Definition from the Columbia Encyclopedia:
wheat grass - any plant of the genus Agropyron, cool-season perennials of the family Gramineae (grass family). Species of wheat grass, both native and introduced, are important range forage grasses in the prairie states. Wheat grasses are also valuable for revegetation because of their drought resistance and winter hardiness. Important species are the crested wheat grass (A. cristatum), introduced from N Russia, and the native Western wheat grass (A. smithii). The weed quack grass also I belongs to this genus. Wheat grass is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Cyperales, family Gramineae.
Let me start by saying that wheatgrass juice is definitely an acquired taste. I haven't yet met anyone that was crazy in love with it after their first shot. I used to question the stability of any person that was too enthusiastic about drinking any type of grass juice.
The smell of freshly squeezed wheat- grass has always reminded me of a newly mowed lawn, which I must say has never inspired me to pick up the trimmings and have a taste. It actually took me the better part of a year, drinking it twice daily, before I could honestly say I enjoyed it. I know some people that have been using it for years and still practically gag when they throw down an ounce or two. Regardless of which way your taste buds have chosen to go on the unique taste issue, it‘s impossible to deny the health and nutritional superiority of this marvelous plant.
I’ve been a believer in the health benefits of wheatgrass for many years now. That belief and my conversations with many like-minded people here at Hippocrates has given me an above average knowledge (l thought) of this amazing elixir. However, upon doing a bit of research for this article I found out how much I didn’t know (well, can we ever really know how much we don’t know?). There is so much information available today on the internet that it can boggle the mind to the point of downright confusion. So I’ve put together a fairly comprehensive package of everything you need to know about wheatgrass, which may even be more than you really want to know..
Wheatgrass is grown from the Red Wheat Berry, a special strain of wheat that produces high concentrations of chlorophyll, antioxidants, active enzymes, vitamins, vital amino acids and other nutrients. It is one of the most nutrient dense substances on Earth, packed with essential fatty acids and chlorophyll (which we will take an indepth look at momentarily). Wheat grass is a lush green plant that will eventually become a shaft of wheat, produce grain and be harvested. It has a completely different structure when it is still in the grass stage. At only seven days, the blade is 6 to 9 inches tall and can be cut, juiced and consumed or dried into leaf powder, which can be tableted or capsulated (not recommended).
It appears that modem human consumption of wheatgrass for its health benefits began in the 1930s with the attempts of Charles F Schnabel, a former feed mill chemist, to popularize the plant He started a movement that made grasses available for both livestock and human consumption. In the early l940’s, you could buy ‘tins” of Schnabel’s dry grass powder in pharmacies all across North America.
Dr. Schnabel also discovered that grass achieves its peak nutrition when grown to the jointing stage. This is the point when the plant stops being a vegetable and starts reproducing. Immediately after jointing, there is a dramatic decline in nutrient content. Scientists of that day. found that animals could survive on grass alone but, in contrast, failed on other healthy vegetables like spinach and carrots. At that time Schnabel applied for a patent for a ‘feed’ product made from young grass shoots of wheat, barley and rye crops to be used as a dietary supplement which provided unique health benefits from the chlorophyll.
Schnabel studied many aspects of growth and nutrition associated with cereal grasses. He found that some soils were not suitable for providing high quality cereal grasses, and that the nutrients provided by these green plants varied with the stage of growth of the grasses. He gave the dehydrated grasses, an economical and practical food supplement to his family of seven. As reported in the Buffalo Courier Express, none of his children ever had a serious illness or a decayed tooth.
Any article on wheatgrass should acknowledge Ann Wigmore’s intuitive brilliance in recognizing and utilizing the full potential of the wheat sprout, as well as many other green plants, and their ability to capture the sun’s energy and transfer it along with other vitamins and minerals, to the human body.
She began to popularize wheatgrass as a juice beginning in the 1940s after she concluded that it contributed to the remission of her cancer. She initiated a study of natural healing modalities - and with the help of a friend, Dr. Earp Thomas, she found that there are 4700 varieties of grass in the world and all are good for human health. With the help of her pets, she arrived at the conclusion that wheatgrass was the best for a medicinal grass. She started an institute in Boston (The Hippocrates Wellness) and taught people from all over the world about the grasses and the living food healing program — helping them get well from some very serious diseases. She wrote 35 books telling about wheatgrass and living foods.
In one of these books she tells this story of her early discoveries. “ I planted seeds from grasses all over the world, and only seven grasses qualified for quality: rye, timothy, broome, wheat, canary, alfalfa and buckwheat. I arranged my seven small pots of grass, and into the room I placed a small kitten. The kitten sniffed each grass before choosing the wheatgrass to chew. But I wanted more proof and borrowed a little cooker spaniel. Like the kitten it too chose the wheatgrass. There could be no doubt; wheatgrass was the grass I sought. I tested the wheatgrass juice on my own body and on my friends and animals. We felt new energy and alertness. At the end of a few weeks, chicks receiving the wheatgrass had grown twice as large as their co-boms.”
She was convinced that she had stumbled upon a virtual “Fountain of Youth". At 76 years of age she had this to say about her findings “Twenty- five years after my discovery, my hair has turned fully naturally brown again. My weight has been a stable 119 (the same as it was in my youth), and my energy level is limitless. For the past ten years I have required an average of only four hours of sleep a night and I haven't needed the services of a physician in years. My work has taken me all over the world on many demanding tours, sometimes for months at a time. Yet, I have more energy than I can ever remember having as a child - and I am no child at 76. What I have discovered can help you, too. But instead of taking my word for it, examine what I have to say carefully, and then if you are so inclined, try it for yourself.”
Wheatgrass juice is a powerful cleanser and may start an immediate reaction with toxins and mucus in the stomach and the chlorophyll will bring toxins stored away in cells or in fatty tissue into the bloodstream, all of which could result in nausea. That is why it’s advisable to start with 1/2 - 1 oz and work up to 1-2 ounces. It is best to drink wheatgrass on an empty stomach and not eat anything for 20 - 30 minutes afterward. As with all juices, the closer to fresh the better, ideally being consumed within 15 minutes from the time it is made.
Following is a list of all of the purported claims various alternative health professionals have made over the years, or at least as many as space will allow. lf you have discovered any not discussed here, please let us know and we will happily pass that information on to our readers. You may also want to read The Wheatgrass Book by Ann Wigmore, available from the Hippocrates store. ln it she goes into much detail about wheatgrass , juicing and the living food diet.
Interesting Facts about Wheatgrass and Its Nutritional Qualities or 50 Reasons Why I Drink Wheatgrass
1. Wheatgrass Juice is one of the best sources of living chlorophyll available today. However, to get the full benefit, the chlorophyll must come fresh from a living plant.
2. Wheatgrass juice contains up to 70% chlorophyll, which is an important blood builder. The chlorophyll molecules closely resemble that of the hemin molecule, the pigment which combines with protein to form hemoglobin. The major difference is the chlorophyll molecule contains magnesium as it’s central atom, and the hemin molecule contains iron. The molecular structure of these two substances is almost identical in all other respects.
3. Chlorophyll is the molecule that absorbs sunlight and uses its energy to synthesize carbohydrates from CO2 and water. This process is known as photosynthesis, a complex biochemical pathway in which solar energy is used to convert water and carbon dioxide to glucose and other carbohydrates, and is the basis for sustaining the life processes of all plants. Since animals and most humans obtain their food supply by eating plants, photosynthesis can be said to be the source of our life also.
4. Chlorophyll contains enzymes and super- oxide dismutase, a copper-containing protein found in mature red blood cells. This enzyme decomposes superoxide radicals in the body into a more manageable form, thereby helping to slow down the aging process.
5. Chlorophyll is the first product of light and, therefore, contains more light energy than any other food element. 6. Wheatgrass juice contains crude chlorophyll (as opposed to pure) and can be taken orally and as a colon implant without side effects. In addition, scientists have never found wheatgrass to be toxic in any amount when given to either animals or humans.
7. Science has proven that chlorophyll arrests growth and development of unfriendly bacteria.
8. Chlorophyll is antibacterial and can be used inside and outside the body as a natural healer. The United States Army exposed guinea pigs to lethal doses of radiation. The guinea pigs fed chlorophyll-rich vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli had half the mortality rate as those fed a non-chlorophyll diet.
9. Chlorophyll can be extracted from many plants, but wheatgrass is superior because it has been found to have over 100 elements needed by man. If grown in organic soil, it absorbs 92 of the known 115 minerals from the soil.
10. Liquid chlorophyll has the ability to get into the tissue, where it can actually refine and renew them.
11. The bland soothing effect of chlorophyll (wheatgrass) ointments are very beneficial to the treatment of various skin diseases involving the outer and underlying layers of the skin, including: itching and burning of the rectum; ivy poisoning; weeping and dry eczema and even in conditions caused by insect bites or infection.
12. Doctors R. Redpath and J. C. Davis found chlorophyll packs inserted into the sinuses had a drying effect, clearing up congestion, and giving immediate relief. Congested head colds were cleared up within 24 hours.
17. In the American Journal of Surgery (1940), Benjamin Gruskin, M.D. recommends chlorophyll for its antiseptic benefits. The article suggests the following clinical uses for chlorophyll: to clear up foul smelling odors, neutralize Strep infections, heal wounds, hasten skin grafting, T cure chronic sinusitis, overcome chronic innerear inflammation and infection, reduce varicose veins and heal leg ulcers, eliminate impetigo and other scabby eruptions, heal rectal sores, successfully treat inflammation of the uterine cervix, get rid of parasitic vaginal infections, reduce typhoid fever, and cure advanced pyorrhea in many cases.
18. Dr. Birscher, a research scientist, called chlorophyll "concentrated sun power." He said, "chlorophyll increases the function of the heart, affects the vascular system, the intestines, the uterus, and the lungs.”
19. Wheatgrass juice can dissolve the scars that are formed in the lungs from breathing acid gasses. The effect of carbon monoxide is minimized since chlorophyll increases hemoglobin production.
20. Wheatgrass is high in oxygen like all green plants that contain chlorophyll. This is beneficial because the brain and all body tissues function at an optimal level in a highly- oxygenated environment.
21. It is a nutritionally complete food which will sustain the growth and development of laboratory animals and humans alike. Wheatgrass has what is called the grass-juice factor, which has been shown to keep herbivorous animals alive practically indefinitely.
22. Wheatgrass juice is a superior detoxification agent compared to carrot juice and other fruits and vegetables.
23. The starch of the wheat berry is stored energy which when converted to simpler sugars is a quick energy source. It is especially good for athletes because it is a juice and is assimilated in 20 minutes or less, and uses very little of the body’s energy to extract the nutrients..
24. Because 1 ounce of juice equals 2 pounds of produce nutritionally, it naturally shuts off the appestat in the brain.
25. Wheatgrass contains a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, including the thirteen essential ones, combined with dozens of trace elements and enzymes.
26. Wheatgrass juice is an effective healer because it contains all minerals known to man, and vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, l and K. It is extremely rich in protein, and contains 17 amino acids, the building blocks of protein.
27. Farmers in the Midwest who have sterile cows and bulls put them on wheatgrass to restore fertility. (The high magnesium content in chlorophyll builds enzymes that restore the sex hormones.)
28. Wheatgrass juice cures acne and even help to remove scars after it has been ingested for seven to eight months. The diet, of course, must be improved at the same time.
29. Wheatgrass juice acts as a detergent in the body and can be used as a body deodorant.
30. A small amount of wheatgrass juice in the human diet helps prevents tooth decay.
31. Wheatgrass juice held in the mouth for 5 minutes will help eliminate toothaches. It pulls poisons from the gums.
33. Drink wheatgrass juice for skin problems such as eczema or psoriasis.
35. Pyorrhea of the mouth: lay pulp of wheatgrass soaked in juice on diseased area in mouth or chew wheatgrass, spitting out the pulp.
37. Wheatgrass juice is an excellent skin cleanser and can be absorbed through the skin for nutrition. Pour green juice over your body in a tub of warm water and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse off with cold water.
38. Wheatgrass implants (enemas) are great for healing and detoxifying the colon walls. The implants also heal and cleanse the internal organs. After an enema is evacuated, implant 4 ounces of wheatgrass juice. Retain for 20 minutes.
39. Wheatgrass juice improves arthritis. Soak a cotton sock with 6 ounces and place on affected area, cover with plastic bag.
40. For minor eye irritation apply strained wheatgrass juice mixed with half pure water in an eyecup for 15 - 30 seconds.
41. Massage 6 ounces into the scalp and cover with shower cap for 15 minutes to help eliminate dandruff.
42. Wheatgrass juice can be used as a douche for many feminine complications.
43. Wheatgrass juice is great for constipation and keeping the bowels open because it is high in magnesium.
46. Wheatgrass juice is great for blood disorders of all kinds.
47. Another benefit of wheatgrass is you can grow it in just about a weeks, right in your own home.
48. Wheatgrass is gluten- free because it’s cut before the grain forms.
49. Dr. Earp Thomas said, "Wheat is the king of all grain foods". He found that an ounce of wheatgrass in a gallon of fluoridated water would turn the fluorine into harmless calcium-phosphate-fluoride compound. Used in wash water it adds softness to the face and hands. In the bath, it is most soothing. It stops bleeding, eases itching, and helps sores and pimples to heal. Dr. Thomas further discovered that fruits and vegetables contaminated by sprays were thoroughly cleaned and the negative food transformed by wash water with a wisp of wheatgrass placed in the water.
50. And Finally - By taking wheatgrass juice, one may feel an increase in strength and endurance, renewed health and spirituality, and experience an overall sense of well-being.
And after all, isn’t that something we’re all looking for?
Nutritional Facts ( This particular analysIs was performed by Irvine Analytical Laboratories. Inc on 100grams (2 Boz ) of wheatgrass Juice )
Vol 28 Issue 3 Page 20