What Are the Health Benefits of Wheatgrass?

Wheatgrass is a grass that is closely related to wheat. It is a thick, dry grass that looks like hay or straw. It has played a role in natural and holistic medicine for generations.

Wheatgrass is harvested early in its development before it reaches full size — usually 7-10 days after sprouting. Grown primarily to make hay, or for animals to graze, wheatgrass may also offer several health benefits.

Wheatgrass is sometimes called “green blood” because it contains high levels of chlorophyll that gives wheatgrass products an unusual green hue.

Fast facts on wheatgrass:

  • Wheatgrass first became popular in the United States in the 1930s.
  • Wheatgrass must be processed before being consumed.
  • Some studies suggest that wheatgrass can improve health.
  • There is no evidence that wheatgrass poses health risks unless a person is allergic to it.

What is wheatgrass?

wheatgrass and wheatgrass drink

Wheatgrass has a number of health benefits and first became popular in the United States in the 1930s.

In the 1930s, agricultural chemist Charles F. Schnabel used young grasses to try to save dying chickens. The chickens survived and produced more eggs than other hens.

Quaker Oats and other companies began funding research into the benefits, and soon wheatgrass supplements, juices, and powders were widely available. Proponents of wheatgrass say that it is dense in plant nutrients that can improve health and offer supplemental nutrition.

When people consume the raw grass, they usually do so as part of a juice. Powdered wheatgrass is also available in capsules, liquid suspensions, or as a powder to add to smoothies.

Benefits of wheatgrass

Some of the benefits of wheatgrass include:

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory

Wheatgrass can be used to help relieve stomach pain and improve symptoms of other gastrointestinal problems.

Some studies have shown that wheatgrass acts as an antioxidant because of it contains vitamins A, C, and E.

Antioxidants reverse the effects of free radicals. These volatile compounds in the body have links to aging and other health issues, including cancer. Antioxidants help fight chronic inflammation, which occurs when the immune system reacts to particular health issues, such as arthritis, stomach problems, skin issues. Antioxidants might even help with mental health concerns, such as depression.

Many health benefits of wheatgrass may be due to its role as an antioxidant. So it may offer benefits similar to many other plant-based foods.

Cancer prevention and treatment

Like other antioxidants, wheatgrass may help prevent cancer. It could also supplement traditional cancer treatments. A 2017 study found that wheatgrass could slow the growth of oral cancer.

Other studies have reached similar conclusions. A 2015 study, for example, found that wheatgrass slowed the growth of colon cancer and caused some cancer cells to die.

Wheatgrass may also improve the effects of chemotherapy. One study has found wheatgrass can reduce side effects associated with chemotherapy.

Fighting infections

Some research has found that wheatgrass can kill or slow the growth of certain infections. This can be especially helpful in the treatment of infections that are resistant to antibiotics, or in people who are allergic to specific antibiotics.

2015 study carried out in a test tube found that wheatgrass has antimicrobial properties that can fight certain types of strep infections, as well as some forms of a bacteria called LactobacillusLactobacillus bacteria play a role in many infections, including dental infections.

Treating gastrointestinal distress

Practitioners of traditional medicine have long used wheatgrass to reduce stomach pain and manage minor gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea.

The purported gastrointestinal benefits of wheatgrass may be partially due to its fiber content. Wheatgrass is gluten-free, making it a good option for people with gluten intolerance.

Some research suggests that wheatgrass may be particularly useful in treating ulcerative colitis. Compared to a placebo, wheatgrass appears to reduce pain and other symptoms in some people.

For people who do not see improvements using traditional medications, wheatgrass might be an alternative remedy.

Preventing and treating diabetes

Research has found that wheatgrass may benefit those with diabetes. A 2014 study on rats, for example, found that wheatgrass could raise insulin levels, helping to lower blood glucose. By fighting inflammation, wheatgrass may also help reduce the side effects of diabetes.

Preliminary research points to the power of wheatgrass to fight obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes and can intensify the adverse health effects of diabetes.

Nutritional breakdown

In addition to the health benefits, wheatgrass offers a number of nutrients that are essential as part of a balanced diet.

Though low in calories, wheatgrass is a good source of protein. It is not, however, a complete protein. Like most plant-based foods, wheatgrass is an excellent source of fiber, which can help reduce blood glucose. Wheatgrass can also support healthy digestion and help people feel full for longer than they usually would.

Wheatgrass is a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, and of vitamin B6, zinc, iron, selenium, and manganese.

Risks

People who are allergic to other grasses may also be allergic to wheatgrass. Likewise, due to cross-contamination and cross-pollination, it is possible for wheatgrass to contain the pollen of other plants.

People with plant allergies should consult a doctor before trying wheatgrass.

Side effects

Some people experience nausea or constipation after consuming wheatgrass, perhaps due to its high fiber content. People with a history of constipation should talk to a doctor before trying wheatgrass.

Sometimes, the raw form of wheatgrass is contaminated by mold or bacteria. If preparing wheatgrass at home, wash it thoroughly to remove contaminants before using.

When consuming wheatgrass supplements, buy only from a trusted source. Consider contacting the manufacturer to ask what steps it takes to reduce the risk of contamination.

Wheatgrass taste and ideas for consumption

Wheatgrass tastes like grass, and it can overpower other flavors.

How to make it taste better

Mixing raw wheatgrass in a smoothie can still produce a drink that tastes like something out of a lawnmower. But combining wheatgrass with other ingredients that have a strong taste, such as pineapple or citrus fruit, can help balance the flavor.

Ways to consume wheatgrass

vegetable and fruit juices

Including citrus fruit or pineapple in a wheatgrass drink can help to improve the taste.

Some people prefer to take powdered wheatgrass in capsule form. This almost eliminates the taste and can make it easier to get a daily dose of the grass.

A few wheatgrass supplement manufacturers offer flavored wheatgrass capsules or tablets that include citrus fruits or other dominant flavors.

For people who prefer not to experiment with smoothie or juice recipes, these may offer a tasty solution.

Also,

Many studies on the benefits of wheatgrass have produced promising results but have not been well designed. This means it is not possible to know for sure whether wheatgrass can treat or prevent any specific medical condition.

Because most people tolerate wheatgrass well, it is safe to use alongside other treatments. Nobody should take wheatgrass as a substitute for medical treatment. To test the benefits of wheatgrass, try a daily wheatgrass smoothie or supplement.

As research evolves, it may become clear that wheatgrass is an effective medical treatment for other medical conditions. For now, however, the research is inconclusive.

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CBD Oil: Uses, Health Benefits

Cannabidiol oil is used for health purposes, but it is controversial. There is some confusion about what it is, and its effect on the human body.

Cannabidiol (CBD) may have some health benefits, but there may also be some risks.

What is CBD oil?

CBD is the name of a compound found in the cannabis plant. It is one of the numerous compounds found in the plant that is called cannabinoids. Researchers have been looking at the potential therapeutic uses of CBD.

Oils that contain concentrations of CBD are known as CBD oil, but the concentration and uses of different oils vary.

Is CBD marijuana?

Cannabis plant
CBD oil is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant.

Until recently, the most well-known compound in cannabis was delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the most active ingredient in marijuana.

Marijuana contains both THC and CBD, but the compounds have different effects.

THC is well-known for the mind-altering “high” it produces when broken down by heat and introduced to the body, such as when smoking the plant or cooking it into foods.

CBD is not psychoactive. This means that it does not change the state of mind of the person who uses it. However, it does appear to produce significant changes in the body, and it may have medical benefits.

Most of the CBD used medicinally is found in the least processed form of the cannabis plant, known as hemp.

Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant, cannabis Sativa, but they are very different.

Over the years, marijuana farmers have selectively bred their plants to be very high in THC and other compounds that interested them, either for a smell or an effect they had on the plant’s flowers.

On the other hand, hemp farmers have not tended to modify the plant. It is these hemp plants that are used to create CBD oil.

How CBD works

All cannabinoids, including CBD, attach themselves to certain receptors in the body to produce their effects.

The human body produces certain cannabinoids on its own. It has two receptors for cannabinoids, called CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.

CB1 receptors are found all over the body, but many of them are in the brain.

The CB1 receptors in the brain deal with coordination and movement, pain, emotions, and mood, thinking, appetite, and memories, among others. THC attaches to these receptors.

CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system. They have an effect on inflammation and pain.

It used to be thought that CBD acts on these CB2 receptors, but it appears now that CBD does not act on either receptor directly. Instead, it seems to influence the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.

Potential health benefits

Because of the way that CBD acts in the body, it has many potential uses. CBD oil is taken orally, rubbed on the skin, and sometimes inhaled through vapor or used intravenously to produce its effects.

Natural pain relief or anti-inflammatory properties

People commonly use prescription or over-the-counter drugs to relieve pain and stiffness, including chronic pain.

Some people feel that CBD offers a more natural way to lower pain. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD significantly reduced chronic inflammation and pain in some mice and rats.

The researchers suggest that the non-psychoactive compounds in marijuana, such as CBD, could be a new treatment for chronic pain.

CBD is already in use for some conditions that cause chronic pain, such as multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia.

Quitting smoking and drug withdrawals

There is some promising evidence that CBD use may help people to quit smoking. A pilot study posted to Addictive Behaviors found that smokers who used an inhaler containing the compound CBD smoked fewer cigarettes but did not have any additional craving for nicotine.

Another similar study posted to Neurotherapeutics found that CBD may be a promising substance for people who abuse opioids.

Researchers noted that some symptoms experienced by patients with substance use disorders may be reduced by CBD. These include anxiety, mood symptoms, pain, and insomnia.

These are early findings, but they suggest that CBD may be used to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Epilepsy and other mental health disorders

CBD is also being studied for its possible role in treating epilepsy and neuropsychiatric disorders.

A review posted to Epilepsia noted that CBD has anti-seizure properties and a low risk of side effects for people with epilepsy.

Studies into CBD’s effect on neurological disorders suggest that it may help to treat many of the disorders that are linked to epilepsy, such as neurodegeneration, neuronal injury, and psychiatric diseases.

Another study posted to Current Pharmaceutical Design found that CBD may have similar effects to certain antipsychotic drugs and that it may be safe and effective in treating patients with schizophrenia.

More research is needed to understand how this works, however.

Helps fight cancer

CBD has been studied for its use as an anti-cancer agent.

A review posted by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology notes that CBD appears to block cancer cells from spreading around the body and invading an area entirely.

The review indicates that CBD tends to suppress the growth of cancer cells and promote the death of these cells.

Researchers note that CBD may help in cancer treatment because of its low toxicity levels. They call for it to be studied along with standard treatments, to check for synergistic effects.

Anxiety disorders

Patients with chronic anxiety are often advised to avoid cannabis, as THC can trigger or amplify anxiety and paranoia in some people.

However, a review from Neurotherapeutics suggests that CBD may help to reduce the anxiety felt by people with certain anxiety disorders.

The researchers point to studies showing that CBD may reduce anxiety behaviors in disorders such as:

  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • general anxiety disorder
  • panic disorder
  • social anxiety disorder
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder

The review notes that current medications for these disorders can lead to additional symptoms and side effects and that people may stop taking the drugs because of these unwanted effects.

CBD has not shown any adverse effects in these cases to date, and the researchers call for CBD to be studied as a potential treatment method.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is caused by inflammation when the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas.

Recent research posted to Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation found that CBD may ease the inflammation in the pancreas in type 1 diabetes. This may be the first step in finding a CBD-based treatment for type 1 diabetes.

Acne

Another promising use for CBD is as a new treatment for acne. Acne is caused, in part, by inflammation and overworked sebaceous glands on the body.

A recent study posted in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that CBD helps to lower the production of sebum that leads to acne, partly because of its anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

CBD could be a future treatment for acne vulgaris, the most common form of acne.

Alzheimer’s disease

Initial research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that CBD was able to prevent the development of social recognition deficit in subjects.

This means that CBD could potentially prevent people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s from losing their ability to recognize the faces of people that they know. This is the first evidence that CBD has potential to prevent Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.

Potential side effects and health risks

Many small-scale studies have looked into the safety of CBD in adults and found that it is well tolerated across a wide dose range.

There have been no significant central nervous system side effects or effects on vital signs or mood among people who use it either slightly or heavily.

The most common side effect noted is tiredness. Some people have noticed diarrhea and changes in appetite or weight.

There are still very little long-term safety data, and tests have not been carried out on children as of yet.

As with any new or alternative treatment option, a patient should discuss CBD with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using it.