The oats chattering in the breeze whisper a calming sensation that washes over you just being in their presence. These common breakfast grains are a must in our garden, and I thoroughly enjoy working with them. If you subscribe to our newsletter, Honey Bee, you have probably heard me drone on endlessly about Avena sativa and all that this amazingly nutritious plant has to offer our nervous system, well I am not about to stop now.
The oats that we grow are the exact same variety that you find in your breakfast bowl. We simply toss the seeds around in the soil and then walk over them, gently pressing them into the earth. All they require is some water and light. Left to mature they produce whole oat groats that you would eat or use to plant for next year's crop. There is approximately a one week window that these tops, while still immature, ooze a milky sap rich in nerve calming properties. We live in zone 6 and direct sowed our oats on April 24th this year. By the week of June 14th the plant developed oat tops. We squeezed the tops once a week, checking for that creamy goodness we sought. By July 3rd we found that silica rich liquid and knew it was time to harvest. To gather these little pods of tranquility, we simply started at the bottom of the stalk and pulled upward, raking the tops off between our fingers. This meditative practice invoked a calming sensation; allowing my mind to blissfully wander while I accomplished this "chore."
Our nerve cells are coated in a protective fatty tissue called a myelinated sheath. If left to the stressors of our lives, this barrier can wear down, fraying our nerves and delaying the electrical impulses that carry messages from our brain to the rest of our body. The milky juice secreted by the immature oats helps repair the myelin sheath, insulating the axon fibers. The terminology used to classify plants that specifically support our nervous system are appropriately called nervines.
Some herbalists will argue that you must tincture the immature tops once this opaque fluid is present in order to capture the nervine properties this grain has to offer. While others believe that if you dry the tops while they are in this milky phase, the nerve calming properties will be dried inside the husks and still bioavailable. We opted to take both roads; pulverizing the freshly harvested hulls with vodka to create this surprisingly green tincture and also drying some of the tops to be used in our Oat Chai tisane. After harvesting these grains we travel back to the garden and chop off the stems left behind after collecting, also known as oat straw. These stalks are hung upside until they are dry and then we use fancy herb cutting scissors to chop them into little pieces to further enhance our soothing Oat Chai.
The oat tops claim all of the glory, producing the gorgeous nerve coating milky goodness we seek out during harvest time. Oat straw often becomes the overlooked red-headed step child of the Avena sativa plant. However the straw contains high levels of the active constituents believed to support brain function, reduce stress and support sleep. This nutritious part of the plant is prized for its iron, calcium and magnesium content along with its nerve calming properties. The benefits of oat straw can be felt almost immediately in most people, but he is most effective if consumed consistently over a period of time. With the constantly changing stressors this year has brought, everyone could benefit from a little extra nerve support.
This year we are taking the purists approach and for the first time we are offering this herb in its own tincture. But fear not loyal customers, this milky tincture will still find its way into our coveted Chillax formula. You will find a 1 oz bottle of our Milky Oats tincture along with a 2 oz bag of our Oat Chai in this Autumn's Subscription box, due to ship the second week in September. This seasonally crafted herbal goody box arrives just in time to support you and yours before the holiday hustle.
Give our Oat Chai Latte recipe a try and cheers to rolling with the punches!
OAT CHAI LATTE:
1 TBSP Oat Chai tisane
8 oz hot water
milk of your choosing
sweetener of choice
Take a tbsp of our signature Oat Chai tisane and place it in your tea ball. Pour the hot water over top, cover and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes. Add in honey or other sweetener if you wish. I personally prefer not to sweeten this brew, but I do love to add in some vanilla macadamia milk. Enjoy this nervine strengthener hot or over ice.