If you’re wondering what wheatgrass is, it’s actually a chlorophyll-rich herb that’s acquired from the cotyledons of the wheat plant (Triticum aestivum).1
Although wheatgrass rose to fame quite recently, its first instance of use can be traced back 5,000 years to the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations. In particular, the Egyptians prized wheatgrass for its effects on health and vitality.
Fast forward to the 1930s, agricultural chemist Charles Schnabel’s experiments with young plants paved the way for the discovery of wheatgrass’ benefits.2
Nowadays, wheatgrass is known as a nutritious ingredient that’s added to various juice blends. Learn more about what wheatgrass, especially the organic variety, has to offer, and see how you can grow it at home.
What Does Wheatgrass Do for Your Health?
Most people know that wheatgrass is good for juicing, and as such add high amounts of this herb to juice recipes or drink wheatgrass shots on their own. However, wheatgrass is also used for medicinal purposes.
• Treat tooth decay and other dental problems
• Help cure hemorrhoids naturally
• Provide relief from common body aches and pains
• Restore the body’s ability to thrive
You can also use wheatgrass powder topically, especially since it can:5
✓ Exfoliate the skin and remove dead cells
✓ Enhance skin’s youthful glow and elasticity
✓ Inhibit acne breakouts (a paste made from wheatgrass powder and grass-fed milk could help treat acne, freckles, blackheads or whiteheads and skin tan)
✓ Help heal bruises, sores, insect bites, rashes, cuts and scrapes
✓ Soothe sunburn, boils and athlete’s foot
✓ Aid in clearing up poison ivy
✓ Potentially slow down the body’s aging process
Your hair can also benefit from wheatgrass powder, especially for relieving dandruff and dry and itchy scalp. When applying wheatgrass juice or powder topically, dab it on the affected area, or dilute and squirt onto the skin with a spray bottle. Allow the wheatgrass to soak into the skin, and rinse off after 15 to 20 minutes.6
Wheatgrass Benefits You Should Not Miss Out On
✓ Helping neutralize toxins and eliminate heavy metals and pollutants from the body
✓ Assisting in protection against carcinogens
✓ Decreasing the effects of radiation, courtesy of an enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD)
✓ Stimulating the thyroid gland
✓ Lessening over-acidity in the blood and helping restore the body’s pH balance
✓ Helping oxygenate the blood
✓ Helping regulate blood sugar levels by delaying carbohydrate absorption
✓ Reducing and eliminating general inflammation
Wheatgrass’ nutrition content is very impressive; just 2 ounces of wheatgrass juice can offer the same nutritional value as 5 pounds of raw and organic vegetables. Drinking wheatgrass juice actually allows you to reap these nutrients:
• Complete spectrum of B vitamins
• Higher vitamin A content compared to carrots and higher portions of vitamin C than oranges
• Balanced ratio of essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium and potassium
• Healthy blend of antioxidants, enzymes and phytonutrients
• Substantial amounts of polypeptides and simpler and shorter chains of amino acids
How to Grow Your Own Wheatgrass at Home
Seeing your labor come into fruition is a rewarding sight for any gardener, much more so for those who grow wheatgrass. Nevertheless, remember that patience is essential when growing wheatgrass because it’s quite time-intensive and require immense care.10
You can look at growing kits online or at a health store if you’re interested in growing wheatgrass. Start with these four items when growing wheatgrass: wheatgrass seeds, good-quality soil, tray and a suitable growing area. Here are some instructions on growing wheatgrass from The Superfoods website:11
“1. The seeds will need to be soaked for [eight to] 12 hours.
2. Next the soil must be prepared in trays and the seeds planted. The tray must be given some indirect sunlight and watered.
3. Once the grass reaches 6 to 7 inches in height, you can cut it [the stalks12] above the soil, make juice and consume it immediately.”
During its last 12 hours of growth, carefully water the plant around the edges and roots to keep it dry and prevent spoilage. Remember to cut wheatgrass above the soil, since the nutrients are concentrated here.13
Whether growing wheatgrass indoors or outdoors, remember that this plant does not need direct exposure to sunlight, as it may produce a bitter flavor. Most people would recommend harvesting wheatgrass during the jolting stage, when the plant’s flavor is at its sweetest.
A caveat of planting wheatgrass is that it can be easily contaminated with mold, often at the bottom near the soil, since the roots are tightly bound in this area. To prevent mold from growing, keep a gentle breeze blowing towards the plant, maintain humidity to a low temperature and decrease the quantity of seed to for less dense growth. Consuming moldy wheatgrass can increase your risk for sickness.
Healthy Wheatgrass Recipes You Can Easily Prepare
Raw wheatgrass can be juiced and served either on its own or combined with vegetables and fruits. However, wheatgrass powder and supplements (in tablets or capsules14) are also available. Here are two ways on how to juice wheatgrass according to Cultures for Health:15
|Using a High-Powered Blender||Using a Juicer|
1. Add prepared wheatgrass and enough water to allow the grass to liquify in the blender.
2. Blend the wheatgrass and water just long enough to liquify.
3. Pour into a clean tight-weave towel or fine-mesh strainer, set over a clean glass or bowl.
4. If using a towel, gather up the corners to make a bag.
5. Squeeze the liquid from the blended grass into the glass, being sure to get as much out as possible.
6. Discard pulp and enjoy wheat grass juice.
1. Feed the wheatgrass into the juicer and run according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
2. Capture the juice. With a manual grinder, passing the pulp through a second time can help to extract as much of the juice as possible.
Aside from drinking a big glass of wheatgrass juice, you can prepare smaller wheatgrass shots for you or your loved ones. These are ideal for those who aren’t used to the taste and texture of wheatgrass yet. Remember that when making wheatgrass juice or wheatgrass shots, add other green vegetables and moderate amounts of fruit for extra flavor. Take a look at these recipes for delicious wheatgrass juices or shots:16
• 30 ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 30 ml of fresh wheatgrass juice
1. Combine two ingredients together.
2. Follow up the shot with a warm glass of lemon water.
• Handful of fresh mint leaves
• 30 ml of fresh wheatgrass juice
• ½ teaspoon of organic peppermint extract
1. Add a few bunches of wheatgrass to juice or blender.
2. Add handful of mint.
3. Follow through with more wheatgrass.
You can also mix wheatgrass into salad dressings. For example, a wheatgrass and citrus mixture makes a refreshing blend, while combining wheatgrass with olive oil, vinegar, herbs or spices enhances the dressing’s flavor.17 People who suffer from celiac disease, gluten intolerance or wheat or grass allergies will be happy to know that wheatgrass is gluten-free. However, for it to be beneficial, the wheatgrass must be in its pure form.18
Exposing wheatgrass to equipment used to process gluten-containing items, or allowing the grasses to begin developing seeds before harvesting can result in cross-contamination, making the finished outcome possess traces of gluten and detrimental for your health.19
Common Side Effects of Wheatgrass Consumption
Although wheatgrass is generally considered safe, some people may experience side effects such as nausea, constipation or even anorexia.
Plus, those who have a wheat or grass allergy, celiac disease or gluten intolerance should consult a physician prior to consuming wheatgrass, since this could cause complications when ingested in high amounts.20 An allergen patch test may also be taken to spot potential allergies. Refrain from consuming wheatgrass every day for long periods of time as well, since it’s more of a detoxifying herb rather than a food you should eat in every sitting.
How to Store Wheatgrass
Once you’ve grown wheatgrass, store it in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Avoid rinsing the produce, and instead use a clean cloth to pat it dry and brush off excess dirt or water. Place the wheatgrass in an airtight container, tightly sealed plastic bag or a glass or plastic food container with a tight lid.21