I'm Doing the 30-Day Milky Oats Challenge! (My Results So Far)

Merin Porter
Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin
edited February 2022 in Herbal Medicine-Making

Okay, in an effort to experience the general restorative, wellness-inducing, and body-strengthening properties of oat tops harvested in the milky stage and Equisetum hyemale, I have started doing the "30-Day Milky Oats Challenge." My first day was Friday, February 11.

Here is my method:

I am using nourishing infusions -- so, steeping 1 oz of dried oat tops harvested in the milky stage in 4 c. boiling water overnight in a covered half-gallon mason jar. During this first week, I am also adding a pinch of powdered Equisetum hyemale to the mixture and letting that steep overnight with the milky oat tops.

I have only been doing this for a few days, but here are my observations so far:

---->I feel a sense of what I might call "buoyant wellness" -- like I have a bit of an internal glow. Two other TGN team members -- @Jimerson Adkins and Sarah @PIP1022 -- are also taking the 30-Day Milky Oats Challenge and are reporting similar results.

---->My nails seem like they might be growing faster than usual. Hard to say for sure since it's only been a few days, but I am keeping my eye on this.

---->The first couple of days, I drank this infusion during the day ... and was sleepy. Then I switched to drinking it at night, a couple of hours before bed. Much, much better. I'm feeling "glowy" during the day -- not sleepy -- and after I drink those milky oats at night, going to sleep is easy.

--->The infusion has a taste that borders on citrusy, with an aftertaste like ... wait for it ... oatmeal. I am enjoying the infusion unsweetened and cold --- either refrigerated (after infusing overnight) or over ice.

Okay, that's my initial report after drinking the milky oats/equisetum hyemale infusion for four days. (This evening will be my fifth time drinking it.) I'll try to keep reporting back on this in case anyone is interested in the results. :)



  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm definitely interested in the results. I look forward to the updates.

    COWLOVINGIRL Posts: 954 ✭✭✭✭

    Me too! This is really cool!

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    I'll keep you posted! @Jimerson Adkins and @PIP1022 are doing it along with me, although they are a little farther along -- I'm finishing my first week today, and they are a few days farther along. We're all having really good results so far -- we are touching base about it daily, and so far, the descriptions that are being used are things like, "feels like an internal hug," "renewed zest and vigor," "reawakening of energies long forgotten and discarded," and "motivated to work out in the mornings, which I haven't done in years." So, some really interesting, good things!

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Merin Porter where is a good place to source the oats?

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,153 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Merin Porter Yes, please. Where do you source the oats and how do you know if they were harvested at the milky stage? I have used Mountain Rose Herbs for some things in the past, however their shipping rates have become too high to ship to Alaska. The last order I "was" going to get I canceled when the shipping was going to cost at least half as much as my herbs and it was a medium sized order. Not heavy, but they will not ship flat rate postal. $75 shipping was out of my range for just a couple pounds of herbs.

  • Jimerson
    Jimerson Posts: 291 admin
    edited February 2022

    I can confirm, drinking the milky oat infusion an hour or two before bed has provided results that one has to feel to believe. Any description I could give would sound like a too-good-to-be-true snakeoil sales pitch.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    Sounds interesting.

  • bookworm
    bookworm Posts: 35 ✭✭✭

    are you using milky oat tinture or real oats. I am sort of confused on that part. Waiting to hear of more of your progress on the use of it also.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,467 admin

    @Merin Porter I am very much interested and am following your experiment. As far as I understand, you are not fasting. I mean that this milky oats drink is not the only food you have during this period? Is it correct? I am asking as there are all kinds of diets where one eats only one kind of fruit or vegetables. E.g. I have read about grape diet where you have only grapes in whatever form: fresh, dried, juice...

    i admire all of you @Jimerson @PIP1022 for this experimenting. This is how one really finds out whether something works or not.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,186 ✭✭✭✭

    @Merin Porter Please keep posting, this is very interesting. Looking forward to reading more and finding out your sourcing for the oats. Thanks

  • Jimerson
    Jimerson Posts: 291 admin

    My process is simple: I stick a glass jar on a kitchen scale and toss in 1oz of actual milky oat tops. I pour in about 2 cups of boiling water from the kettle, shake it a bit, and let it set for at least 8 hours. Before drinking it, I use a little strainer to strain the infusion into my cup and I toss the oats into my compost! It's become a nice daily ritual. If you try it, I strongly encourage you to drink it before bed and not in the morning or during the day. It will relax you.. too much. haha

  • karenjanicki
    karenjanicki Posts: 1,001 ✭✭✭✭

    That's fascinating! I'm intrigued to hear your long term results. Where do you purchase your oats from? And the other ingredient?

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My first thought is that TGN offering the milky oats would be a good thing if it can be done affordablely. I would love to have the option to purchase them from a trusted source. That being said, with the prices that I'm seeing on the internet for the oats from various companies, I'm guessing that I wouldn't have the money to be able to purchase any soon.

    @Merin Porter I'm not sure if you want to count that as a "yes" vote or not but I hope it helps.

  • Owl
    Owl Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

    If I were to grow oats, which is really easy, I would harvest it at the milky stage and put it in the dehydrator to preserve it (at least in theory) but there would no longer be “milk” in the heads. Would it still be “milky oats” and hold the same benefits? Is there a temperature range that would preserve the medicinal value of the plant? Also, is there a particular variety of oat that produces more (or more potent) milk? I would dearly love something that would help me achieve restful sleep on a regular basis!

    Thanks so much for your posting on your progress!

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,617 admin

    Hi @bookworm and @Owl Growing oats is really easy. The medicinal properties can be had from either the oats harvested at the milky stage or from the dried and chopped stalks. The oats are at a milky stage for about a week and have to be harvest during that time. In Colorado, that is about mid-summer.

    For both the stalks and the oats, you dry them in a cool dark place with lots of good ventilation. If you live in a more humid climate you may need to add ventilation via a fan or blower (not too high speed! LOL).

    TGN has a detailed report on the medicinal qualities of milky oats. Hmm it should you be in your library...

    I know, TGN knows, that these herbs and shipping can be expensive. It is one of the reasons we emphasize growing your own so much. And the farmers we buy from are very hard working dedicated people that grow very carefully in small batches. They are grown in pristine areas and these are extremely high quality clean oats. And yes, it does cost money.

  • Owl
    Owl Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

    I recently read some of the guidelines for getting certified ‘organic’ and it is easy to see why prices reflect that! It is not an inexpensive process and that’s before you ever put a seed in the ground! I am blessed to be in the country and have a greenhouse so I try to grow as much of the herbs I use and the foods I eat as I am able to. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a resource that describes things like what temperature is safe for the drying of an herb or what percentage of alcohol each herb needs to extract the most medically active ingredients. I recently had a cousin make me a batch of organic shine to make tinctures with and I would love to know exactly what that might be for each (at least the ones I use the most) herb since it starts off at 180 proof.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    If I want to grow my own oats, does anyone know of a good, clean source for the seeds? I am in a agricultural area, but the seeds I have seen have been "pre-treated" with chemicals.

  • Jimerson
    Jimerson Posts: 291 admin

    As I near the end of milky oat challenge week three, I've noticed that while my excitement and disbelief have started to fade, the newfound energy and focus, ability to sleep, and sense of overall wellness have just become my new norms. The rest of life's problems haven't magically vanished, but I feel I have a much more solid foundation from which to tackle them.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,617 admin

    Hi @Desiree I have sometimes planed horse feed oats. The germination isn't as good, but I would buy a 50lb. bag for about $8 (this was a few years ago) and the germination being lower didn't matter that much Horse feed oats are the whole oats (with seed coat and everything) and it is used as a feed for horses (duh, you figured that one out, huh?). It probably wasn't organic, but it also didn't have the chemicals that is normally put on seeds.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,690 admin
    edited March 2022

    @Owl To answer your question regarding strengths of alcohol to use for different herbs, Michael Moore's pharmacopeia (that list alcohol strength for each herb) is available at:

    There is another discussion ongoing with posts from 7Song that go through the whole process of tinctures along with the calculations for reducing your 180 proof to other strengths depending on what is required. That is in part 6.

    Generally, its the resins, barks and roots that require higher alcohol percentages but there are always the odd ones out. Willow bark only requires 25% ABV.

  • tinarock
    tinarock Posts: 37 ✭✭✭

    So to the OP. I see you are adding a "pinch" of Equisetum hyemale to the infusion. What do you think of substituting Equisetum arvense? Pretty much same plant, has lots of silica.

    I wonder because I grow Equisetum arvense.

    It is stupid simple to grow, and once it is established you will never be rid of it.

    The best time to harvest is spring while the stalks are still supple.

    I think I will try harvesting them this year, and drying them, and powdering them, and adding a pinch to my oat straw infusions and see if anything happens.

  • tinarock
    tinarock Posts: 37 ✭✭✭

    Regarding obtaining the oats. Oats are real easy to grow. I get Avena sativa (common oats) from johnnyseed.com. I grew them last year and harvested the oat straw four times, then the last time let them grow to the milky oat stage and harvested them.

    Drying thoroughly is very important. They will compost in their container if you don't dry them quite enough.

    You could hang dry them, but you would need a whole lot of clothesline and a lot of patience.

    I dry them in my floor-model dehydrator.

    Less is more, so I set it on "2" and let it dry for over 24 hours so as not to disturb the nutrients.

    My objective is to get independent of purchasing oat straw and milky oats from places like MountainRoseHerbs. They used to be great but they have gotten less reliable over the past 2 years, and this is real easy to grow, so it seems best to grow my own.

    To plant oats, get some reasonable dirt - I re-used some dirt from potato bags of the previous year, it was quite nutritious dirt. You should not broadcast the seed. You should plant each individual seed, about 1/2 inch apart. This gives the plant some space to grow. Do not tolerate any weeds.

    When the plants are about 8 inches tall, it's a good time to harvest: Just mow them, so the roots remain intact and in a few weeks, mow them again. I used scissors to mow mine. Then dry them, bag them, and use them.

  • tinarock
    tinarock Posts: 37 ✭✭✭

    Some people are asking about making a tincture of milky oats. Please note that an alcohol tincture extracts different properties from the oats than a water infusion. I think you will get more of the nervous system benefit from the water infusion.

  • I would love to learn more, and would definitely be interested in purchasing the biodynamic oats and related products/herbs required to partake and begin my own trial. Thank you!!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,604 admin

    @Pamela Johnston Welcome to the TGN forum! I think it is really interesting how there is an ongoing live experiment here by some admin. Milky Oats has many benefits.

    Please leave a short introduction once you have a moment. I'll leave a link for you below:


  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,604 admin

    @tinarock An infusion is good, but all of the herbal books that I consulted recommended either a tea or a tincture (10-15 drops diluted in hot water...Matthew Wood) for benefit.

    @torey might have something else to add, but it looks as though a tincture would work just as well.

    Nutritionally, now for sure, a water infusion would be better.

  • burekcrew86
    burekcrew86 Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

    I’m so intrigued by this whole thing. Keep us updated throughout the process. Any negative results for long term or is it meant to be short term?

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,690 admin

    Here is a link to TGN's blog post on Oats.

    It is recommended that if you are going to tincture milky oats it should be done with fresh oats although it can be done with dried, too.

    There are benefits from both, drinking nourishing herbal infusions (1 oz weighed dried herb to 1 quart of water) and from a tincture. A nourishing herbal infusion is going to extract more of the mineral content to support long term nervous system health as well as strengthen hair, nails, teeth and bones. A tincture will give you more immediate results, helping to calm a frazzled nervous system, so it is more for acute situations. Oatstraw is more about nutrition (minerals) for your nerves and oat tops is more about the phytochemicals that affect the nervous system.

    Putting the tincture into a hot beverage enhances how quickly it can work in an acute situation. It is a high dose herb usually in a higher alcohol percentage, so it could be a bit challenging to take that much straight up, so adding it to a tea, especially oatstraw or milky oats tea would be a good way to go. If you are tincturing your own, 80% ABV is recommended, 1:2 for fresh. The oatstraw is rarely, if ever, tinctured.

    Mold or self composting are two common complaints when it comes to drying both milky oats and oatstraw. It needs to be done as quickly as possible, preferably in a dehydrator, and even then you should check on your dried supply every so often to make sure it is OK.

    @tinarock E. arvense and E. hyemale can be used interchangeably; same constituents and properties. What zone are you in that you can cut your oats back 4 times and still get it to go to seed?

    Welcome to TGN's forum @Pamela Johnston!

    @burekcrew86 Oats are one of the safest herbs to take. No concerns about taking it long term. Actually, it is recommended as a long term herb to be taken on a daily basis. The only caution I can find anywhere on oats is that it could affect your blood sugar levels so diabetics might want to monitor their levels if taking oats regularly but I think that is more about oats as food. There are occasional allergies to oats but usually the individual will have figured this out at some point early in life.