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Introduction

Oat straw is part of the oat plant, also known as avena sativa, representing its green stem.

It is amongst one of the oldest cultivated grains, with the oldest known cultivated oats being found in Swiss caves.

The extract is made by gathering the stem when it is ripe, drying it, chopping it, then entering manufacturing procedures to be converted into different forms such as tinctures.

These have a long history of medicinal use for a number of psychotropic purposes, usually being for the alleviation of anxiety.

More commonly nowadays it is touted as a brain booster or marketed as a sexual enhancer.

Oat Straw Extract Health Benefits

May Improve Brain Function

Some evidence shows that oat straw extract may benefit cognitive function, with a single dose of 1600mg improving elderly peoples performance on the Stroop task – a psychological task to match the ink color of a color word when there is a mismatch between ink color and word [1].

This effect is also seen in healthy adults, with a similar dose of 1500mg of oat straw extract per day for 3 months resulting in improved vasodilation in peripheral and cerebral regions of the brain [2].

Even doses as low as 800mg of oat straw extract have also shown improvements in self-reported memory performance, along with better reaction times on the ‘Speed of Performance’ test, in healthy adults that felt their memory had declined with age [3].

The mechanism by which oat straw extract is beneficial is likely because it can modulate cerebroelectrical activity in the fronto-temporal brain region [4].

Specifically, it inhibits the degradation of monoamine neurotransmitters (monoamine oxidase-B and phosphodiesterase 4 [5]) and cAMP which may increase dopaminergic function and cerebral vasodilation, and therefore could potentially improve cognitive function [6].

Although the exact components underlying the enzymatic effects are unknown, the extract contains a wide range of potentially bioactive compounds such as choline, phosphatidylcholine, organic acids, amino-acids, flavonoids, and saponins. Within this large group of phytochemicals, many have indicated their own unique cellular and physiological effects for brain function and cognitive performance [7] [8].

How To Take Oat Straw Extract?

The effective doses of oat straw extract appear to be in the range of 800-1600mg per day.

Based on the current evidence, superior cognitive effects at higher doses than this are not seen.

Given that an inverse dose-response relationship have been observed with many herbal extracts, it is likely that more is not necessarily better, and there is even potential that the optimal dose is lower than the doses that have been tested to date.

Oat straw extract tends to only be available in tinctures. As these vary widely in their concentrations of active ingredients, it is recommended to abide by the dosage instructions.

Oat Straw Extract Safety And Side Effects

From the scientific information available, there are no known side effects of oat straw extract.

To our knowledge, there are also been no subjective reports online that mention any adverse health effects.

However, due to the lack of research on the extract, safety cannot be guaranteed.

Conclusion

Oat straw extract is a supplement made from the processing of certain parts of the oat plant.

A limited amount of evidence suggests the extract may be able to improve brain function by increasing dopaminergic function and cerebral vasodilation.

However, far more research is needed to give oat straw extract a detailed analysis.

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This article has been reviewed and fact-checked by a certified nutritionist, and only uses information from credible academic sources.