Medicinal plant of the year 2017: Seed oats help against skin and gastrointestinal diseases

Medicinal plant of the year 2017: Seed oats help against skin and gastrointestinal diseases

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For diabetes prevention: seed oats are medicinal plants of the year 2017
Most people think of oats as horse food or oatmeal for breakfast. The grain is not only good for filling the stomach, it is also healthy. The seed oat has now been chosen as the medicinal plant of 2017.

Seed oats voted medicinal plant of the year
Many people only know oats in their food from oatmeal or biscuits. Even though this type of grain is one of the healthiest. Oats are not only low in gluten, but also rich in nutrients. The study group "Development History of Medicinal Plant Science" at the University of Würzburg has now selected the seed oat as the medicinal plant of the year 2017.

For the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases
"When talking about medicinal plants, one certainly does not immediately think of cereals," says a statement from the university. "However, the oatmeal (Avena sativa) provides several very different remedies."

As Johannes Gottfried Mayer from the study group explained, his application spectrum ranges from skin treatment to gastrointestinal diseases to the prevention of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Thrives on poor soils
In contrast to the relatives mentioned, seed oats, which, like wheat, rye or barley, belong to the sweet grasses (poaceae), do not form their grains in ears, but in multi-branched panicles, which is why an oat plant provides less yield and is harder to harvest is. In addition, the grains are surrounded by husks, which have to be removed by a special milling process.

The selected medicinal plant also thrives on poor soils and in regions with high rainfall. According to Mayer, oats are superior to other cereals in terms of nutritional value and, last but not least, their taste.

Three different remedies
Oats provide a total of three different remedies: in addition to oat straw, herbs and grains have also recently gained in importance. The oat straw is used for baths, which should help with skin injuries and itching.

To use the herb, the oats are harvested before they bloom. The herb is rich in anti-inflammatory flavonoids and immunomodulating saponins and has a high proportion of minerals such as potassium, calcium or magnesium. Extracts of the oat herb are used among other things for neurodermatitis.

According to the study group, up to 20 percent of children and three percent of adults in industrialized countries suffer from this disease. In the 1990s, a particularly suitable white oat variety was obtained in France that is free of proteins, including gluten. Appropriate skin care products such as creams, body milk and bath additives are particularly well tolerated by allergy sufferers.

Positive effects on cholesterol and blood sugar levels
According to the university, the fruit, the oat grain, is used as a fully ripe grain. In addition to a high content of vitamins B1 and B6, it also provides a lot of fiber. The beta-glucans are of particular interest, they make up about half of the total fiber content in oats.

According to Mayer, oat beta-glucans have effects on the digestive tract and the metabolism, in the foreground are positive effects on the cholesterol and blood sugar levels. According to the study group in 2011, the European Food Safety Authority has confirmed that the consumption of beta-glucan from oats can help lower cholesterol levels.

The study group "Development History of Medicinal Plant Science", which selects the "Medicinal Plant of the Year", chooses "plants that have an interesting cultural and medical history and whose effects have been checked in pharmacological and clinical studies". Last year, real caraway was chosen as the medicinal plant of the year. (ad)

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