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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 propriet
ry 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Avena as the opiate is withdrawn.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.