Scientific Wheatgrass Research
There is lots of theoretical benefit to be had from wheatgrass, but where is the evidence that it actually works? This is a new page on the site, but hopefully one that will grow as more research is conducted. This page is an exhaustive summary of wheatgrass research I found via PubMed and Medline. There has been depressingly little medical investigation into wheatgrass juice and it's benefits. If you know of any other or indeed if you are conducting some, please get in touch. I would love to add it to this page. One thing is absolutely clear: we need more wheatgrass research.
1. Wheatgrass Juice and Ulcerative Colitis
Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, Vol 37:4, 1 April 2002 , pp. 444-449
Web Reference 21 patient Israeli single centre study suggests that 100ml/day (about 3 shots) of freshly juiced wheatgrass for one month significantly reduced the severity of ulcerative colitis symptoms. The authors report a 4-fold reduction in symptoms as compared with placebo. There were no adverse effects.
At first glance it seems like a reasonable well designed study for its size: double-blind, placebo controlled. There were a couple of problems. There was a loss to follow up and the analysis was based on participants completing the study rather than those intended to treat. The outcome measures: symptom scale and colonoscopy appearance, seem reasonable. The nature of the placebo was not discussed. I wonder how well the study could have been blinded, wheatgrass has a very distinctive flavour. Overall this study is promising. I would love to see a bigger follow up trial.
2. Wheatgrass Juice and Thalassemia Major
Indian Pediatrics, Vol 41, 17 July 2004 , pp. 716-720
Download PDF This study in the journal 'Indian Pediatrics' (yes that is the way they spell it) took 38 young patients with Thalasemia Major and gave them 100ml/day of fresh wheatgrass juice. That is equivalent to just over 3 shots of wheatgrass juice the way we serve it. They followed up the patients after 1 year and found that there was a dramatic reduction in the need for blood transfusion (50% of patients) compared with the proceeding year.
The sad news is that in addition to the small size, the study had some profound methodological floors. There was no blinding and there was no comparison with placebo. There was a high drop out rate: only 16 of the 38 patients made it to follow up. Children that needed spleinectomy were excluded from the results. There is no valid justification for the exclusion and the result would have been a strong positive bias. There are more faults. Unfortunately, I don't think we can conclude anything from this study. Take a look for yourself and make up your own mind.
3. Raw Vegan Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis
British Journal of Rheumatology 1998;37:274–281
Download PDF A bit of a digression from wheatgrass juice, but very interesting nevertheless. We actually started looking for wheatgrass in rheumatoid arthritis research after hearing the story of a new customer of ours. She suffered from severe arthritis and was bed-bound for months. fed up with her progress she decided to give up the medication and steroids and turned to wheatgrass juice. She swears that it was the intake of the wheatgrass that got her legs moving again. She is now on our frozen wheatgrass. We look forward to seeing how she gets on with it and hopefully get some more feedback.
Unfortunately, we didn't find any pure wheatgrass articles and instead found this paper which we thought was worth sharing. The did include chlorophyll-rich drinks in their intervention arm of the trial. The bottom line: raw, lactobacilli-rich, vegan food seems to reduce symptom severity in rheumatoid arthritis.