The cereal grasses – wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa – (all of which have similar properties) have been studied since the early part of the century. These have been used with exceptional results to boost health and vitality both of people and animals.
In 1931, a food scientist called Charles Schnabel was experimenting to find a mixture which would boost chicken health and egg production. Eventually, he found that a mixture of greens containing a large amount of wheat grass boosted health in the chickens very significantly. He said that “even a child can see the bloom of health in the grass-fed hens”.
In addition, winter egg production went up by 150% per bird! Research continued, and further remarkable results were noted. For example, cereal grasses were found to improve reproductive ability, and milk production – two markers of good health.
Wheat grass and other cereal grasses were used widely as a supplement, until the booming pharmaceutical industry, with its chemical vitamins, grabbed the public’s attention. Multi-vitamins became the products of choice – even though their results were not as good as from wheat grass. Science was king!
In the 1960’s, Ann Wigmore ‘re-discovered’ wheat grass, curing her own ‘untreatable’ colitis in the process. She gave wheat grass to several sick neighbours – all of whom recovered and were rejuvenated! She went on to champion wheat grass in her own ‘Hippocrates Health Institute’, treating and curing many people of serious health conditions.
The properties of wheat grass
Wheat grass has many remarkable properties. So many that if you are thinking of taking one herbal supplement with your diet, wheat grass must be one of the front runners.
Wheat grass has only about 10-15 calories per teaspoon. It has no fat or cholesterol. It has nearly a gram of protein per teaspoon, and includes all eight of the essential amino acids, as well as 13 of the remaining 16. The amino acids it doesn’t contain are easily made within the body.
It contains Vitamins A, B1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 12; C, E and K. A teaspoon of wheat grass contains around 15mg of Calcium, 8mcg Iodine, 3.5mcg Selenium, 870mcg Iron, 62mcg Zinc, and many other minerals.
There are four other special components of wheat grass, which make it particularly valuable.
These – not in any particular order – are:
- Superoxide Dismutase (SOD)
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) in wheat grass (an anti-cancer factor)
There are three enzymes known to have significant anti-oxidant activity. One of these is superoxide dismutase (SOD), which is present in wheat grass.
It has been found that cancerous cells have a deficiency or a complete lack of SOD. So, if you supplement your diet with wheat grass you will almost certainly be helping your body to avoid, or deal with, cancerous conditions. Anti-oxidants have the ability to mop up free radicals and so reduce or avoid cell mutation. Mutation is part of the first stage of cancer formation.
This is an extremely important factor – because cancer is the biggest killer after heart disease in the Western world.
Not a miracle – but part of a sensible approach
Of course, this is not to say; ‘Eat wheat grass and your cancer will go away’ – that is not true. But if I had cancer, I’m sure I’d be eating wheat grass as part of my daily routine. And I’d recommend you take it every day now, for maintenance of good health – and to help avoid any cancerous tendencies.
The wheat grass should, of course, be only a supplement – to a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle. It is not a substitute for these things!
Just what are these ‘anti-oxidants’ we hear so much about these days – such as superoxide dismutase?
During normal metabolism (i.e. activity of the cells) our body produces waste products with active atoms attached – looking for something to combine with. These are ‘free radicals’.
Free radicals do not stay in existence for long – because they are so active. In other words, they want to combine with something – fast. In fact, unchecked, they can cause havoc – and they produce degenerative changes.
These degenerative changes include:
Cell mutations – which can lead to cancer and aging processes – such as the dreaded wrinkles!
And can include illnesses such as:
The more anti-oxidants we have in our system, the faster the free radicals can be safely de-activated.
So, anti-oxidants are an ‘anti-aging’ and health-promoting influence. They reduce cell mutations, artery damage, skin wrinkles, and other changes indicative of aging.
For more on nutrition and free radicals, see:
Back to the story…
This is a ‘gluco-protein’ present in wheat grass, which has three main properties:
- To stimulate the renewal of RNA and DNA- meaning the deterioration and mutation of cells is slowed down or avoided.
- To reduce inflammation in conditions such as arthritis.
- It is thought to help the body fight cancer cells.
These are a combination of complex and simple sugars which appear to stimulate the body’s repair mechanisms. Enhancing these mechanisms is important, because the body is constantly repairing and replacing damaged cells. If you can do this better, it means you will ‘age’ better. Muco-polysaccharides appear to have a particular affinity to help repair damaged heart and artery tissue.
Spirulina also contains muco-polysaccharides, by the way; it is these which form the cell walls of spirulina, rather than the much tougher cellulose, which normally forms the cell walls of plants.
Chlorophyll is the remarkable substance to which we all owe our lives. This is because chlorophyll has the ability to capture the sun’s energy and lock it into plants in such a way that we can use it to sustain our own lives.
Chemically, chlorophyll is almost identical to haemoglobin – the substance which transports oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of the body. Out of about 50 atoms in the compound, only two are different. The main difference is that at the centre of chlorophyll there is a magnesium ion; whereas haemoglobin has iron in the same place.
The action of chlorophyll is so important, that two Nobel prizes were awarded for research on the compound.
Chlorophyll’s health properties were observed as early as 1950, when Offen Krantz reported the healing of long standing peptic ulcers after the application of chlorophyll.
The benefits of chlorophyll fall into three main categories, purifying, anti-inflammatory, and renewal.
- Purifying: Chlorophyll has an anti-bacterial effect on wounds, and an anti-yeast effect in the digestive tract. It appears to counteract many toxins in the body.
- Inflammation: It has the effect of reducing inflammation. Thus it can be used to help counteract the effects of arthritis, stomach ulcers, colitis, sore throats, and other inflammatory conditions.
- Nourishing: It builds blood – after all, it is almost identical to haemoglobin (see above); it helps promote intestinal flora, and assists liver cleansing.
There is some more information on chlorophyll at:
Wheat grass is a very effective cleansing herb, which means that it may produce cleansing reactions in the body fairly easily. This is basically good! But it may be uncomfortable. So if you are not used to it, start off slowly!
The sort of cleansing reactions which may occur include headaches and nausea. Just don’t take too much at first, and you will avoid such problems.
If you would like to know more about wheat grass, and perhaps to cultivate your own grass at home, an interesting source book is to be found at:
Ann Wigmore’s site – set up by followers of her methods – is at:
As at May 2000 Ann Wigmore’s site is at the early stages of construction, but it is interesting to see some information about the famed Ann who, very unfortunately, died when her premises were destroyed by fire