- What other names is Wheatgrass known by?
- What is Wheatgrass?
- How does Wheatgrass work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Dosing considerations for Wheatgrass.
Wheatgrass is a kind of grass. The above-ground parts, roots, and rhizome are used to make medicine. Wheatgrass is primarily used as a concentrated source of nutrients. It contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, iron, calcium, magnesium, and amino acids.
Wheatgrass is taken by mouth to increase production of hemoglobin, the chemical in red blood cells that carries oxygen; improve blood sugar disorders, such as diabetes; prevent tooth decay; improve wound healing; and prevent bacterial infections.
Wheatgrass is also taken by mouth to treat various disorders of the urinary tract, including infection of the bladder, urethra, and prostate; benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH); kidney stones; and in "irrigation therapy," the use of a mild diuretic along with lots of fluids to increase urine flow.
Other uses include treatment of respiratory tract complaints, including the common cold, cough, bronchitis, fever, and sore throat; tendency toward infection; gout; liver disorders; ulcerative colitis; joint pain; and chronic skin problems.
Wheatgrass is used for cancer and arthritis in alternative treatment programs. Wheatgrass contains a lot of chlorophyll, the chemical in plants that makes them green and also allows them to make energy from sunlight through photosynthesis. Some people think chlorophyll might fight cancer and arthritis.
Wheatgrass juice is a popular health drink. It is thought to benefit health only when fresh and taken on an empty stomach immediately after extraction. But there is no research to date that supports this.
In foods and beverages, wheatgrass extracts are used as a flavoring component.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Blood disorder called beta-thalassemia. Early research suggests that drinking wheatgrass juice daily for 18 months can reduce the need for blood transfusions in children with a blood disorder called beta-thalassemia.
- Heel pain. Early research suggests that applying a wheatgrass cream to the bottom of the feet twice daily for 6 weeks does not reduce heel pain.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis). There is some evidence that freshly extracted wheatgrass juice might reduce overall disease activity and the severity of rectal bleeding in people with ulcerative colitis.
- Reducing cholesterol.
- High blood pressure.
- Preventing tooth decay.
- Wound healing.
- Preventing infections.
- Removing drugs, metals, toxins, and cancer-causing substances from the body.
- Other conditions.
Wheatgrass contains chemicals that might have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory (swelling) activity, which is why some people think it might be helpful for ulcerative colitis. It also contains a chemical that seems to kill bacterial infections.
Wheatgrass is LIKELY SAFE when taken in food amounts. It is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts for up to 18 months or when applied to the skin as a cream for up to 6 weeks. Not enough is known about the safety of long-term use of wheatgrass as medicine.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking wheatgrass if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
The appropriate dose of wheatgrass depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for wheatgrass. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
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Marawaha, R. K., Bansal, D., Kaur, S., and Trehan, A. Wheat grass juice reduces transfusion requirement in patients with thalassemia major: a pilot study. Indian Pediatr. 2004;41(7):716-720. View abstract.
Young, M. A., Cook, J. L., and Webster, K. E. The effect of topical wheatgrass cream on chronic plantar fasciitis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Complement Ther Med 2006;14(1):3-9. View abstract.
Ben-Arye E, Golden E, Wengrower D, et al. Wheat grass juice in the treatment of active distal ulcerative colitis a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Scand J Gastroenterol 2002;4:444-9.. View abstract.
Chauhan M. A pilot study on wheat grass juice for its phytochemical, nutritional and therapeutic potential on chronic diseases. IJCS. 2014;2(4):27-34.
Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Available at: http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/.
Nenonen MT, Helve TA, Rauma AL, Hanninen OO. Uncooked, lactobacilli-rich, vegan food and rheumatoid arthritis. Br J Rheumatol 1998;37:274-81.
Rauma AL, Nenonen M, Helve T, et al. Effect of a strict vegan diet on energy and nutrient intakes by Finnish rheumatoid patients. Eur J Clin Nutr 1993;47:747-9. View abstract.