By: Nikki Nies
Although modern day use of wheatgrass is associated with cleanses and clean eating, its use can be traced back to 5000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Urban legend has it that the ancient Egyptians viewed the leafy wheat grass as a positive effect on health and vitality. Wheat grass is derived from Triticum aestivum, whose above ground parts, roots and rhizome are used to make medicine. Since it’s concentrated with vitamin A,C, E, iron, calcium, magnesium and 17 amino acids, it’s considered a powerhouse of nutrients.
With a growth period of 7-14 days, it can be found all year round in stores. Raw wheatgrass can be stored in a container for 7-8 days. If you’re harvesting on kitchen window, it’s best to juice immediately. Stay away from wheatgrass that has turned yellow.
Most commonly, wheatgrass is sold as tablets, frozen or fresh juice, powder concentrate, spray, cream, gel, massage lotion and/or as a liquid herbal supplement and is served as freeze dried or fresh. Like most plants, wheat grass contains amino acids, vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
Wheatgrass is commonly used to:
- Increase the production of hemoglobin
- Improve diabetes and wound healing
- Improve digestion
- Lower cholesterol by blocking its absorption
- Prevent bacterial infections and tooth decay
- Removal of cancer causing agents from the body and toxins from the liver and blood
- Removal of drugs, heavy metals and cancer causing agents from the body
- Removal of toxins from liver and blood
- May help treat bladder, prostate and/or urethra infections, kidney stones
- Used in irrigation therapy
- Kill bacterial infections
- Blood disorder beta-thalassemia–suggested that drinking wheat grass juice daily for 18 months can decrease the need for blood transfusions
- Treat arthritis-since wheat grass contains chlorophyll, the chemical that’s responsible for the ‘green’ in plants and allows them to make energy via photosynthesis, it’s hypothesized use of wheat grass can treat arthritis
- Respiratory complaints (e.g. common cold, bronchitis)
- Ulcerative colitis-due to potential antioxidant and anti inflammatory activity.
Many find using wheat grass juice a quick way to get the nutrients. The thought is the health benefits are only extracted when it’s fresh an taken on an empty stomach right after extraction. You may also find wheat grass extract as a flavoring component.
However, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of any of the aforementioned uses. It may cause nausea, headaches, hives or swelling of your throat. Wheatgrass is usually grown in soil or water and consumed raw, which means it could be contaminated with bacteria or mold.
Yet, if you’re up for using wheatgrass, one of the best, flavorful ways is via smoothies. Similar in taste to spinach or other leafy greens, it’s a great addition or substitution to any and all juices and drinks. Amazing Grass is a great starting place to try wheatgrass and tastes great in a pineapple coconut wheatgrass smoothie or strawberry wheatgrass smoothie. This statement comes from Incredible Smoothies.