Differences Between Oat & Wheat Straw

Wheat and oats are some of the world's most widely used crops. While both have been used as food for many generations, they have other uses that have recently come into mainstream thinking in areas of medicine and bio fuel. The differences between oat and wheat straw are a fine line of form, taste and function.

Oat Straw Uses

Oat straw is used in areas of holistic medicine as an herbal remedy. Known also as "avena sativa," oat straw has been used to treat such conditions as anxiety, panic disorders, depression and hyperactivity in children. It's generally taken orally as a brewed tea by simply pouring boiling water over the oat straw and allowing the mixture to steep for 5 minutes, then drinking it.

Wheat Straw Uses

Wheat straw has a few divergent uses. The first is in beer; wheat beer, Belgian white ales and certain domestic brews are filtered with wheat straw as opposed to barley to produce a lighter brew that's actually cheaper to make then traditional lager. Wheat straw has also been developed as a fuel source in combination with ethanol. As early as 2001, researchers working with Washington State University began investigating wheat straw as a supplement to corn-based biofuels. Ethanol has gone on to be a key player in the push for energy independence in the United States.

Oat and Wheat Facts

Wheat and oat are some of the world's most widely used food sources. Wheat is grown on more land area than any other crop and sits third on the world's list of most eaten foods (behind rice and corn). Oats were first brought to America during the time of Queen Elizabeth (1600s) when they were planted on islands off the Massachusetts coast. Since then, oats have branched out from simple horse feed to showing up in breakfast cereals and as an antioxidant in dairy products like ice cream.