There are several varieties of wheatgrass in the following plant genera: Agropyron, Elytrigia, Eremopyrum, Pascopyrum, and Pseudoroegneria. Wheatgrass is often used in vegan diets or other "living food" diets. Wheatgrass has become popularized in the United States and marketed toward the health-conscious individuals. In folk medicine, practitioners used wheatgrass to treat cystitis, gout, rheumatic pain, chronic skin disorders, and constipation.
Despite its name, wheatgrass is gluten-free and is suitable for patients with gluten intolerance. Fresh leaf buds of this plant can be crushed to create a juice or dried to make a powder. The unprocessed plant contains high levels of cellulose, which cannot be digested. Wheatgrass juice is the juice extracted from the pulp of wheatgrass and has been used as a general-purpose health tonic for several years.
Wheatgrass is a complete protein with about 30 enzymes, and it is about 70% crude chlorophyll. The chlorophyll molecule is similar in structure to hemoglobin, leading some to believe that wheatgrass helps blood flow, digestion and general detoxification of the body. However, despite wheatgrass' popularity in the United States, there are no high-quality clinical trials for wheatgrass.
Agropyron, bread wheat, bugday, cheng ping, common wheat, Elytrigia, Eremopyrum, fou mai, frumint, Gramineae (family), Hsiao mai, hui mai, hui mien, ka shih tso, lai, mai ch'ao, mai fu, mai fu tzu, man tou, mien, mien chin, mien fen, mo mo, pai mien, Pascopyrum, Poaeceae (family), Pseudoroegneria, tarwe, trigo, Triticum aestivum, Triticum hybernum, Triticum vulgar, Triticummacha, Triticummuticum, Triticumsphaerococcum, vegan diet, wheat, wheat berry, wheat grass.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Beta-thalassemia (transfusion dependent)
Evidence suggests that wheatgrass may be beneficial for patients with beta thalassemia, and decrease the number of blood transfusions needed. However, further research is needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
One study reported potential benefits of wheatgrass in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. However, further research is needed to confirm these findings.