What are Milky Oats?
Milky oats are harvested from the seeds of the oats plant, also scientifically known as Avena sativa. The extraction of the milky oats is crucial as these can only be harvested at a particular stage (milky stage) of the seed maturation. Milky oats differ from other oats in the way they are harvested.
Milky oats have gained popularity over other oats-based products due to their health benefits and therapeutic values.
Edible & Medicinal Parts
The seed pods at the milky stage are the edible and the medicinal part of the Oats plant. In the case of milky oats, the seeds are harvested when they are soft and juicy. At this stage, when the seeds are squeezed, a milky juice oozes out from the seed pods.
Only the seed pods at the immature stage are harvested to be considered as milky oats.
Not only the seed pods at the milky stage are nutritive but also the oat straws. The milky stage seed pods are particularly rich in protein and phytochemicals such as avenins, saponins, etc. These are also rich in Vitamin E and Vitamin B. Milky oats and straws are also good sources of calcium.
The milky juice extracted from the immature seed pods of oats (considered milky oats) has been known for its medicinal and health benefits for ages. Studies also show that oats have a wide range of therapeutic activities that include wound healing, antioxidant, antidiabetic, etc. (1)
Some of the health benefits of milky oats are as follows:
Milky Oats as Tonic
Milky oats are considered a tonic for the nervous system (tonic nervine) in Chinese medicine. Researchers found that milky oats play a significant role in the cognitive effects of healthy adults (2, 3, 4).
Flavonoids present during the immature stage of oats are highly beneficial and nourish the nerves.
Milky Oats as Relaxant
Milky oats are the natural relaxer that soothes the mind by managing stress. These are also considered as a tonic for good sleep. These work as a repairing agent and helps to calm the nerves and body altogether. Thus, milky oats are also considered an anti-depressant.
The milky oats contain certain flavonoids (such as isovitexin) and triterpene saponins that works on the feel-good hormone (dopamine) and calms the body and mind (5).
How to Take Milky Oats
Milky oats tincture is available in the market. Other forms of oats like oat straws, rolled oats, whole grain oats are also available, but these are different from milky oats.
Fresh tinctures can be prepared by blending the seeds at the immature stage (milky stage). Dried seeds harvested at the milky stage can also be used for making a tincture.
Milky oats can also be used in combination with other herbs to enhance health benefits.
Consuming anything in moderation is the best advice that can be given for any food or dietary items. Consumption of milky oats is, however, considered to be safe.
Short-term Side Effects
If consuming milky oats for the first time, you might experience bloating. It takes time for the body to adjust to the new cereal, but it gradually goes off. Consuming small portions of milky oats can help to reduce bloating.
Long-term Side Effects
No long-term side effects of milky oats are known to date.
Milky oats rarely have any toxicity in humans, but they might not be suitable for coeliac patients. Some researchers have linked oats to toxicity in coeliac patients (6).
Coeliac patients (people with celiac disease) should avoid consuming any form of oats to avoid any toxicity.