The Benefits of Wheatgrass

What You Need to Know

Wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum) is a popular juicing ingredient made from the newly sprouted shoots of wheat grains. Rich in chlorophyll, beta carotene and antioxidants, wheatgrass is touted as a natural remedy for a number of health conditions.

Uses for Wheatgrass

In alternative medicine, proponents claim that wheatgrass offers a broad range of health benefits. For instance, wheatgrass is said to boost the immune system, aid in detox, increase energy, improve digestion, reduce cravings, preserve eyesight, promote weight loss and stimulate the thyroid.

In addition, some proponents of alternative medicine suggest that the chlorophyll found in wheatgrass can raise the body's oxygen levels and, in turn, treat or prevent cancer.

Wheatgrass is also purported to fight the following health problems:

Benefits of Wheatgrass

To date, very few studies have tested the potential health benefits of wheatgrass. What's more, there's no evidence to support the claim that chlorophyll can combat cancer.

Still, preliminary research suggests that wheatgrass may hold promise for certain health conditions. Here's a look at some key findings from the available studies:

1) Ulcerative Colitis

Wheatgrass may help ease ulcerative colitis, according to a small 2002 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. For the study, 23 patients with ulcerative colitis were given either wheatgrass juice or a placebo beverage every day for a month.

Looking at data on the 21 patients who completed the study, researchers found that treatment with wheatgrass juice significantly reduced disease activity and the severity of rectal bleeding.

2) Chemotherapy

Wheatgrass may help fight myelotoxicity caused by chemotherapy, suggests a 2007 pilot study in Nutrition and Cancer.

A potentially life-threatening condition, myelotoxicity is marked by suppression of bone marrow activity.

The study involved 60 patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Among those given a daily serving of wheatgrass juice during the first three cycles of chemotherapy, researchers observed a significant reduction in myelotoxicity. Although wheatgrass juice did not appear to interfere with the effects of chemotherapy, six patients did experience a worsening of nausea that resulted in their discontinued use of wheatgrass juice.

3) High Cholesterol

Animal-based research indicates that wheatgrass may help lower cholesterol. In a 2011 study from Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica, scientists discovered that treatment with wheatgrass juice helped reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in rats with abnormally high cholesterol levels. However, it's not known whether wheatgrass might have the same cholesterol-lowering effects in humans.


Wheatgrass may trigger certain side effects (such as nausea, headache, hives and swelling in the throat).

Since hives and a swollen throat can signal a serious allergic reaction, it's important to seek immediate medical attention if you experience either symptom after consuming wheatgrass.

The adverse effects of regular use of supplements are poorly understood. It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get further tips on using supplements here.

Where to Find It

Wheatgrass is used as an ingredient at many juice bars. In addition, natural-food stores often sell bottled juices that contain wheatgrass juice. In many natural-food stores (and in stores specializing in dietary supplements), wheatgrass is also available in tablet, capsule and powdered forms. Some stores also sell wheatgrass kits that allow you to grow your own wheatgrass.

Using Wheatgrass for Health

There is currently a lack of scientific evidence to support the use of wheatgrass as a principal standard treatment for any health problem. While drinking juices or smoothies containing wheatgrass may offer some nutritional benefits, wheatgrass should not be used as a substitute for standard treatment of any condition. If you're considering using it, make sure to talk with your doctor first.


American Cancer Society. "Wheatgrass". November 2008.

Bar-Sela G, Tsalic M, Fried G, Goldberg H. "Wheat grass juice may improve hematological toxicity related to chemotherapy in breast cancer patients: a pilot study." Nutr Cancer. 2007;58(1):43-8.

Ben-Arye E, Goldin E, Wengrower D, Stamper A, Kohn R, Berry E. "Wheat grass juice in the treatment of active distal ulcerative colitis: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial." Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 2002 37(4):444-9.

Kothari S, Jain AK, Mehta SC, Tonpay SD. "Hypolipidemic effect of fresh Triticum aestivum (wheat) grass juice in hypercholesterolemic rats." Acta Pol Pharm. 2011 Mar-Apr;68(2):291-4.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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