Milky Oats Tincture: What’s the Secret?

It seems like folks have a hard time making a really good milky oats tincture.  When I teach advanced tincture making, we always discuss past “failures” or at least tinctures that didn’t turn out how students expected, since there is more space to learn from our mistakes than from easy successes.  Milky Oats is one that comes up often (along with milk thistle, turmeric, hops…), so I’m going to explain the little tricks to growing it and making medicine.

Oat (Avena sativa) is beloved as a restoring, nutritive nervine tonic (medicine whose effects build slowly over time).  In women’s health we cherish oat for its properties as a mineral rejuvenator and protector against adrenal exhaustion–goodbye postpartum depression!  Hello restful sleep, coping skills, and an end to feeling stretched too thin, exhausted, and sapped of vitality.  As an antidepressant nervine it has a grounding, moistening effect for folks who feel burnt out, dried up, and frazzled.  It is a nurturing rejuvenator to the nervous system, stress response, and adrenal glands; the minerals your body needs for your heart, muscles, bones, and nerve transmission to work well; kidney and liver function; and it bestows a feeling of general well-being to those of us lucky enough to bask in its welcoming green glow.  As is common, the tea is a gentler, more long-term builder known for its mineral-related actions, while the tincture is stronger and more known for antidepressant and nervine actions.  I think that’s enough rhapsodies about it–here you are, reading my blog and being internet savvy, which means you are able to follow these links to more information about the medicinal uses of Milky Oats so we can get down to business on how to make medicine with it:  7Song’s articleKiva Rose’s article, Jim McDonald’s article, Henriette Kress’s blog

Planning Ahead

Milky Oats tincture must be made from fresh herbs–a tincture of dried herbs is just an oat tincture.  “Milky” refers to the whitish goo (latex) that comes out of the fresh, unripe seed when you squeeze it.  The goo is only there for a short time as the plants mature, so you have to check it regularly once the seeds appear and be ready to tincture.  I think this is the biggest barrier to making a Milky Oats tincture: where do you get fresh Milky Oats?  The answer is pretty simple–either grow them yourself, talk a friend into growing them for you, or buy them fresh from a local herb farm.

I usually buy oat seed from Fedco Co-op, but you can also get it at your local farm co-op and I’ve done that in a pinch before.  Often it’s sold by the 50 lb sack or other incredible amount that you will probably not be able to use, but both times I’ve had to go that route I was able to talk the nice person behind the desk into measuring me out less.  The usual heirloom seed companies may have oats available too, I’m not sure but it’s worth looking around–I’ve been very happy with Fedco and haven’t felt the need to try other companies.

Growing Tips

When to Plant Oats

Oat is a short-season, cool weather crop.  Once the weather gets hot it does its baby-making thing and goes to seed, which means you missed the milky stage.  I planted mine last week, but I’m in Vermont so if you live in a warmer climate you probably missed out for this spring.  Oat is direct-seeded as soon as the ground can be worked, which in my climate is April but for many people is March.  I often plant oats the day I plant peas or soon after; the minimum soil temperature for germination is 45 degrees F, and in the mid 50’s you start to get poor germination and you’re likely to run out of time to get your oats to the milky stage before hot weather hits.

If It’s Too Late To Plant If you missed planting for this season, don’t despair!  You can try again for a fall crop, which is harder to time but still works.  Plant your oats in a spot that is shady in early fall but sunny in late fall, like immediately north of your corn.  You can also hang up some burlap to help provide some shade, then take it down when the weather cools.  Again, your soil temperature should be between 45 and 55 degrees F for germination, so hang up your burlap before you sow if you’re doing it that way.  Mulching heavily with straw helps keep the soil cooler.

Where to Plant Oats

Cover Crop Oats make a great spring cover crop, so consider planting them in a spot that went weedy last year, or in an area new to cultivation.  Oat is in the grass family (Poaceae) and it does reasonably well against all the nasty invasive grasses I’m always fighting to get out of the gardens.  I think of it as an in-and-out crop, like peas or radishes, in that it’s there and gone before my heavy hitter crops like corn and tomatoes are even a twinkle in the season’s eye.Round Barn Garden

Microclimate Oats are kind of tall so you can use them to create interesting microclimates for early season crops.  I plant short-season Brassicas north of the oats, because it’s sunny when the weather is cool, and by the time the oats are tall enough to cast shade over the Brassicas, the weather is warm enough that without a little shade I’d be fretting about the broccoli bolting before it sets nice florets.  Avoid this for the long-season Brassicas like cabbage and brussels sprouts because the oats will be cut down long before those crops are ready.

Succession Planting Oat is a great tool for succession planting, as it lays down a beautiful nitrogen-rich weed-free layer of mulch for your hot season crops.  I always plant my hottest hotties in the oat patch in June–last year it was watermelon, and let me tell you it was BEAUTIFUL not having to weed the watermelon.

How to Plant Oats

I recommend tilling the ground in the fall for a few reasons: 1. you can get your seed in the ground literally as early as possible in the spring, mud be damned; and 2. it buys your crop a head start against last year’s weed seeds, especially grass.

If you didn’t till in the fall, know that you will most likely have to make a decision in March or April to either prep the bed by hand or wait until the ground dries out enough for the tiller–but then you’re gambling on the soil temperature for germination, which is often well into the high 50’s by the time the soil dries out, around here anyway.  To prep the bed by hand, turn the soil with a shovel, weeding as you go; when the soil is as turned as it’s going to get, follow instructions below.

1. Before planting oats, use a scuffle hoe or stirrup hoe to make the soil as level and fine as you can get it, even if the soil was recently tilled.  The more level and fine your soil is, the better your oats will germinate.  If you don’t have the right hoe you can use a hard rake, but then please get yourself a good hoe with your tax refund.

2. Sow your seeds (your cultivated oats, I suppose) by scattering them thickly across the surface of the soil using both hands or a seed spreader.  The birds are going to eat some of your seeds, so really, spread them thick.

3.  Use a hard rake or your hands to spread the oats as evenly as possible.  Sowing Oats

4. If you’re sowing a large area, walk across it gently to ensure good contact between the oats and the soil.  If it’s a small area, you can pat them down with your hands.  You don’t have to bury the oats, they’ll germinate just fine on the surface as long as they are pressed into the soil.

Consider a scarecrow, bells, or old CD’s on strings to keep the birds out of the oats, although there’s a certain amount of seed that the seed-eaters will take as their due for their brethren who eat pest bugs, mice, rabbits, etc. and protect our gardens.  Once I scared a fawn out of my oats, where her mother had hidden her for the day.  That was neat, even with the crushed plants.

Medicine-Making with Milky Oats

How to Harvest Milky Oats

The oats will be “milky” when the young unripe seeds have emerged but before they’re ripe (in other words, before they’re viable seeds).  You know it’s time when the white goo (latex) comes out of the seed when you squeeze it.  I will try to post a picture of this next month when it happens, but in the meantime check out Juliet Blankespoor’s beautiful pictures or just search for it.

To harvest the seeds, you can either slide your fist up the stalks to pull off just the seeds, or use pruners or a scythe to cut the oats just below where the seeds start (this is faster but higher impact).  Leave the greens standing so you can harvest oat straw later in the month (which you will harvest by cutting it down with pruners or a scythe, then dry for tea or tincture fresh at 1:2 75% for your future happiness and health–instructions on tincture-making here).  If you’re lucky and the spring is long, you are likely to get a second cutting of Milky Oats in a few weeks.

How to Tincture Milky Oats

Please see my article on tincture-making for an explanation of tincture ratios, alcohol percent, solubility, and a general how-to on the process.

Tincture Milky Oats at 1:2 75% to get a little of that mineral goodness, or you can go as high as 1:2 95% if you are all about the antidepressant-ness and don’t care about the minerals at all.  Remember that minerals are not soluble in alcohol, only in water.  See the link above if I’ve lost you here.

The secret trick to Milky Oats is using a blender, food processor, or mortar (last resort) to get the plant matter (marc) to stay submerged under the liquid (menstruum).  If you absolutely must, you can chop it by hand, but you lose a lot of the juicy goodness to the cutting board and it’s hard to get it smooshed up fine enough without extra help.

To process the oats, hold a bunch in one hand and strip the seeds off by sliding your other hand down the stalks (save the greens for tea).  You may have already removed the seeds, depending how you harvested them.  Weigh your plant matter, then put it in the blender with the appropriate amount of alcohol and water and grind away.

That’s it, congratulations, your tincture is going to be stronger and smarter and prettier than all its predecessors, and you and your family will have healthy nervous systems and a feeling of general well-being.  Hooray!

73 thoughts on “Milky Oats Tincture: What’s the Secret?

  1. I just made my first tincture ever. I processed the milky oat tops in the vitamix and did a 1:2 75%. It sure is a thick mixture. Do I need to worry about getting out air bubbles…etc? Or just let it sit and do its magic?


    1. Way to go Gina! It’s a complicated tincture for your first time, so just know that almost every other herb you try will be less work than this was!

      I wouldn’t worry too much about air bubbles. You just want to make sure that the plant matter is below the level of the liquid. I mash it down with a big spoon or a muddler or similar tool, and that will get out any significant air that’s trapped in your tincture. Most tinctures don’t have air bubbles at all, but tinctures made in the blender are a lot goopier.

      If you don’t have enough liquid to completely cover your plant matter, add some more, the right amount to turn your tincture from 1:2 75% into 1:3 75%.


  2. Thanks! I added additional menstruum and it looks a lot better to me. Now I guess I just wait until its ready. How do you usually strain yours?


    1. Good question. For small batches I recommend using a potato ricer, which you can buy for $10 at any kitchen store. Some people just use cheesecloth or a tea strainer, and then press the marc between 2 plates with weight on top of the upper plate (like making cheese), but this takes forever and isn’t as effective as using some kind of press. For large batches I use a small cider press.


  3. Im hoping to make some this year as I missed out last year.
    How many of those mason jars full,should i make?
    How long do you leave the pulp in the Jar before getting juice out?
    If i start with 50/50 alcohol/water,is that high enough alcohol content?
    Once Ive waited the right amount of time,Im putting the pulp through my slow juicer,which is very powerfull to get the juice out. My veggies come out very dry from that,so Im sure I will get 95% of the goof stuff. 🙂 About sowing,have you thought of pre-germinating the seeds? Soak the seeds for 24 hours in water,depending on the time of year. Wait for the little tail to just appear and put them on the ground. I cover my wheat grass with 4-5mm of soil,so you could do this with oats and the critters wont see the seeds on the ground.Thanks for the answers!


    1. Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for the questions. Whether or not you can still do it this year depends on climate–where do you live? Same with pregermination. Here in Vermont, the climate is often too harsh to pregerminate very early spring seeds like oats. Oats must be in the ground early enough to be milky before the weather gets really hot or it will blast through the milky stage and just bolt right to fruiting. It’s simply too cold here to put most seedlings in the ground that early because they can’t withstand the shock of freezing nights, although direct seeding of many crops works beautifully.

      I usually leave the pulp in the jar for about 2 months, there’s more info about this at the end of the blog post about weight-to-volume tincturing.

      your alcohol question–it depends what proof the alcohol was to start with. it should say on the label. if it’s normal vodka, 80 proof=40%, then half of that cut with water=20%, definitely not enough alcohol. for fresh milky oats you want a high alcohol content, so most likely you shouldn’t be cutting your alochol with water unless you’re using grain alcohol. again, please see the weight to volume tincture article for an in depth explanation of this.

      Certainly appreciate your engagement. Let me know if you have more questions!


    2. Kevin,
      As far as critters getting my oat seeds after I plant them, I cover the planted oats with that cheap, hard plastic fencing and they can’t even dig the seeds out. I am surrounded by woods so chip monks are a big problem for me as they dig up even my green bean seeds. This has worked very well for me and the oats just grows right up thru it.



      1. That sounds like a great idea! I don’t really have a problem with chipmunks, but birds are a real issue. One thing I do to keep the seed-eaters away is hang old cd’s and bells from a long piece of twine across the field. The birds don’t like the randomly flashing lights and noise when the wind blows. It seems to work pretty well.


  4. I just made a milky oats tincture and used 11oz. of milky oats (some were a little past peak) and used 80 proof vodka to mush it in my blender. It seemed way too thick so I dumped the rest of the vodka in totaling 1 liter which I think is about 36 oz. or just under 4 1/2 cups and it still looks too thick. Will this be ok?

    About a month ago I made chickweed tincture the “old” way and did as the recipe stated and put it in a sunny window and now it has a slight film around the top of the jar–doesn’t appear to be mold, but I don’t know, and now I not sure if I should use it. I’m concerned that the same outcome will happen with this milky oats.

    This brings me to 3 questions: 1. Is the Milky Oat percentages above ok. 2. Is the film on the jar of the chickweed ok. and #3 Why do some recipes call for putting the jar in a sunny window and basically the same recipe elsewhere says to put it in a cool dark place? I’m confused.

    Would appreciate your help. Love your site.



    1. Hi DJ!

      1. Yes, the tincture recipe you made is about 1:3 40%, which should be just fine. It won’t be as strong as if it was 1:2 but it will definitely still have great medicine and shouldn’t spoil. Good instincts on your improv! Well done!

      I’ve found that some tinctures really do start out incredibly thick, in particular oats and hops, just because of their light, fibrous nature. They turn out fine in the end, after pressing, but they can be really goopy in the jar while they’re steeping.

      2. Generally speaking, plant oils and water-soluble constituents don’t dissolve in alcohol, so they tend to stick around, either as precipitate in the bottom of the jar, as a film on the surface, or as a gooey glob floating in the jar (you see this with slippery elm and marshmallow–it looks like snot–don’t tincture plants that do this, you’re not getting the good stuff). There’s more info about this in the article on tincture making, under “solubility.”

      Chickweed is very very high in water-soluble constituents such as mucilage; I don’t believe it has a high oil content, I’ve never noticed that it does but it’s certainly not impossible. Anyway, if it’s not mold, it’s probably phytochemicals that can’t join with alcohol. Since I can’t see it to give you a definite answer, I suggest experimenting a little; experience will teach you which weirdo jar contents are okay and which aren’t. I would probably skim it off gently, without mixing it in, and see what happens. If it’s some kind of yucky something, it will come back, but if it’s plant mucilage it’s not going to grow much or at all, it should have all separated rather quickly.

      What concentration of alcohol did you use? It’s much more likely to be mold or something microbial if you used a lower alcohol concentration than a high one. That being said, if you’re concerned about the safety of the tincture, don’t take it! Make another, maybe with dried or partially dried chickweed. Chickweed, like most plants high in mucilage, tends to make a better tincture when it’s been partially dried first, just because you don’t end up with this alien baby of soluble fiber in the jar. Does that help?

      3. Your last question is harder to answer. I think in the end it really comes down to traditions, and different herbalists’ lineage of teachers. On the medicine-making side, putting a tincture in the window allows phytochemicals that respond to light to work their magic faster, like antioxidants and anthocyanins. For example, St Johns Wort turns red much faster and more vibrantly in a window than it does in a closet. Also, the sunlight provides a light heating that speeds up the tincture brewing process–it’s much faster. However, the light and heat also makes it more likely that mold will grow, so you have to balance those things. Personally, I make sun tinctures and sun oils from herbs that seem to respond really well to it, but only when I’m making medicine from herbs that are either dried, partially dried, or naturally suppress spoilage on their own, like the aforementioned St Johns Wort, or some of the berberine herbs. I do almost everything in a cool, dark place, because I think a long, slow brew ends up stronger and more complex than a fast brew–but this is my personal medicine-making feeling, not herbal gospel. Many people make a lot of tinctures in the window and are happy with the results!

      As with basically everything else in herbalism, there are many different traditions and viewpoints, and one of the truly beautiful things about folk medicine is that everyone gets to be right.

      Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate your engagement and I’m glad you like my putterings!


  5. Hi! Are you blending the milky oats WITH the alcohol? Or are you blending the milky oats, then adding it to the alcohol? Thanks!


    1. Hi Debbie,

      You can do it either way, just as long as you don’t burn out your motor with too heavy plant matter. You need some liquid in there so it blends up good, and to absorb all the juicy goodness from the milky oats. I usually add enough alcohol so the blender doesn’t kill itself and everything gets nice and smooth, pour it in the jar, then swish the rest of the alcohol through the empty blender cup to get any plant matter that stuck to the sides before pouring it in the jar, but I don’t really think it matters as long as you’re pulverizing the heck out of the milky oats. I hope that helps.


  6. Hi I got several bottles of milky oat tincture from Natures Answer because it doesn’t look like i’ll be getting a chance to grow my own soon. I was recommended because I am lacking silica & for emotional stress.
    The stuff tastes sweet is thick, black & syrupy & am going through one 1 ounce bottle every 4 days if I take according to bottle. extract 1:1
    Is this tincture worth getting a different brand this time? Do you sell any? I am in Australia thats all so postage has to be affordable for me. If i’m going to be spending a lot for along time on this milky green oat tincture I want to at least get one thats done properly 🙂


    1. Hi Renee,

      1/4 of an ounce a day seems like a lot of tincture to me. I think that’s about 7 dropperfuls, which is a high dose of anything, but especially a gentle tonic meant for long-term use like milky oats. One thing I’ve found that works well for dosing is to start at a higher dose–which it sounds like you have–and then decrease the dose over the course of a week or so until you’re at the lowest dose where you still feel an effect. That should help lower the cost of the medicine and help you find a balance with how much medicine you’re taking.

      Another thing you could do is make your own; even if you can’t grow it yourself right now, you might be able to find someone else who’s growing it and will sell you some when it’s fresh, usually late spring or early fall.

      I’m not familiar with the brand you’re taking so I really can’t comment on how it’s made, but if you have concerns you could try another brand and see which you like better.

      Good luck!


      1. Thanks however I have little faith in that they recommend 2 dropper fuels per dose, obviously they aren’t aware of how the herb should be used but rather want the product finished so you can by more, It’s very sweet, yummy black syrup, Does that sound right? I live in tropics so none growing conveniently around me. 😦 I may have to resort to horsetail for my silica. How do I make that?


      2. Is it a glycerite instead of an alcohol tincture? That might explain it. In terms of dosage, there are a lot of different schools of thought, and it’s very very hard or impossible to give a standard dose for everyone who might take the tincture, since appropriate dosing is related to body weight, energetics, and the reason you’re taking the formula. You can mess with the dose yourself and see if you still get good results taking less. Alternatively, I’m sure you can find another milky oats product online that will ship to your area. Good luck!


  7. Renee Robinson,if you want a supplement just for silica,you should try diatomaceous earth. Its around 80-90% silica. make sure its food grade,not stuff treated for pools. Thats stuff is a toxic poison. but food grade i take every day. Easy to get also.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Holly cow, really, I heard that it was carcinogenic, I take weird things to like chlorine (MMS2) for infections that won’t budge & borax for muscular skeletal health but never heard that one. I’ve been avoiding it altogether, will have to read up a bit more… Yes was glycerate & alcohol it says on bottle. Tissue salts have silica too.


    2. Sounds too high in silica to me, Silica needs to slowly build up in the system, Just taking horsetail untinctured feels like glass in the system…


  8. I am after a silica supplement for I have had compulsive finger, biting, picking habit for 14 years. I definately feel akin with milky oat as a remedy but sometimes I just take a homeopathic silica in tissue salts as I don’t know if I can trust any of the milky oat tincture i’ve been buying from iherb to be the real deal. For instance today I purchased several bottles cheaply but they said “Wild milky oat tincture”… In grain alcohol. I didn’t know wether to get it but am desperate to stop picking this year once and for all, and while it’s never been on my goal list, It has arisen on there now…


      1. Hi Renee,

        If the species is Avena sativa, then yes it’s the same. There are several species called “oats” but the one we use for medicine is Avena sativa, so just double check the species.


    1. Julia Ross author of “The Mood Cure” mentions a study in which “tryptophan stopped obsessive birds from plucking themselves bare of their own feathers.” Perhaps supplementing tryptophan would be helpful.


  9. I just tinctured my fresh milky oats this morning, but knew I was missing a step (blending) because I was thinking, “how am I going to get all the milky goodness out”?? My menstruum and oats are already in the jar. Do you think it’s ok to pour it all back in my blender, blend, then pour it back in my jars? I want to make sure my tincture is sufficient 🙂 thank you!


    1. Hi Chelsea,

      Yes, it’s fine to pour the whole shebang into the blender. You can’t really blend the milky oats without adding some liquid anyway, so it should work just fine. You don’t absolutely need to, though–if you managed to get all the oats under the liquid in the jars, you can just brew them without blending if you’d rather. The main reason I recommend blending is that it’s hard to get the proportions right because the milky oats are so light and fluffy that they stick out! It also makes a stronger tincture, but you’ll still have a milky oats tincture even if you don’t use the blender.

      Good luck and happy medicine making!


    2. Im a little excited. I was able to get a bag of milky oats sent in the mail from rural Australia from an organic farmer. But they had 90% dried out by the time they reached me. I made the tincture…and it worked a little. But what Im excited about it is that i found someone near me(5 miles away) with some land and they will let me use 20 meters X 20 meters to GROW my own oats from the organic farmers seed which he is about to send me! WOOHOOO. So it will be interesting to see how much tincture i can make from that amount of land. The farmer also told me that if i water it once a week,the size of the seeds will be bigger than on his farm which depends on rain. Im aiming for 12 liters of finished product,but who can tell. The tincture i made and only got 3/4 of a liter tasted like baileys Irish cream. lol. So 12 liters of that would be yum,plus really good for me.

      One thing the farmer pointed out is that when the oats are in the “milky” stage,there is lots of milk sap in the stalks,which feeds the seed. Im wondering if that has the same properties stored in the seed. If so,then i would somehow extract the sap from the stalks and keep that as well. But the fact i have land to grow my own and harvest at “peak milk” is exciting!


      1. Kevin that’s so exciting! Congratulations! You can tincture the stalks too if you want, but I leave them–because they become oatstraw, which is another type of medicine that is also really wonderful! Most of the milky oats-ness is in the seeds, but the oatstraw itself has great medicine a little later in the season. Good luck and happy gardening!


  10. Thanks so much for all the great information and recipes! I made a batch of milky oats tincture in August using your recipe and instructions. I did end up adding a bit more alcohol to cover the ground milky oats (1:2.6 75%). I just strained the batch a few days ago and the tincture has since separated, dark olive colored liquid in the top three quarters of the mason jar with milky green matcha latte colored thicker seeming liquid below. Is this normal? Should I shake it up before using? I am sure that it will keep separating like this no matter how much I mix it. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks again!


    1. Well done! Awesome! That stuff at the bottom is the water-soluble matter that didn’t dissolve in the tincture. Some people strain it out, some people shake it in. It’s normal. If there’s really a ton, it implies that your milky oats had a higher water content than expected and to use less alcohol next time around (or do 2 versions), but any herb that is also a good tea herb will have some amount of undissolved solute sitting at the bottom of the jar.


  11. Hello from across the pond, from Sunny Scotland!

    I have missed the spring-window for planting; but will try to catch the autumn one…

    I wondered if i might ask you about amounts. How much should we take?

    I know there are natural variations, and production methods also change things, but is there a rough guide to how much to take? You mentioned earlier (above) to start high and bring amount down over the week to find a dose that works for you. I appreciate that such things are an individual thing, but in your experience, is there a good place to start?

    Thank you, and thank for this blog; it is very informative. Love your passion.



    1. Hi Michael,

      Dosage in herbalism is not one size fits all. That said, a reasonable dose to start at with a safe, long-term-use herb like oats is 1-2 dropperfuls 2-3 times per day for several days, then reduce by a dropperful at a time until you find the lowest effective dose. That’s if you’re making your medicine at something like 1:3 75% or so. Different tincture ratios and menstruum percents will affect your dose, as will the strength of the medicine itself (affected by weather, bugs, etc.), and your own constitution. Experiment with what works for you. Good luck!


  12. Hey and thanks! I arrived at this site looking for guidance in tincturing the 5 pounds of fresh milky oats recently received from a local farmer. Appreciate you sharing all this great info on milky oats!


  13. Hello again! What period of time would you recommend tincturing the milky oats at 1:2, 75%? I have heard 2 weeks – 2 months. Thanks.


  14. Thank you for all the advice and responding to so many inquiries. I made my tincture this past June, i have just pressed it and let it settle in the jars. I was going to strain out the precipitated part, but wondered if i am remvong the medicine when doing so? since Milky oats has such a creamy compenent to it, does that creamy compenent have medicinal qualities left in it after tincturing?


  15. Hi there. I love all of the information and encouragement in your writing. Thank you! I live in Northern California and the wild oats that grow in empty lots are either beginning their milky stage or ending it (only a couple of seeds per plant are milky). I will keep checking in the days to come and see if they are increasing or decreasing in quantity of milky ones. I read that you want mostly milky seeds (doesn’t have to be all) to harvest and tincture. I am pretty sure that they are either A. barbata or A. fatua. I did some research and sounds like I can use both as medicine for tincturing milky oats…do you have any 2 cents on this?
    Thank you again for sharing your helpful and fun to read thoughts on milky oats and tincturing in general.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi, so glad I found your site and this information on milky oat tincture, my oats are 4 inches tall and have been planning a milky oat tincture since last fall! Now I have the know how! I have another question regarding horsetail which is growing in abundance all around me this spring screaming for me to take notice. I have been brewing it fresh as a tea, but I am wondering about making a tincture of it to carry me through the winter. I read many recipes for tea from both fresh and dried herb, but also find several comments on how the mineral content, esp. silica degrades when dry. I also read a comment that said that tincturing of horsetail is a waste of both the alcohol and of the herb. Have you any thoughts regarding making a tincture with a low %alcohol menstrum such that the minerals are preserved and those benefits available?


  17. Hi, I have begun a fresh tincture f the milky oats, and have discovered I have not blended them as stated in the instructions. The tincture is turning green, but the seed pods are still intact with the milk in them. How can I get the milk to interact from the seed pods without blending the already 3 days in of the tincture. I could put in a clean blender, but it may lose its strength if i take it out of the jar. What should I do for this?


    1. You have 2 choices: put the whole shebang in the blender, or mash it up with a potato masher or mortar and pestle. You want to break cell walls regardless of the type of medicine you’re making, but it doesn’t have to be fully pulverized, just enough so the medicine flows in and out.


  18. Hi I love your article as well as everyone else! I have been harvesting my first grown oats and have a batch tincturing as well. I was unable to process all of them and have put several bags in the freezer to process as I can get back to town for more alcohol. Will this diminish the medicinal state of the the milky tops? What about dehydrating them for future use? Will this be satisfactory? Thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisdom.


    1. Definitely don’t dehydrate, all the water soluble constituents will go and you’ll fry the plant. Freezing is better but still not great, it will lessen the medicine still. Putting it in the fridge for a couple hours or spreading it on a drying rack would be better.


  19. Hi There, I have just strained off my milky oats tincture and it has settled with a layer of sediment. Wondering if the sediment holds some useful constituents or if the tincture should be decanted off?


  20. Hello, I am finding this article so helpful in my journey of growing, harvesting and medicine making of milky oat seed. Also really like the site in general, thanks!
    First time I’ve grown them, and so far so good. I’m in 5b zone, here in southern coastal Maine. Planted in April (don’t remember date). Just tossed handfuls in a 3 x 12 raised bed in my community garden plot. Great germination. Zero pests. Watered a few times. was concerned they were going to skip milky phase cuz we got some upper 80’s weather for most of a week, but high humidity perhaps saved the day, because when I squeezed them (had to squeeze rather hard, harder than I had thought) milky goodness came out ( July 7). I checked several areas in the bed and most are in the right phase, so I stripped them into a bag…harvested probably 2/3 of the crop which weighed in at almost 3 pounds of just the tops–will harvest the rest of the milky oats tomorrow and the oatstraw in a couple weeks maybe, not sure when is best.
    I thought that info may be helpful to folks.
    My question is this: I have so much and am tincturing a gigantic half gallon mason jar full and infusing some, but I wonder will freezing them preserve the magic? I know nothing beats fresh, but is freezing viable?
    Thanks again!


    1. PLEASE dont freeze it. Just use 100% alcohol, and make sure 50% the total liquid is pure alcohol. That will preserve it. Freezing kills so much good stuff within anything.


    2. Thank you for sharing! This is great info. Yes, you can freeze it fresh just fine. You might consider putting it through the food processor first and freezing it in portions appropriate for tea, infused honey etc. so you don’t have to thaw it all at once.


  21. Hello when I make milky oats tincture , I am always left with white sediment at the bottom that has precipitated out , is this still a useful part ?

    Warm thanks



  22. Delightful article! Thank you! I just acquired some dried milky oats that I intended to tincture but after reading your blog decided not to. What’s the best use for these dried milky oats? Will an infusion of them have much nutrient value. Or should I just go ahead and compost them?


    1. No don’t compost! They’re still oats. You can tincture or use for tea, they just won’t have the same magic. I drink dried oatstraw in my tea every day, dried oats are still nice. Next year get them fresh!


  23. Hi! I am curious about intercropping oats & watermelon… I want to clarify the process: so you sow your oats in early spring when the ground is ready, then when the watermelon is ready for planting (planting guides for me – western New York – say June), you just space the melons out, as usual, in the oat patch? I’m curious because the farm that I’ve worked at has an oat patch every season that’s pretty thick by June. I would think you’d have to cut the oats out of the ground everywhere you had a watermelon transplant to put. Unless you’re direct seeding your watermelons into the oats, which seems kinda sketch to me~ I’m having trouble visualizing this process – any info/pictures/resources you can provide are MUCH appreciated! Thank you 🙂


    1. Thanks this is a good question. I sow oats as soon as the snow melts and harvest in May or June depending on weather. I plant the watermelon starts right into the oats around the first week of June—easiest is just to use a dibble to make a little hole the size of the roots. I’ve usually harvested oats by then, or I will be harvesting within the next week or two. The watermelon leaves grow like crazy and the oats don’t compete, but grass etc. would. Keeps the weeds down and builds soil. Pumpkins also do well like this.


  24. Hi,
    I just found Avena strigosa seeds, not sativa. Can I use this in the same way?
    I feel very pulled to oat medicine right now but can’t find the sativa.
    Thank you for this helpful site.


  25. Hi there!
    It was my first year growing oats. I harvested them while milky, however we dried them! Can they still be tinctured, with the “dry milk”?? Or do I need to start from scratch? Thank you for the amazing article. Xo Bee

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Hi there!
    It was my first year growing oats. I harvested them while milky, however we dried them! Can they still be tinctured, with the “dry milk”?? Or do I need to start from scratch? Thank you for the amazing article.
    Xo Bee


  27. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be interesting to read through content from other writers and use a little something from other websites.


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