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Wheatgrass: Uses, Benefits, Side effects & More!

By Dr Ashok Pal +2 more

Introduction:

Since agriculture began, Triticum aestivum Linn., also known as wheat or Godhuma, has been one of the world’s most used grain-grass crops. It has been widely used as a food product since ancient times. Its leaf, also known as wheatgrass, also known as Godhuma Patra, has become popular in the last few years. Wheatgrass is the young shoot of Triticum aestivum and belongs to the family Poaceae.1,2 

Nutritional Value of Wheatgrass: 

The juice of wheatgrass, also known as ”green blood”, can provide you with all the nutrients required; hence, it is also called as a complete food.2 Wheatgrass has the following nutritional components: 

wheatgrass and powder

  • It is rich in chlorophyll1 
  • It contains antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C, pro-vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B12, folic acid, and pyridoxine1,2 
  • It also contains minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, chromium, selenium, and iron1,2 
  • It also contains amino acids, protein, and enzymes (e.g., amylase, protease, lipase, cytochrome oxidase, superoxide dismutase, and transhydrogenase2,3 

Did you know?

  • Wheatgrass contains high levels of chlorophyll, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov
  • Wheatgrass is a good source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy weight. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov
  • Wheatgrass has been found to have potential anti-cancer properties, although more research is needed. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov
  • Wheatgrass may help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov

Properties of Wheatgrass: 

In addition to its nutritional content, several studies also suggest that wheatgrass can help in conditions such as

  • It may have anti-obesity activity
  • It may show potential anti-cancers properties
  • It may have anti-flatulence properties
  • It may have detoxification properties2 
  • It may show some protective benefits for heart
  • It may have protective properties for heart.2 

Studies show that wheatgrass juice is a rich source of vitamin C and might have detoxifying properties. This might help to maintain a balance between the liver and kidney which might lead to improving the immune system.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Potential Uses of Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass may be potentially useful for following health conditions

Potential Uses of Wheatgrass for Digestive Disorders: 

Wheatgrass contains a high magnesium level; hence, it may help to keep the bowels functioning optimal. Thus, it may act as a remedy for constipation. A wheatgrass enema can aid in digestive disorders like ulcerative colitis, piles, and chronic constipation. Wheatgrass might have some effect on indigestion, vomiting, flatulence, acidity, ulcers, constipation, and worms.1,2 

Potential Uses of Wheatgrass for Ear Diseases: 

Consuming wheatgrass juice and placing a few drops of wheatgrass juice in your ears might help relieve earache and heals septic discharge.2 However, ear is a sensitive organ you must not put anything in the ear without consulting your ayurvedic physician.

Potential Uses of Wheatgrass for Diseases of the Joint: 

Wheatgrass has an intense anti-inflammatory action, which may help to reduce pain and inflammation. This might help to increase the natural healing process in joint diseases such as osteoarthritis, gout, and fractures. For example, applying wheatgrass on a closed fracture or around an open skin wound may have some effect on pain, bruising, and swelling.

If you have gout, applying wheatgrass every three to four hours can possibly shorten the duration of the episode and prevent further episodes.2  However, there are insufficient evidences to validate this effect of wheatgrass on humans. Your doctor will advice you on dosage and precautions for using wheatgrass.

Potential Uses of Wheatgrass for Migraine: 

Since wheatgrass is a rich source of several nutrients, it may act as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent, thereby might help to relieve migraine. You can drink freshly squeezed juice of wheatgrass to relieve a migraine.2 You should consult your doctor if you have migraine.

Potential Uses of Wheatgrass for Respiratory Diseases: 

Wheatgrass juice might help to soothe the symptoms of respiratory diseases, such as common cold, bronchitis, and asthma. A twice-a-day regimen of wheatgrass juice may have some benefits for asthma. Using wheatgrass juice for the common cold may help get rid of the condition in a few days.2 Consult your doctor if you have respiratory issues, it may indicate some serious underlying condition. 

Potential Uses of Wheatgrass for Teeth Disorders: 

When used as a juice, wheatgrass may acts as a mouthwash for conditions like pyorrhoea, tooth decay, toothaches, and sore throat. Wheatgrass may be beneficial in pyorrhoea in both ways, i.e., preventive or remedial.2  However, these effects are yet to be proven, so you must follow your doctor’s advice before using wheatgrass for this purpose.

Potential Uses of Wheatgrass for Kidney Disorders: 

Wheatgrass juice may help in kidney disorders like kidney stones and inflammation of kidneys and urinary bladder.2  Since the studies and evidence available here is insufficient, you must consult a doctor and consume any herb only under doctor’s supervision.

Also Read: 8 Home Remedies for Kidney Stones

Potential Uses of Wheatgrass for Skin Diseases: 

Wheatgrass may show its healing effect on various skin disorders like eczema, burns, pimples, wounds, and cuts due to its blood purifying effect. Applying powder or juice of wheatgrass three times a day may have some action on gangrene. In addition to this, wheatgrass can also potentially reduce severe itching of the skin and restores it back to health.2 These effects of wheatgrass are not backed up by sufficient research, so it is advised that you take it only if prescribed by a qualified doctor.

Potential Uses of Wheatgrass for Cancer: 

Wheatgrass may be beneficial in various cancers like breast cancer and preleukemia. Using wheatgrass juice might have some beneficial effects on cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy, chemotherapy, allopathic treatment, or surgery. Wheatgrass may contains selenium and laetrile, which is found to reduce the number of cancer cells. In addition to this, it also may improve the count of red and white blood cells. Thus, it is believed that wheatgrass has the ability to restore the blood counts2

Though there are studies that show the potential uses of wheatgrass in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of wheatgrass on human health.

Also Read: Cranberry – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Based on some research, wheatgrass juice contains phytochemical pigment (chlorophyll), which is a high source of magnesium. Magnesium might have enhanced effects on fertility and sexual desires.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

How to Use Wheatgrass? 

You can include wheatgrass in your diet by preparing a juice in the following steps: 

  • Take fresh wheatgrass, cut and crush it properly2 
  • Wrap the crushed wheatgrass in a thin piece of cloth or use a plastic strainer and strain the juice. You can opt for an electric juicer or mixer for making wheatgrass juice.2 

You can also chew wheatgrass or use powder form, to obtain its beneficial effects.2 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.

Also Read: Chandraprabha Vati – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Side Effects of Wheatgrass: 

 Wheatgrass is safe to use because of a negligible incidence of side effects3 Excessive consumption of wheatgrass may cause:  

  • Nausea3
  • Vomiting3 
  • Throat swelling (more common if you are allergic to wheatgrass)3 

If you experience any side effect on consuming wheatgrass, you must consult the doctor who prescribed it to you immediately.

Also Read: Can Probiotics Cause Constipation? A Research-Based Examination of Side Effects

Precautions to Take with Wheatgrass:  

  • It is suggested that you discontinue using wheatgrass if symptoms of hypersensitivity, such as rash and irritation appears. You should consult your physician if you experience such problems.3,4 
  • Avoid wheatgrass or any supplements containing wheatgrass if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.3  

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

Excess amounts of wheatgrass are contraindicated while using warfarin as wheatgrass contains high levels of vitamin K.3 Therefore, consult a doctor before taking it, especially if you are on medication and/or are receiving treatment for any condition.

Also Read: Multani Mitti – Uses & Benefits

Frequently Asked Questions: 

How is wheatgrass obtained? 

Wheatgrass is the young shoot of Triticum aestivum, also known as wheat, and belongs to the family Poaceae.1,2

Is wheatgrass good for overall health? 

The juice of wheatgrass, also known as ”green blood”, can provide you with all the nutrients required and is rich in chlorophyll, minerals, proteins, and enzymes which may help to treat various health conditions.1,2  

Is wheatgrass good for treating constipation? 

Wheatgrass contains a high magnesium level; hence, it might help keep the bowels clear. This may acts as a remedy for constipation.1,2  You must consult a doctor for better advice.

Does wheatgrass cause any side effects? 

Side effects due to wheatgrass may only occur if wheatgrass is consumed in excess quantities or if you are allergic to wheatgrass. Side effects of wheatgrass include nausea, vomiting, throat swelling, itching, and rashes.3,4 If you experience any side effect on consuming wheatgrass, you must consult the doctor who prescribed it to you immediately.

How does wheatgrass help to cure dental problems? 

Wheatgrass juice can act as a mouthwash for conditions like pyorrhoea, tooth decay, toothaches, and sore throat. Wheatgrass may be beneficial in pyorrhoea in both ways, i.e., preventive, or therapeutic.2 These effects of wheatgrass needs further studies.

Does wheatgrass juice causes inflammation? 

No, wheatgrass will not cause inflammation. In fact,  wheatgrass has an intense anti-inflammatory action, which helps to reduce pain and inflammation. This helps to increase the natural healing process in joint diseases such as osteoarthritis, gout, and fractures.2 Since the studies and evidence available here is insufficient, you must consult a doctor and consume any herb only under their supervision.

Does wheatgrass increase blood haemoglobin levels? 

Yes, wheatgrass may help increase the production of haemoglobin, a component of red blood cells that helps carry oxygen. High levels of haemoglobin can help patients with thalassemia (a blood disorder that causes your body to have lesser haemoglobin levels by normal).5  There is a need of more extensive research to validate the effect of wheatgrass in humans.

Also Read: Shikakai – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

References

1. Sunil Kumar K, Kumar SK. Pharmacognostical and preliminary chemical analysis to derive quality standards of Godhuma patra (Triticum aestivum Linn. leaf). Journal of Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicine [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2022 Feb 4];1(3):66–73. Available from: http://www.ayurvedjournal.com/JAHM_201513_03.pdf 

2. Mujoriya R, Babu Bodla KIET R. A study on wheat grass and its Nutritional value. 2011 [cited 2022 Feb 4]; Available from: www.iiste.org 

3. Kumar NS, Murali M, Nair AM, Nair AS. Green Blood Therapy of Wheat Grass-Nature’s Finest Medicine’-A Literature Review. IOSR Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences (IOSR-JPBS [Internet]. [cited 2022 Feb 4];11(2):57–64. Available from: www.iosrjournals.org 

4. DailyMed – GREEN WHEATGRASS FACIAL CLEANSING- glycerin cream [Internet]. [cited 2022 Feb 4]. Available from: https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/lookup.cfm?setid=0ae35eba-60bf-4d7d-8662-a6054a4e4c71 

5. Mutha AS, Shah KU, Kinikar AA, Ghongane BB. Efficacy and Safety of Wheat Grass in Thalassemic Children on Regular Blood Transfusion. Cureus [Internet]. 2018 Mar 11 [cited 2022 Feb 4];10(3). Available from: /pmc/articles/PMC5947926/

Also Read: Pink Himalayan Salt – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions 

Disclaimer:

The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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