Oats, Groats, Haver. Whatever you wish to call it,
Avena Sativa or it's wild sister Avena Fatua just might be the
most versatile and beneficial plant alive. It is a
graceful grassy plant with it's fragile grain heads dancing in
the breeze. How a plant so elegant and delicate can pack
such an enormous punch amazes me. As with all plants, the
Oat derives it's name from Latin. Avena-nourishing, and
Sativa-cultivated, Fatua-foolish, but also associated with
amour-love, affection, infatuation.
Oatmeal is my number one comfort food. I love steel cut
Irish Oats with butter and lots of brown sugar and whole milk.
Yes, I know all the fat probably negates some of the benefits,
but we're talking comfort here! For those of you who
aren't big fans of oatmeal, you're not just missing out on the
cardiovascular/cholesterol lowering benefits; here are a few
more: Body building- oats are a great source of protein,
vitamins, calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron which make them
perfect for strong, healthy teeth and bones. With traces
of vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, selenium, iron, calcium,
zinc, and copper, Oats have the ability to raise energy levels
stress. They can regulate hormones. Eating the fiber
of oats regularly promotes a healthy digestive tract, which
leads many to believe Oats to be beneficial in cancer
prevention. So that's all on the inside of your body.
It gets even better when we look at what Oats can do for your
Since I could write a page for both Oat straw and Oat grains, I
will focus on just the grain's cosmetic use at this time.
From the humble but mighty Oat grain, we can extract the
following: Oat flour, Oat oil, Oat protein, Oat CO2 extract, Oat
beta glucans, and of course, ground Oat kernels, or oatmeal.
Oat flour contains approximately:
6% beta glucan
3-7% fat (or lipids)
High in unsaturated fatty acids, especially linoleic acid, an
essential fatty acid which smooths the skin. Oat flour
can be used as an ingredient in a soothing body powder and
cosmetics. In lotions it not only adds nutrients to the
formula, but also adds body and a nice after feel to the lotion
itself. Oat flour is wonderful in skin care products for
sensitive skin and even those with eczema or inflamed acne. As
well as being a film former (which helps guard
against pollutants and environmental conditions), Oat flour
contains phytate and phenolic acids, which are known
After the Sun Soothing Bath
1 cup buttermilk powder (in the baking aisle of larger grocery
stores) or 3 cups fresh milk
?cup finely ground Oats or
?cup dried Chamomile flowers (if you do not have access to
these, use 5 bags of Chamomile tea)
20 minutes before your bath, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add
Chamomile, remove from heat, cover and let set
for 20 minutes. Start bath water (just warm, not hot) and add
milk and Oats. Strain Chamomile and add the liquid to
bath water. Soak for 15 minutes and finish off by rinsing in
tepid water and moisturizing well while still damp.
Oat oil is not an oil you'll find on the ingredient labels very
often. It's fairly rare and expensive to start with. In it's
unrefined state, a very dark brown oil. While it wouldn't make
an aesthetically pleasing lotion by itself, as an
additive in lotions, creams, facial oils, salves and balms, it's
properties add unique benefits. Oat oil is rich in the
omega-6 and 9 essential fatty acids, vitamin E and the lipids
contained in the Oats are phospholipids and
glycolipids which soothe and smooth. It adds excellent
antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties, and skin barrier
Hydrolyzed Oats are the liquidized, or soluble form of whole
Oats. This golden liquid contains oligosaccharides,
which are basically large molecules of sugars attached to either
lipids(fats) or, in this case, proteins. When used in
cosmetics, hydrolyzed Oats have the ability to maintain
elasticity and moisture on the skin, regardless of humidity
levels, which makes it a fabulous humectant, especially for those
living in arid conditions. In hair care formulas,
hydrolyzed Oats add softness, strength and body to the hair
Oat CO2 extract is the extreme concentrated form of the Oat
grain. It is extracted with Carbon Dioxide (yes, the
same thing we breathe out), no solvents or salts are used in the
process. It's extra rich in the essential fatty acids
which make it a super nourisher and a lovely soother to mature,
or damaged skin.
Oat Beta Glucans
Oat Beta Glucans are the shining star, the cream of the crop,
the cat's meow of the tiny little powerhouse known
as the Oat. Clinical studies have proven that oat beta glucans
actually penetrate the dermis and work within the
lower layers of the epidermis to reduce wrinkles, fine lines ,
and actually soften the texture of the skin.
Researchers believe this gives promise to a Botox alternative.
Sweet Organic Oat & Flower Masque
5 tablespoons kaolin or bentonite clay
2 tablespoons organic rolled
1 tablespoon dried Rose petals or
1 tablespoon organic sugar
a small food processor or coffee grinder combine the oats,
flowers and sugar. Grind until a fine powder. Combine with
clay and store in a tightly closed jar in a cool, dry place.
This is a facial masque
you can make ahead and store for up to six months.
Moisten face by
splashing with warm water and allow the pores to open. Mix
1/2 teaspoon of the scrub with enough liquid of your choice to
make a wet paste. Slowly and gently massage over face and
neck avoiding the eye area. Massages for 1-2 minutes.
Rinse thoroughly. If you are extremely sensitive, limit your
scrubs to bi-weekly. If you do not show irritation, once a
week will be fine.
And oatmeal? Ground Oats have been used for literally centuries
in baths to soothe itchy, sensitive skin. Poultices
are used for dermatitis conditions such as eczema, acne, and
especially chicken pox. It's an antioxidant,
and anti-irritant. It improves skin hydration and elasticity.
It's a great natural exfoliator in scrubs and
masks. And best of all, oatmeal tastes great...especially with
lots of brown sugar.
Simple Scrubs for Face & Body
Basic Ingredients -
Mix-Ins for Individual Skin Types
The simplest choice of course is water, plain and simple.
Dry Skin - Unsweetened Apple juice & Pineapple juice are great to
gently remove dead skin cells.
For Sensitive Skin -
Aloe Vera & Honey are very soothing. Whole milk and cream
are also beneficial.
Normal/Combination- Buttermilk, Sour Cream, or plain Yogurt are
high in lactic acid, which helps to balance oily
skin and helps eliminate blackheads. Cucumber puree and Aloe vera are cooling and soothing.
Oily/Acne Prone - Along with the above, diluted Lemon juice,
Honey and mashed Papaya work as a natural peel to
encourage skin cell turnover and healing.
Moisten face by splashing with warm water and allow the pores to
open. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of the scrub with
enough liquid of your choice to make a wet paste. Slowly and
gently massage over face and neck avoiding the eye
area. Massage for 1-2 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. If you are
extremely sensitive, limit your scrubs to bi-weekly. If
you do not show irritation, once a week will be fine.
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