Whether it be representative of fast Italian cars or Sylvester Stallone himself, the wild stallion has long been an icon for sexual stamina and energy. It’s possible that this trait may be due in part to a heavy diet of avena sativa, better known as wild oats.
More than just horse food, avena sativa is a traditional herbal remedy used to support the mind, body, and spirit. Its entries within the German Pharmacopoeia extend as far back as two-hundred years and describe a stimulating effect. An effect that may explain why avena sativa is commonly used today to support hormone levels, increase energy, and encourage a healthy sexual response in men. I can picture the headline now, “Take your wild oats to sow your wild oats!”
Why is Hormone Support Important?
Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men, however; the body can use only “free” testosterone. As men age and begin to experience the symptoms of andropause, more and more testosterone becomes bound to other hormones. Bound testosterone is associated with more problems (enlarged prostate) than benefits. Subsequently, many andropausal men report dissatisfaction in their sexual health and muscular status. Freeing up testosterone can help to balance the hormone levels necessary to support a healthy sex drive and fight the effects of aging.
Does Avena Sativa Affect Hormone Levels?
Like Tribulus terrestris, avena sativa is believed to increase luteinizing hormone levels. Luteinizing hormones are released by the pituitary gland and tell the testicles to produce more testosterone. Avena sativa also encourages the freeing up of bound testosterone to support a healthy sexual response, energy levels, and the other benefits that can only be experienced when adequate testosterone is available.
Can Avena Sativa Enhance Sexuality?
Sex requires emotional and physical desire to happen. Unfortunately, for many aging men, despite the willingness of the spirit, the flesh may be weak. In these instances, an herbal aphrodisiac may help. Aphrodisiacs are substances that enhance sexual arousal or pleasure. Along with Tribulus terrestris, Withania somnifera, Tongkat ali, and Psoralea coryifolia, Avena sativa is an herbal aphrodisiac with a long history of use in managing sexual disorders. 
The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality has examined the efficacy of avena sativa at least twice. One study reported that sexually dysfunctional and impotent men aged 22-64 who took a capsule of avena sativa three days a week for six week experienced improvements in their sex drive, erections, and pleasure levels during sex. Other research conducted in the mid-80s reported that men who consumed avena sativa experienced a 22% increase in genital sensation and a 36% increase in orgasm frequency.
Avena Sativa and Other Symptoms of Andropause
Andropause produces profound physical changes in a man and affects more than sexual health. Men who are experiencing the symptoms of andropause often report other concerns such as stress, diminished physical energy, and mental lethargy. In animal models, avena sativa has been observed to support healthy stress levels and even reduce cravings for stimulants like nicotine.  
Supplementing With Avena Sativa
For men who are experiencing the symptoms of andropause, a return to normal hormone levels may be in order. However, conventional hormone replacement therapy can lead to enlarged prostate and other serious health problems. Wouldn’t you prefer a natural botanical with a documented reputation extending two hundred years? Avena sativa is believed to be safe and not known to produce adverse side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider and determine if supplementing with avena sativa is right for you.
- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
- Malviya N, Jain S, Gupta VB, Vyas S. Recent studies on aphrodisiac herbs for the management of male sexual dysfunction–a review. Acta Pol Pharm. 2011 Jan-Feb;68(1):3-8.
- Schellekens C, Perrinjaquet-Moccetti T, Wullschleger C, Heyne A. An extract from wild green oat improves rat behaviour. Phytother Res. 2009 Oct;23(10):1371-7.
- Schmidt K, Geckeler K. Pharmacotherapy with avena sativa – a double blind study. Int J Clin Pharmacol Biopharm. 1976 Oct;14(3):214-6.