Question: Oatstraw infusions seem to be your catch all remedy. Why?
Answer: Oatstraw is a herb I've used on a regular basis for about three years now and I do tend to sing its praises rather loudly. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if there are people out there who think of me as "that oatstraw lady." The answer to why I value oatstraw so highly really has two parts.
The first has to do with the nutritional value of oatstraw. Oatstraw is rich in vitamins and minerals, not the least of which are the B vitamins (except of course B12) and calcium and magnesium. It is especially helpful for nourishing the adrenals and for supporting the nervous system. Oatstraw infusions are an easy and pleasant way to supplement the nutritional value of one's food and can even serve as breakfast in a pinch.
The second part of my answer is at the heart of why I love oatstraw and is really more of a story than anything else. Over a period of two years I suffered a series of miscarriages that left me depressed and physically and emotionally exhausted. I also had headaches related to hormonal imbalance. It's hard to describe the depths of lethargy and apathy I felt. My body was very weak and seemed unusually susceptible to any illness that came along. I found myself unable to function in every day life and I wondered if I would ever be able to function normally again. I came across an article by Susun Weed on nourishing infusions and after reading it I began drinking oatstraw infusions on a daily basis. Within a week I began to feel there might be hope. Within a few months I was able to function at a reasonable level of activity. I continued taking oatstraw infusions at least three times a week with an occasional week off. It took two years for my body and emotions to heal to the extent I was back to my pre-miscarriage activity levels but after three years I have even surpassed them. I have a variety of tools to manage my depression but oatstraw is one of the most important. As long as I drink it I do not experience more than a very mild case of "the blues" (and even that, rarely) and I have the energy I need to take care of my family and run my business. I no longer have hormonal headaches and I don't even experience the migraines I used to occasionally get when exposed to chemicals. My emotions are more balanced and I am better able to deal with the ups and downs of life. If I neglect to take oatstraw for longer than a week or two, the difference is noticeable enough my husband will ask, "Have you taken oatstraw lately?" It's his very tactful way of letting me know I'm cranky and exhausted and I need to take care of myself.
I have several friends and family members who drink oatstraw on a regular basis and they also have reported greater energy and emotional stability. They seem to find they are ill less often as well.
There are very few contraindications for oatstraw as it is really more of a food than anything else. There are conflicting opinions as to whether oatstraw should be avoided by those who are gluten-intolerant. The main issue appears to be whether the oatstraw is cross-contaminated by being processed on equipment also used to process wheat. I have been told Mountain Rose Herbs' oatstraw is processed separately from wheat and other sources of gluten but you should contact them to verify this. Some people may also be sensitive to the protein in oatstraw but I don't know how common this is. My approach in these situations would be to use common sense and approach oatstraw as you would any other new food. If you have ADD/ADHD you may want to use less oatstraw to begin with and pay attention to its effect on you as some people with ADD/ADHD find higher quantities of oatstraw give them excess energy although they also say a more moderate amount helps them concentrate better and accomplish more.
Disclaimer: This blog post is based completely on my own experience and the experiences of my friends and should not be taken as medical advice. Oatstraw is not a drug and should not be used as a replacement for drugs.