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Wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum)

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Also listed as: Triticum aestivum
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Agropyron, amino acids, bread wheat, bugday (Turkish), cheng ping, chlorophyll, common wheat, Elytrigia, Eremopyrum, enzymes, fou mai, frumint, Gramineae (family), Hsiao mai, hui mai, hui mien, ka shih tso, lai, mai ch'ao, mai fu, mai fu tzu, man tou, mien, mien chin, mien fen, minerals, mo mo, pai mien, Pascopyrum, Poaeceae (family), Pseudoroegneria, tarwe, trigo, Triticum vulgar, Triticum aestivum, Triticum hybernum, Triticummacha, Triticummuticum, Triticumsphaerococcum, vegan diet, vitamins, wheat, Wheatgrass Active©, wheat berry, wheat grass.

Background
  • There are over 4,000 different kinds of wheatgrass. Wheatgrass is commonly found in temperate regions of Europe and the United States. Wheatgrass is often used in vegan diets or other "living food" diets. Wheatgrass has become popular in the United States and is marketed towards health-conscious people.
  • Wheatgrass does not contain gluten and may be eaten by people who have gluten intolerance. The leaf buds may be crushed to make a juice or dried to make a powder. The unprocessed plant contains high levels of cellulose, a compound that cannot be digested. Wheatgrass juice comes from the pulp of wheatgrass and has been used as a general-purpose health tonic for several years.
  • Wheatgrass is a complete protein that contains many nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Some believe that wheatgrass helps blood flow, digestion, and detoxification of the body.
  • High-quality research in support of wheatgrass for any condition is lacking. However, early studies suggest that wheatgrass may benefit people who have beta-thalassemia (a blood disorder) or ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Evidence suggests that wheatgrass may benefit people who have beta-thalassemia. It may help reduce the number of blood transfusions needed. However, further research is needed before a firm conclusion may be made.

C


Early evidence suggests that a wheatgrass-based cream lacks effect on symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Further study is needed in order to make firm conclusions.

C


Studies suggest that wheatgrass may benefit people who have ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. However, further research is needed to confirm these findings.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Acne, AIDS, alcohol dependence, bile duct disorders, bladder inflammation, blood flow disorders, bruises, burns, cancer, chronic skin disorders, constipation, cough, detoxification, diabetes, digestion, energy enhancement, eye strain, fatigue, fever, gout, high blood pressure, infection, infertility, gum disease, pain (in the stomach), poison ivy, scar healing, rheumatoid arthritis, sedative, sore throat, sweating, thirst, weight loss, wound healing.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • For beta-thalassemia, 100 milliliters of wheatgrass juice has been taken by mouth daily for more than 18 months.
  • For normal health maintenance, 1-4 ounces of wheatgrass juice has been taken by mouth daily.
  • For therapeutic effects, 4-8 ounces of wheatgrass juice has been taken by mouth daily.
  • As an additional therapy for ulcerative colitis, 100 milliliters of wheatgrass juice has been taken by mouth daily for one month.
  • For colon cleansing, 8-32 ounces of wheatgrass juice has been delivered into the colon through enemas, rubber bulb syringes, or colonics.
  • For plantar fasciitis, a water-based cream containing 10 percent wheatgrass plus 1 percent tea tree oil (Wheatgrass Active©, Level 2) has been applied to the skin twice daily for six weeks, with lack of benefit.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • For beta-thalassemia, 100 milliliters of wheatgrass juice has been taken by mouth daily for more than 18 months.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to wheatgrass. Wheatgrass is gluten-free.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Wheatgrass is possibly safe when applied to the skin or when taken by mouth in doses of up to 100 milliliters daily for one month.
  • Wheatgrass may cause headache, hives, nausea, and throat swelling.
  • Use cautiously when using wheatgrass grown in bacteria-contaminated areas, molds, or other substances.
  • Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to wheatgrass.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is a lack of scientific evidence on the use of wheatgrass during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Use cautiously when using wheatgrass grown in bacteria-contaminated areas, molds, or other substances.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Wheatgrass may interact with agents for the blood or stomach.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Wheatgrass may interact with herbs and supplements for the blood or stomach.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Ben Arye E, Goldin 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;37(4):444-449.
  2. Ben-Arye E, Schiff E, Steiner M, et al. Wheatgrass in Afifi's garden: sprouting integrative oncology collaborations in the Middle East. J Clin Oncol. 3-1-2011;29(7):944-946.
  3. Forgionne GA. Bovine cartilage, coenzyme Q10, and wheat grass therapy for primary peritoneal cancer. J Altern.Complement Med 2005;11(1):161-165.
  4. Marawaha RK, Bansal D, Kaur S, et al. Wheat grass juice reduces transfusion requirement in patients with thalassemia major: a pilot study. Indian Pediatr. 2004;41(7):716-720.
  5. 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(10):747-749.
  6. Young MA, Cook JL, and Webster KE. 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.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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