular herb or whether the synergy of the herbal combination was problematic.  All the herbs I cover are non-toxic and tonifying.  They can be used singly in teas or infusions for long periods of time on a daily basis without problems, except for the rare individuals who may be allergic or sensitive to them. 

Today we will look at oat straw.  Oat straw is part of the plant from which we make oatmeal – it is the green, unripe stems and leaves of the common oat plant, which is called Avena Sativa.  Oat straw is also sometimes referred to as wild oats.  Although there is not a lot of scientific research to strongly support some claims for oat straw, it is known in folk lore and by word of mouth to be an aphrodisiac, particularly for men.  It is also reputed to help people stop smoking, and is even considered to have anti-depressant and  stress-reducing effects.  Additionally, oat straw is reputed to help lower cholesterol and also to help increase your energy level in general.

You can find Avena Sativa at health food stores and quality herb shops.  It should be organic, since wild oat is also sometimes considered to be a weed and may be sprayed with toxic pesticides, such as Round-up, if it is growing among other grains, such as wheat.  You can make an oat straw infusion as follows:

Take anywhere from one heaping tablespoon to one ounce by weight of oat straw and place it in a glass ball jar which has a quality, sealing lid.  Pour over the oat straw water that has just been boiled.  Pour slowly and all the way to the top.  Stir gently with a stainless steel or wooden spoon, if desired, to make sure the herb does not stay only on top of the water.  Close the lid and leave in a shaded/dark place for anywhere from four hours to overnight.  Remove the lid and strain off the herbs, leaving only the liquid infusion.  Refrigerate and drink within 24 hours.

Some people are sensitive or allergic to oats, but this is fairly rare.  Also, if the oats were growing amidst a crop of wheat, barley, or rye, then people who are gluten sensitive or allergic will generally react poorly to it, though their reactions will actually be to the remnants of gluten from wheat. 

This week’s offer:  Come in for an herbal assessment, during which I will take your pulses, look at your tongue, take a history and suggest a beneficial use of infusion for you, specifically, perhaps a combination of herbs, or else sequential uses of different single herbs.