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What Is Oat Straw Used for Today?
Oat straw is widely marketed for enhancing male sexual function , and a combination of oat straw and saw palmetto is said to help sexual dysfunction in women. The same combination is supposedly helpful for enlargement of the prostate . However, the only evidence for these claims comes from unpublished studies conducted by the manufacturer of oat straw products. Because these studies are not available in full, it is not possible to judge their validity.
For example, one double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 75 men and women reportedly found that use of an oat straw product enhanced sexual experience for men, but not for women. 1 Unfortunately, it is not clear whether the results were statistically significant or exactly how the researchers arrived at their conclusions. Another study discussed on the same web page supposedly found that oat straw combined with saw palmetto produced similar benefits for women, but it is not clear whether this trial was double-blind.
It has been claimed that oat straw works by increasing the amount of free testosterone in the blood. Many oat straw websites state that, with advancing age, testosterone in the body tends to become bound up and inactivated, that this leads to numerous problems including failing sexual function, and that oat straw reverses this process. However, none of the parts of this argument are fully substantiated: the argument is speculation piled on speculation.
Oat straw has also been advocated as a stop-smoking treatment. However, despite promising results in one rather informal study, reported in a letter to the journal Naturein 1971, 2 the balance of the evidence suggests that alcohol tincture of wild oats is nothelpful for quitting smoking . 3 4
- Vigorex. Avena sativa (green oats). Available at: http://www.vigorex.uk.com/avena_sativa.asp. Accessed May 22, 2005.
- Anand CL. Effect of Avena sativa on cigarette smoking. Nature. 1971;233:496.
- Bye C, Fowle AS, Letley E, et al. Lack of effect of Avena sativa on cigarette smoking. Nature. 1974;252:580-581.
- Gabrynowicz JW. Letter: treatment of nicotine addiction with Avena sativa. Med J Aust. 1974;2:306-307.