WHEATGRASS Overview Information
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, in patients with a blood disorder called beta-thalassemia. It is also commonly used for a variety of conditions including ulcerative colitis, diabetes, infections, and many more, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
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.
How does it work?
Wheatgrass contains chemicals that might have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory (anti-swelling) activity. This is why some people think it might be helpful for conditions such as ulcerative colitis. It also contains a chemical that might fight bacterial infections.
- Blood disorder called beta-thalassemia. Research evaluating wheatgrass for treating a blood disorder called beta-thalassemia shows conflicting results. Some early research suggests that drinking 100 mL of wheatgrass juice daily for 18 months or taking tablets containing 1-4 grams of wheatgrass daily for 12 months can reduce the need for blood transfusions in children with a blood disorder called beta-thalassemia. However, other early research suggests that taking tablets containing 100-200 mg/kg of wheatgrass daily for 12 months does not reduce the need for blood transfusions in children and adults with beta-thalassemia. Larger, higher quality studies are needed to resolve these conflicting results.
- 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 early research that freshly extracted wheatgrass juice might reduce overall disease activity and the severity of rectal bleeding in people with ulcerative colitis.
- High blood pressure.
- Preventing infections.
- Preventing tooth decay.
- Reducing cholesterol.
- Removing drugs, metals, toxins, and cancer-causing substances from the body.
- Wound healing.
- Other conditions.
WHEATGRASS Side Effects & Safety
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.
Wheatgrass can cause nausea, appetite loss, and constipation.
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.
Diabetes: Wheatgrass may lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use wheatgrass.
Surgery: Wheatgrass might lower blood sugar and might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking wheatgrass as a medicine at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
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.