Oats - Research:
There have been many studies on the internal use of oats.19,20,21 The FDA allows the health claim that soluble fiber from whole oats, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.22
There are few current studies on external uses of oats. One study showed liquid paraffin with colloidal oatmeal reduced itching and antihistamine use in acute burn patients compared to liquid paraffin alone.23 Another study showed that topical pretreatment with Avena sativa extract prevented skin irritation using the sodium lauryl sulfate irritation model.24
The FDA allows colloidal oatmeal as an active ingredient in skin protectants for use as a soak, compress, or wet dressing.25 The FDA accepts the safety and efficacy of colloidal oatmeal products to temporarily protect and help relieve minor skin irritation and itching due to rashes, eczema, poison ivy/oak/sumac, and insect bites.25
The German Commission E has approved oat straw for external application for inflammatory and seborrheic (oozing) skin disease, especially with itching.14
14 Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, Gruenwald J, Hall T, Riggins CW, Rister RS, eds. Klein S, Rister RS, trans. The Complete German Commission E Monographs Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; Boston: Integrative Medicine Communication; 1998.
19 Berg A, König D, Deibert P, et al. Effect of an oat bran enriched diet on the atherogenic lipid profile in patients with an increased coronary heart disease risk: a controlled randomized lifestyle intervention study. Ann Nutr Metab. November/December 2003;47(6):306–311.
20 Davy BM, Davy KP, Ho RC, Beske SD, Davrath LR, Melby Cl. High-fiber oat cereal compared with wheat cereal consumption favorably alters LDL-cholesterol subclass and particle numbers in middle-aged and older men. Am J Clin Nutr. August 1, 2002;76(2):351–358.
21 Karmally W, Montez MG, Palmas W, et al. Cholesterol-lowering benefits of oat-containing cereal in Hispanic Americans. J Am Diet Assoc. June 2005;105(6):967-970.
22 Food and Drug Administration. Food labeling: health claims; soluble dietary fiber from certain foods and coronary heart disease. Fed Regist. October 2, 2002;67(191):61773–61783.21 C.F.R. § 101.81.
23 Matheson JD, Clayton J, Muller MJ. The reduction of itch during burn wound healing. J Burn Care Rehabil. January-February 2001;22(1):76-81.
24 Vie K, Cours-Darne S, Vienne MP, Boyer F, Fabre B, Dupuy P. Modulating effects of oatmeal extracts in the sodium lauryl sulfate skin irritancy model. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. Machr-April 2002;15(2):120-124.
25 Food and Drug Administration. Skin protectant drug products for over-the-counter human use; final monograph. Fed Regist. June 4, 2003;68(107):33362-33381. 21 C.F.R. §§ 347.10(f) and 347.50(b)(4).