Wheatgrass juice, high in many nutrients, has been acclaimed for its therapeutic qualities.
Quite simply, wheatgrass is wheat that has been sprouted into a green blade –– like grass in your back yard. But unlike your lawn, wheatgrass has been touted for its therapeutic qualities. Some proponents have even used it in their battles against cancer.
The use of wheatgrass as a therapeutic tool was pioneered in this country by Ann Wigmore. In her experiments with different grains, she found that 10-day-old greens from sprouted wheat were the most popular with her animal friends. Because people couldn’t easily eat the wheatgrass, Wigmore extracted the juice (considered its most important part) using a press similar to a meat grinder. (A device we today recognize as a juicer!) The resulting juice was sweet, concentrated, and easy to digest.
Although this juice is being used and studied by more and more people, many of its effects are unproved and unaccepted by the conventions of medicine and science. Although as time goes on, some doctors are beginning to recognize its amazing properties. Notwithstanding the American Medical Association, it is generally agreed that wheatgrass functions as a blood purifier, nutritive, oxygenator, detoxifier, and enzyme food.
It contains virtually a full selection of known minerals, trace minerals, B-vitamins and proteins, plus large amounts of magnesium and chlorophyll. An abundant source of vital enzymes, it also carries nucleic acids, oxygen, plant hormones and other growth factors to the cells.
Studies have even isolated anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic factors in wheatgrass juice, in addition to high levels of selenium, vitamin E, zinc and vitamin A.
Chlorophyll, which makes up nearly 70 percent of the plant’s solid content, is perhaps its most important nutrient. Chlorophyll is essentially converted sunshine stored by green plants and has the same molecular structure as human blood. Wheatgrass probably supplies its greatest benefit here – as the blood purifier and cleansing agent for cells, tissues and organs. Even the medical establishment recognizes the dramatic benefits of chlorophyll in reducing swelling and increasing healing.
Wheatgrass has both internal and external uses. It is a natural expectorant and a perfect mouthwash and gargle for sore throat, gingivitis, and bleeding gums. Some outspoken proponents of wheatgrass are users who turned to it as a last resort in their battles against cancer and other degenerative diseases.
Wheatgrass is also a wonderful first aid for cuts, bruises, burns, swellings, topical infections, itches and other skin problems. The clarified juice can be used as eye drops to relieve strain or nose drops to reduce congestion. For skin issues, just apply a bandage using grass pulp or cotton dipped in the juice. Better yet, try one of the super-potent extract formulas developed by Dr. Wheatgrass, Chris Reynolds!
But you don’t have to be sick to use wheatgrass. Many people drink the juice to maintain good health. For a typical maintenance program, take one-ounce shots of wheatgrass once or twice per day. Mix it with water, carrot or apple juice, or take it straight. Your body may take one to three weeks to adjust to this highly concentrated cleanser. (To get an idea of how potent it can be, imagine drinking an ounce or two of garlic juice every day.) Be prepared for some stirring up of your body’s healing mechanisms during the break-in period. When taken as a therapeutic tool for a variety of chronic illnesses, larger doses are used, but it’s wise to consult a health professional before treating an illness yourself.
How to Grow Wheatgrass
To obtain wheatgrass, you can either grow it indoors yourself or buy wheatgrass juice capsules or fresh wheatgrass. To grow it yourself, try Sproutman®’s Multi-Level Wheatgrass Grower specially designed to grow wheatgrass with or without soil. You need organic wheatgrass sprouting seed to get started.
Soak the wheat in water for 8-12 hours, then drain the water and spread the wheat evenly in one layer on the tray. Lightly mist the seed and cover with the dark lid. The lid allows the seedlings to incubate in a wet, dark environment with good aeration. Mist as necessary to keep the seed moist. Soon the wheat will begin to sprout and to grow like grass. When the grass is one inch tall, remove the dark lid, and switch to the taller, clear version. Water once or twice daily. Use the included spray bottle, or the shower mode on your sink faucet. But be gentle, and don’t overwater.
The easiest way to obtain the juice is to use a wheatgrass juice extractor. Traditional centrifugal juicers should not be used because they destroy the value of the juice; also, wheatgrass can actually harm these machines. (You can’t use a blender either, since that doesn’t extract the juice. Learn about blenders vs. juicers here.) A hand-cranking juicer costs about $150 and is perfect for people who desire two or three ounces of wheatgrass per day. People who want more than two or three ounces per day or who are unable to crank may prefer the motorized extractors. (Most cost $260 and up.) These machines churn the grass at a slow, non-oxidizing speed and are built to last.
Wheatgrass is becoming so popular that it has joined the pill-popping ranks of American consumerism. Tablets and capsules are now available in most natural food stores, but buyer beware. Many wheatgrass tablets are simply compressed wheatgrass and not the juice extract. (But not Sproutman brand!) This kind of tablet is primarily a source of fiber and does not have the unique qualities of wheatgrass juice. Instead, look for wheatgrass juice capsules or powder, available from both wheat and barley. These are made from outdoor-grown grasses, which are considered superior to indoor-grown grasses. (Barley grass has slightly more protein and chlorophyll than wheatgrass but, as a fresh grass, wheatgrass is better tasting and easier to grow.)
Fresh wheatgrass is available in many natural food stores, which make the juice or sell the fresh grass. A few vendors even ship fresh grass directly to the home, anywhere, in specially refrigerated packages. That means even if you live in Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico, you can get fresh wheatgrass. Wonderful! (But beware of high-shipping cost. You may be better off with capsules.)
Another packaging of wheatgrass is in the form of frozen juice, and it’s fabulous! You purchase a fifty-day supply of freshly squeezed, flash-frozen grass juice, and all you do is mix with room temperature water to defrost and drink up. Frozen juice is reportedly 85 percent as potent as fresh (that is plenty strong) and is hassle-free –– no investment in equipment, growing or materials. Unlike fresh grass, which yellows after seven to 10 days, frozen juice keeps in your freezer for up to a year. Frozen juice is shipped direct from vendors and is also available from many natural food stores that previously were not able to carry the fresh grass. Again, the fresh, powdered or frozen juice can be mixed with water or juices, such as carrot or apple.
It may be time for you to start a daily wheatgrass regimen. Use it faithfully for at least three months before judging results. Wheatgrass is not a panacea or magic potion, but it is surely one of nature’s finest natural medicines.