Wheatgrass

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What other names is Wheatgrass known by?

Agropyre, Blé en Herbe, Bread Wheat, Brote del Trigo, Common Wheat, Frumentum triticum E.H.L.Krause, Grano, Herbe de Blé, Triticum aestivum, Triticum sativum, Wheat, Wheat Grass.

What is Wheatgrass?

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; improve blood sugar disorders, such as diabetes; prevent tooth decay; improve wound healing; and prevent bacterial infections.

It is also taken by mouth to remove deposits of drugs, heavy metals, and cancer-causing agents from the body; and to remove toxins from the liver and blood.

Some people take wheatgrass by mouth to prevent gray hair, reduce high blood pressure, improve digestion, and lower cholesterol by blocking its absorption.

Wheatgrass is also taken by mouth to treat various disorders of the urinary tract, including infection of the bladder, urethra, and prostate; benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH); kidney stones; and in "irrigation therapy," the use of a mild diuretic along with lots of fluids to increase urine flow.

Other uses include treatment of respiratory tract complaints, including the common cold, cough, bronchitis, fever, and sore throat; tendency toward infection; gout; liver disorders; ulcerative colitis; joint pain; and chronic skin problems.

Wheatgrass is used for cancer and arthritis in alternative treatment programs. Wheatgrass contains a lot of chlorophyll, the chemical in plants that makes them green and also allows them to make energy from sunlight through photosynthesis. Some people think chlorophyll might fight cancer and arthritis.

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.

Wheatgrass cream is applied to the bottom of the feet to treat heel pain.

In foods and beverages, wheatgrass extracts are used as a flavoring component.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Blood disorder called beta-thalassemia. Early research suggests that drinking wheatgrass juice daily for 18 months can reduce the need for blood transfusions in children with a blood disorder called beta-thalassemia.
  • 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 evidence that freshly extracted wheatgrass juice might reduce overall disease activity and the severity of rectal bleeding in people with ulcerative colitis.
  • Reducing cholesterol.
  • Anemia.
  • Diabetes.
  • Cancer.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Preventing tooth decay.
  • Wound healing.
  • Preventing infections.
  • Removing drugs, metals, toxins, and cancer-causing substances from the body.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of wheatgrass for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Wheatgrass work?

Wheatgrass contains chemicals that might have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory (swelling) activity, which is why some people think it might be helpful for ulcerative colitis. It also contains a chemical that seems to kill bacterial infections.

Are there safety concerns?

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.

Dosing considerations for Wheatgrass.

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.

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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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