Ingested oat herb extract (Avena sativa) changes EEG spectral frequencies in healthy subjects

J Altern Complement Med. 2011 May;17(5):427-34. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0143. Epub 2011 May 12.


Objective: This study aimed at using quantitative assessment of human electric brain activity during mental work for determining acute effects of ingested oat herb extract on cognitive performance.

Design: Within a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study, two dosages of a special oat preparation of Avena sativa herba (1250 or 2500 mg of Neuravena®) were compared to placebo. An electroencephalogram was recorded while the patient had eyes open for 6 minutes, eyes closed for 4 minutes, performance of a concentration test (d2) for 5 minutes, and performance of mental arithmetic (KLT) for 5 minutes. Source density was calculated and spectral frequency changes were averaged to give one value for each frequency range.

Results: Using quantitative brain mapping technology (CATEEM®), main effects were observed in the left frontotemporal area, known to be involved in cognitive tasks. Statistically significant differences were observed during resting (lowering of spectral δ power) and during performance of the d2-concentration test (enhancement of spectral θ power) (p < 0.01 and p < 0.05, respectively). Also, during performance of mental arithmetic, greater enhancement of θ power was observed but only at a lower error probability (p = 0.115). No effects could be seen using the P300 paradigm during presentation of a visual stimulus.

Conclusions: These changes suggest that oat herb extract might be effective in healthy subjects, resulting in a positive impact on cognitive performance.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / drug effects*
  • Avena*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electroencephalography* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Reference Values
  • Rest
  • Thinking / drug effects*


  • Plant Extracts