The Common Oat. Nat. Ord. Gramineae.
Linn. Syst. Triandria Digynia. It is an important article of food, and as such it is chiefly employed, particularly in Scotland. It is highly nutritious, containing about 64 per cent. of Starch, and being richer in oily or fatty matter, and in proteine, than any other grain.
Its Medicinal Uses are various. In Habitual Constipation, and in some forms of Dyspepsia, oat bread, or oatmeal porridge [vulgo Stir-about), is sometimes very effectual as a laxative. In Poisoning by Acrid substances, oatmeal gruel may be given with advantage as a demulcent. Oatmeal also forms a useful suppurative poultice. Gruel prepared from oatmeal is sometimes used as a substitute for milk, for infants and young children. It is objectionable when there is a tendency to diarrhoea.