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Avena Sativa

NAT. ORD., Graminaceae.


PREPARATION.--The fresh green plant, gathered in August, is pounded to a
pulp and macerated with two parts by weight of alcohol.

(Comparatively little has been written concerning this
remedy, the tincture of oats. It acquired a bad
reputation somewhere in the "eighties" by being
advertised as a proprietary remedy making wonderful
cures, but analysis showed the advertised "avena" to
contain opium. The following outline of the drug is by
Dr. E. H. Russell, in North American Journal of

Avena sativa is pre-eminently an anti-neurotic, quieting the nervous
system to a remarkable degree. Its special sphere of action seems to be
upon the male sexual organs, regulating the functional irregularities of
these parts perhaps as much as any drug can. It is a most useful remedy
in all cases of nervous exhaustion, general debility, nervous
palpitation of the heart, insomnia, inability to keep the mind fixed
upon any one subject, etc., more especially when any or all of these
troubles is apparently due to nocturnal emissions, masturbation, over
sexual intercourse, and the like. For these disorders it is truly
specific. It is one of the most valuable means for overcoming the bad
effects of the morphine habit. In most cases in which the habitue has
not used more than four grains daily the opiate may be abruptly
discontinued, and even substituted, without any serious results. If a
larger quantity than this amount has been taken for some time, it is
better to gradually reduce the daily dose of morphine, in the usual
manner, simply prescribing the Avena in addition. The latter should
be given in the same dose, as a rule, regardless of the amount of
morphine taken. In other words, it is not necessary to increase the
Avena as the opiate is withdrawn. When the quantity of morphine has
not exceeded four grains daily it should be stopped at once, as stated
above, and Avena given in its stead in fifteen-drop doses, four times
a day, in a wineglassful of hot water. By this method the disagreeable
after-effects will be much less than though the dose of morphine is
gradually reduced, and the patient will find life quite bearable, as a
rule, at the end of a week.

Avena sativa should always be given in appreciable doses of the
tincture. Fifteen drops three or four times a day, well diluted, will
usually meet the case. It may be given in doses of from five to sixty
drops in rare instances. It should, however, never be given in larger
quantities than twenty minims unless the patient is thoroughly
accustomed to the remedy, and has found the usual dose insufficient.
Otherwise there is danger of getting the physiological effect of the
drug, which is pain at the base of the brain. When this symptom makes
its appearance the medicine should be discontinued for a day or two, and
then given in reduced doses. There seems to be no danger whatever of
forming the habit of taking this drug, as it can be suddenly abandoned
at any time without evil consequences, even when given in large
quantities. In one case it was prescribed by the writer in sixty-drop
doses, night and morning, for one year, and then abruptly stopped,
nothing being substituted therefore, without bad effects.

Whenever a quick action is desired, and in all cases where Avena is
given to overcome the morphine habit, it should be prepared in hot
water. It is also a good plan to prescribe it in this fashion wherever
indigestion complicates the case.

The writer has employed this drug in his private practice for a number
of years with the most gratifying results. He has very rarely found it
to fail when indicated, and on account of his high opinion of the
remedy he has taken great pleasure in thus bringing it prominently to
the attention of the medical profession.

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