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Oats

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What other names is Oats known by?

Avena, Avena Fructus, Avena byzantina, Avena orientalis, Avena sativa, Avena volgensis, Avenae Herba, Avenae Stramentum, Avoine, Avoine Entière, Avoine Sauvage, Cereal Fiber, Dietary Fiber, Farine d'Avoine, Fibre Alimentaire, Fibre Céréalière, Fibre d'Avoine, Folle Avoine, Grain d'Avoine, Green Oat, Green Oat Grass, Groats, Gruau, Oat, Oat Bran, Oat Fiber, Oat Flour, Oat Fruit, Oat Grain, Oat Grass, Oat Herb, Oat Straw, Oat Tops, Oatstraw, Oatmeal, Oats, Paille, Paille d'Avoine, Porridge, Rolled Oats, Son d'Avoine, Straw, Whole Oat, Whole Oats, Wild Oat, Wild Oat Herb, Wild Oats Milky Seed.

What is Oats?

Oat is a plant. People use the seed (oat), leaves and stem (oat straw), and bran (the outer layer of whole oats) to make medicine.

Oat bran and whole oats are used for high blood pressure; high cholesterol; diabetes; and digestion problems including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diarrhea, and constipation. They are also used for preventing heart disease, gallstones, colon cancer, and stomach cancer.

People use oats for joint pain (rheumatism), fatigue, a fatigue-related condition called neurasthenia syndrome, withdrawal from nicotine and narcotics, and lowering high uric acid levels that can cause gout. Oats are also used for anxiety, excitation and stress; as well as for weak bladder and kidney ailments. Other uses include connective tissue disorders, skin diseases, fat redistribution syndrome associated with HIV treatment, and as a tonic.

Oat straw is used for the flu, swine (H1N1) flu, coughs, bladder disorders, joint pain, eye ailments, frostbite, gout, and a skin infection called impetigo.

Topically, oats are used for skin conditions including itchiness, dryness, oiliness, weeping eczema, and contact dermatitis. Oats are also applied to the skin for chicken pox, osteoarthritis, liver disorders, and added to foot baths for chronically cold or tired feet.

In foods, oats are used as a grain or cereal.

In manufacturing, oats are included in some bath products and soaps.

Likely Effective for...

  • Reducing the risk of heart disease, when oat bran is used as part of a diet low in fat and cholesterol. Current FDA regulations and guidelines allow food products containing whole oats that provide 750 mg of soluble fiber per serving to be labeled with the health claim that the product may reduce the risk of heart disease when included as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Lowering cholesterol. Eating oats, oat bran, and other soluble fibers can modestly reduce total and "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol when consumed as part of a diet low in saturated fat. For each gram of soluble fiber (beta-glucan) consumed, total cholesterol decreases by about 1.42 mg/dL and LDL by about 1.23 mg/dL. Eating 3-10 grams of soluble fiber can reduce total cholesterol by about 4-14 mg/dL. But there's a limit. Doses of soluble fiber greater than 10 grams per day don't seem to increase effectiveness.
    Eating three bowls of oatmeal (28 gram servings) daily can decrease total cholesterol by about 5 mg/dL. Oat bran products (oat bran muffins, oat bran flakes, oat bran Os, etc.) may vary in their ability to lower cholesterol, depending on the total soluble fiber content. Whole oat products might be more effective in lowering LDL and total cholesterol than foods containing oat bran plus beta-glucan soluble fiber.
    The FDA recommends that approximately 3 grams of soluble fiber be taken daily to lower blood cholesterol levels. However, this recommendation doesn't match research findings; according to controlled clinical studies, at least 3.6 grams of soluble fiber daily is needed to lower cholesterol.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Reducing blood sugar levels in people with diabetes when oat bran is used in the diet. Eating oats and oat bran for 6 weeks significantly decreases before-meal blood sugar, 24-hour blood sugar, and insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes. There is some evidence that consuming 50 grams of oat bran daily, containing 25 grams of soluble fiber, might be more effective than the moderate fiber diet of 24 grams daily recommended by the American Diabetes Association.
  • Preventing stomach cancer when oats and oat bran are used in the diet.

Possibly Ineffective for...

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Preventing fat redistribution syndrome in people with HIV disease. Eating a high-fiber diet, including oats, with adequate energy and protein might prevent fat accumulation in people with HIV. A one-gram increase in total dietary fiber may decrease the risk of fat accumultion by 7%.
  • Blocking fat from being absorbed from the gut.
  • Preventing gallstones.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Diverticulosis.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Constipation.
  • Anxiety.
  • Stress.
  • Nerve disorders.
  • Bladder weakness.
  • Joint and tendon disorders.
  • Gout.
  • Kidney conditions.
  • Opium and nicotine withdrawal.
  • Skin diseases.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate oats for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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