Wheatgrass refers to the young grass of the common wheat plant, Triticum aestivum. Wheatgrass has many health benefits. It has nearly a gram of protein per teaspoon but contains no cholesterol or fat. It provides eight of the essential amino acids, and thirteen of the non-essential amino acids, which makes it a protein-rich food. The chlorophyll present in wheatgrass acts as a body cleanser, rebuilder, and neutralizer of toxins. It is a rich source of Vitamin A, B, and C. It also contains minerals like calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and zinc. As a natural home remedy, it can be used as a daily tonic to keep the body healthy.
Wheatgrass is generally taken in the form of a juice or powder or capsule.
Health Benefits of Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass juice is believed to prevent tooth decay, reduce high blood pressure, reduce arthritis pain, and also treat chronic fatigue. It is also believed to be a cure for cancer and AIDS. Wheatgrass is said to have chlorophyll in the leaveswhich increases hemoglobin content in the blood as both the molecules are similar in structure. The enzymes in the It is also thought that the enzymes present in wheat grass help rid the body of toxins and carcinogens.
- Wheatgrass juice used as an enema helps detoxify the walls of the colon. This enema is helpful in disorders of the colon, mucous, chronic constipation, and bleeding piles.
- Animal studies show that wheatgrass helps to control blood sugar. It raised insulin levels and helped lower blood glucose. It helps to manage diabetes.
- The chlorophyll present in wheatgrass enhances heart and lung functions. Oxygenation improves – hence the juice is prescribed for circulatory disorders.
- It helps in providing nourished and healthy skin and acts as a natural cure for skin disorders. It aids in rejuvenating cells, thereby slowing the aging process. It helps maintain skin elasticity.
- The chlorophyll arrests the development of harmful bacteria, and is effective against ulcerated wounds, as it retards bacterial action and promotes cell activity. A poultice of wheatgrass juice can be applied to the infected area.
- Another health benefit of wheatgrass is that it promotes blood formation, and is therefore helpful in the formation of RBC (Red Blood Corpuscles) and blood platelets.
- Improves eye vision and provides proper nourishment to the skin under the eyes preventing dark circles and sagging of skin.
- Medical research suggests that wheatgrass is most likely a powerful stimulator of human growth factors. This is seen in many instances such as rapid skin recovery, wound healing, and increased production of blood elements by the bone marrow. Wheatgrass, it is believed, has an insulin-like effect on blood sugar. It reduces glucose levels and helps to stabilize them.
- It detoxifies heavy metals from the bloodstream and cleanses the liver. This leads to relief from general body pains and many kinds of body inflammation. It improves cell strength and offers protection from carcinogens.
Benefits for cancer
Wheatgrass is said to help in the prevention and treatment of cancer. It’s an incredibly rich source of folic acid. There is evidence that taking a supplement with folic acid protects against some forms of cancer. It has been found that cancerous cells have a deficiency or a lack of SOD. Hence, when the diet is supplemented with wheatgrass it helps the body to avoid and/or deal with, cancerous conditions. Antioxidants mop up free radicals and thus reduce cell mutation, which is part of the first stage of cancer formation. Dr. Ann Wigmore of the Hippocrates Health Institute, Boston, reportedly cured many chronically ill patients with cancer using freshly juiced wheatgrass.
Wheatgrass is said to ward off the effects of radiation. It has a highly potent antioxidant enzyme called SOD (Superoxide Dismutase) that protects the DNA from free radical damage, and which reduces the effects of radiation. Its anti-inflammatory property prevents cellular damage. It helps restore alkalinity in the blood and helps to keep the balance of your blood pH. It is also known to boost hemoglobin production. It is rich in vitamin C, which builds immunity. It is also said to increase the red blood cell count. All these properties make it an effective remedy to combat cancer of the blood.
Benefits for the teeth
Wheatgrass juice can be used as a mouthwash for sore throats and pyorrhoea. It also prevents tooth decay and toothaches. Chewing wheatgrass helps to draw out toxins from the gums thus checking bacterial growth.
How to juice wheatgrass
- Electric blenders are not recommended for juicing as the rapid blade movement causes oxidation of the chlorophyll and renders it useless.
- A manual juicer, or any simple method available at home for making chutneys can be used to juice the wheatgrass.
- Add a little water while grinding, strain the juice through a clean cloth into a cup or a glass. Repeat this process until the remaining grass is almost white.
Best time to take wheatgrass
- Wheatgrass juice should always be taken on an empty stomach.
- After you drink wheatgrass juice, wait an hour before eating as it takes that time for the juice to be absorbed by the body.
How to grow wheatgrass at home
Wheatgrass can be easily grown at home.
- Soak unpolished wheat grain overnight.
- Keep a few pots ready with ordinary soil and organic manure. Do not add any chemicals or fertilizers.
- Spread the soaked wheat on the surface of the soil so that the grains are touching one another. Sprinkle a thin layer of soil on the wheat grains. Cover the pot with a newspaper to provide darkness which helps the sprouting and also prevents the birds from eating the wheat.
- The next day uncovers the pot, spray some water and cover it again with the newspaper. Repeat this every day until you see green leaves sprouting through the soil. Stop covering the pot as soon as the green leaves appear.
- Water the pots lightly but adequately depending upon the season and also depending upon the type of pots used (with or without holes). Green blades of grass should keep growing in height every day.
- As soon as the grass is about 8 inches tall ( which usually happens around the 7th to the 9th day from the date of sowing) harvest the grass by cutting with a clean pair of scissors about 1/2″ above the surface of the soil. The harvested wheatgrass is now ready to be chewed or juiced or stored.
- The second round of wheatgrass will again grow in about 6 to 7 days with daily watering as before. After the second harvest from the same pot, remove all the soil in the pot, break up all the roots and mix them with the soil. The soil is now ready for reuse for fresh sowing of wheat.
How to make wheatgrass powder at home and how to use it
- Wash the wheatgrass well to remove dust and impurities.
- Spread it thinly on a tray and let it dry in the sunlight.
- Grind the wheatgrass in a mixer grinder till fine.
- Sieve the powder and grind the grainy particles again till it becomes fine.
- Store in a glass jar with an air tight lid.
- You can consume wheatgrass with hot water, fruit juice, milk or honey.
Side effects according to mskcc.org include
- Nausea, difficulties in swallowing the juice due to strong grass-like taste.
- Contamination by microbials is possible as wheat grass sprouts are grown for 7–10 days before the leaves are harvested.