We are all looking for ways to improve our health, and when it comes to good nutrition, nature has the answers.
There are several plants with the ability to really influence the way our bodies function, giving us the daily wellbeing boost we need.
It turns out that Oat Straw Extract is one of these plants.
Here we look at the multiple benefits of Oat Straw Extract and how it can impact different areas of your health and wellbeing.
What is Oat Straw Extract (OSE)?
You may be familiar with the benefit of the whole grain oats you associate with a wholesome breakfast, but what is oat straw extract? This less well-known health supplement is derived from the same plant as the oats in your porridge.
However, the ‘straw’ is picked earlier on in the maturation process, when the plant is still young and green.
The true name for the common oat plant is Avena Sativa, and you may see oatstraw extract listed like this in the health food shops.
So, when the oatstraw extract is harvested, the oat plant then continues to grow until it is ready for the larger seeds we call oats to be collected. It really is a multi-talented gift from nature!
From a nutritional perspective, oatstraw extract is naturally high in iron, manganese, and zinc.
These are commonly the type of minerals that many people find hard to get enough of, especially on a plant-based diet, so it is always good to discover nutrient-dense additions to your diet.
Can oat straw improve erectile function?
When we think about our erectile function, the number one question is: are we getting enough blood flow into the area?
Evidence indicates that poor blood flow, whether through high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or the narrowing of the blood vessels that occurs with atherosclerosis- the “precursor” to heart disease-can contribute to a reduced blood flow to the penis.
When we add in dehydration, stress, and alcohol use, it is no wonder that we can sometimes struggle with our erectile function.
But, helpfully, one of the main areas of interest when it comes to oatstraw extract is its ability to improve blood flow throughout the body:
- One of the best ways to increase blood flow is to increase the body’s production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide acts as a vasodilator which means it relaxes our vascular system (blood vessels), allowing better, freer blood flow.
- OSE actually encourages this production of nitric oxide, which explains why studies using oatstraw extract supplements had significantly better scores for blood flow towards both the brain and the heart after a 24 week period when compared to a placebo control
OSE also has a high quantity of a special type of antioxidant- known as avenanthramides. We know how important the antioxidants we consume via fruit and veg are in reducing our bodies’ oxidative stress via daily life.
With the avenanthramides, their unique bioactive profiles are thought to reduce inflammation in the arteries, improve atherosclerotic plaques, and, subsequently, support the type of improved blood flow we need to both obtain and maintain an erection.
Of course, there is no magic fix for erectile dysfunction. The science shows just how important it is to maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, avoid becoming dehydrated and keep stress to a minimum.
Luckily, if this an issue you occasionally experience, it is likely to be the result of a common lifestyle factor that can be easily improved with some small adjustments.
However, if you are in any way concerned about your erectile dysfunction, especially if you have symptoms of other chronic diseases, then do seek support from your doctor.
Great, but are there actually any studies showing OSE improves erectile function specifically?
In a word, yes, there are. One study highlighted OSE or wild oats’ ability to give it yet another name to improve erection function where low testosterone was the cause, as the extract also has hormone modulating benefits.
As a bonus, the same study highlighted these aptly named wild oats actually increased sexual sensation and orgasm rate in both men and women!
Brilliant, so what else can OSE do for me?
Aside from improved blood flow and better erectile function, there are several additional benefits to incorporating this medicinal plant into your daily routine, whether on its own or as part of a comprehensive supplement regime.
Improved mental state
It’s not just our physical health that OSE can help with. Traditionally, this extract was used to manage stress and anxiety, and science backs up this benefit.
Inflammation has been recently connected to mental states such as depression, and therefore one of the reasons OSE may help is by reducing systemic inflammation levels, including levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This, in turn, can improve our mood.
Admittedly, we do need some more studies focused on humans, but the animal models have shown that, when compared to a placebo, rats’ stress scores went down after OSE was taken daily.
Better brain function
As we age, maintaining our brain function is usually top of the list for our health concerns. And rightly so, as we do tend to be more vulnerable to certain forms of cognitive decline during this time. But, don’t worry, as help is on hand.
For older adults suffering from brain function impairment, OSE improved a number of core measures, such as concentration levels, better attention, and even improved memory. While more evidence is needed to confirm the benefits for adults without brain function impairment, it’s one to keep an eye on.
We talked about the special antioxidants in OSE, which can promote our arterial health via reducing oxidative stress. Still, there is a good evidence base for its capacity to reduce the type of systemic inflammation that raises our risk for multiple chronic disease states, including type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
While we can focus on a generally ‘anti-inflammatory’ style diet and lifestyle, sometimes we need a little extra help at mitigating the inflammatory aspects of modern life. Stress, lack of sleep, being overweight, and having poor gut health can contribute to our inflammatory burden, but helpfully, OSE can be an easy addition to your inflammation-fighting regime.
Any adverse effects?
Of course, no supplement is ‘perfect .’ Sometimes, there is a range of possible side effects from taking a particular plant in large amounts. Luckily, OSE is well tolerated by most people; however, there are just a couple of things to bear in mind:
- Just in case you planned on sharing your supplement, it is not currently certain how safe this extract would be for pregnant women or young children, so probably best to err on the safe side.
- There are no established drug interactions. However, if you are on any medication relating to heart health or blood pressure etc., then it may be worth checking in with your doctor, just to be sure.
- If you are celiac or have a gluten intolerance, then make sure you opt for a product that is labeled as gluten-free. While the extract in itself is already free from gluten. It can get cross-contaminated if processed with other gluten-containing grains.
How to incorporate Oatstraw into your lifestyle
There are many easy ways to benefit from this medical plant. You can find Oat Straw in teas, supplements, and more. Use our guide to set you on your way:
- You can make a nourishing oat straw infusion- either together with other herbs such as nettle, or alone, you can infuse a cup of dried oat straw into a quart mason jar filled with boiling water and allow it to brew for a minimum of 4 hours, ideally longer- up to 8 hours. After this time, the infusion will take on a milky oat taste and can make a soothing pre-bed drink.
- You can also drink oat straw as a tea- drank warm to gain the benefits of the helpful oat-based herb; just allow the dried herbs a little time to steep before you drink it to maximize its goodness. When you buy your OSE, aim to look for organic oat straw, as then you know you will be getting a pure product.
- You can also buy the green oat straw extract as a tincture- whereby you add a few drops to water and sip during the day if you prefer a cold drink.
- Adding in other dried herbs such as stinging nettle, or lemon balm, will elevate your nourishing herbal infusion- and give you additional health benefits along the way. It might also enhance the flavor if you are not keen on its taste alone.
- As part of a supplement- OSE is often added into products that support male health- as it is a valuable aid in the quest for better erectile function. This is a very convenient method of taking the plant, as it involves no steeping or infusing. The choice is yours.
This lesser-known, the traditional medicinal plant has multiple health benefits. We have explored just how useful this antioxidant-rich oatstraw extract is against chronic inflammation, poor blood flow, cardiovascular risk factors, and specifically, erectile dysfunction.
You can incorporate oatstraw extract into your life in a number of simple, straightforward ways, whether as a nourishing herbal infusion, combined with other herbs, like a milky drink, a tincture, or as part of your supplement regime.
Whichever you choose, know that oatstraw extract, taken from the common oat plant, is an unsung hero for your good health.