Avena sativa means “wild oats” in Latin. This plant, also referred to as oat straw or oat extract, was used as a medicine prior to being used as food. This plant may have sparked the phrase, “sowing your wild oats,” due to its effect on sexual stimulation, according to “Prescription for Herbal Healing” by Phyllis A. Balch. Potential benefits are not limited to its impact on the libido, however. Wild oats are rich in B vitamins, phosphorous and calcium.
Wild oats may be a mild sexual enhancer, according to Dr. Ray Sahelian, author of “Natural Sex Boosters.” However, he notes that most claims for sexual enhancement rely on research done in the 1980s by the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco, a company that marketed avena sativa products. In the animal kingdom, Balch notes that stallions that are fed wild oats are said to become lustful.