Chapter 46. Wheatgrass, the Path to Health
A while ago, a colleague and good friend confided in me and related a story about his patient with breast cancer who declined treatment with surgery and chemotherapy, and instead spent two weeks at a wellness retreat specializing in wheatgrass juice and a "live food", vegetarian diet. Three months later, the patient reported that the mass in her breast had regressed and was so small she couldn't feel it any more. The patient was also taking Iodine supplements. (See the chapter on Iodine and Breast Cancer.)
After three months, follow up MRI scans showed dramatic improvement, and the radiologist announced, "the chemotherapy was working"!! This story intrigued me, as it suggested a biologically active agent in the wheatgrass juice with a beneficial effect on breast cancer. Over the years, I had seen wheatgrass juice sold at various juice bars, and have even tried it a few times without thinking much of it. However, this story motivated me to look further.
Eydie Mae Hunsberger – Breast Cancer Survivor
I discovered a book from the 1970's entitled "How I Conquered Cancer Naturally" by Eydie Mae Hunsberger.(9) This is a true story of a woman in the 1970's who had recurrent axillary lymph node enlargement following lumpectomy for breast cancer. She declined chemotherapy and instead visited Ann Wigmore in Boston where she learned about wheatgrass juice and a live food diet, to which she attributed her recovery and remission from what appeared to be fatal breast cancer. (5-7) Here is a quote from Eydie Mae Hunsberger from page 131 of her book:
"Here I am a cancer patient not long ago given an eighty per cent chance to live one year. I'm supposed to be sick and dying. And now I am seemingly free from all symptoms, except my lumps, and they are diminishing all the time...just as long as I continue to eat live foods, and drink my wheatgrass juice. How incredible, here at our fingertips for so long, an answer to cancer! No One will believe us. It's too simple. It's too easy. This phantom cancer has been such a hopeless subject for so long, no one will believe us. I don't care whether anyone believes us or not. I am going to tell the whole world." (9)
Wheatgrass, Natures Finest Medicine by Steve Meyerowitz
I also discovered another anecdotal case of recovery from breast cancer with wheatgrass juice in Steve Meyerowitz's book, Wheatgrass, Natures Finest Medicine. (8) Two more anecdotal cases of breast cancer with remission attributed to wheatgrass juice were found in the book, “How and When To Be Your Own Doctor” written by Dr. Isabelle A. Moser with her husband Steve Solomon and published in 1997.(14) Another striking case report in the 2005 medical literature concerns a case of peritoneal cancer, a form of cancer which is rapidly fatal. This 89 year old patient refused chemotherapy and instead used wheat grass therapy with complete remission of the cancer four years after treatment.(15,16) The beneficial anti-cancer effects of wheatgrass are thought to be due to abscisic acid, a plant hormone which delays germination.(10-12)
Hemoglobin and Chlorophyll - Similar Chemical Structure
The intense green color of wheatgrass juice is due to the chlorophyll content. The molecular structure of chlorophyll is virtually identical to hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying red pigment of our blood. The major difference between chlorophyll and hemoglobin is the central metal atom. In hemoglobin the central atom is Iron (Fe), and in chlorophyll it is Magnesium (Mg). This similarity in chemical structure is thought to explain the beneficial effect of wheatgrass juice in cases of chronic anemia such as thalassemia. A report from India showed reduction of transfusion requirements in children with thalassemia who received wheatgrass juice therapy.(13)
Anemia from Chemotherapy
According to Bar-Sela at Rambam Medical Center, wheatgrass juice prevents bone marrow toxicity from chemotherapy without diminishing the effects of the chemo. This study was done in terminal breast cancer patients who noted improvement in blood count after wheatgrass therapy.(18)
Wheatgrass juice has a long history of use as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and to promote wound healing. A 2002 report showed that Wheatgrass juice appeared safe and effective as a treatment for Ulcerative Colitis, an inflammatory condition of the colon. (21) Chris Reynolds, an Australian Practitioner, has also reported success with Crohn's disease, an inflammatory condition of the small bowel.(25-30) A 1988 review article by Chernomorsky & Segelman reported anti-inflammatory, wound healing and odor reducing capabilities of chlorophyllin (a component of wheatgrass). (23) Chlorophyllin has bacteriostatic properties aiding in wound healing, and stimulates the production of hemoglobin and erythrocytes in anemic animals. It has been used to treat various kinds of skin lesions, burns and ulcers where it acts as a wound healing agent, stimulating granulation tissue and epithelialization. Research from the 1940's describes improved healing for osteomyelitis, deep suppurative or draining wounds, diabetic ulcers, Vincent’s stomatitis and pyorrhea.
According to Benjamin Gruskin, M.D., wheatgrass juice clears up foul smelling odors, neutralizes strep infections, heals wounds, hastens skin grafting, cures chronic sinusitis, overcomes chronic inner-ear inflammation and infection, reduces varicose veins and heals leg ulcers, eliminates impetigo and other scabby eruptions, heal rectal sores, successfully treat inflammation of the uterine cervix, gets rid of parasitic vaginal infections, reduces typhoid fever, and cures advanced pyorrhea in many cases.(32)
Dr. Chris Reynolds, a wheatgrass practitioner from Australia recommends wheatgrass for treatment of various conditions: Acne, Alopecia, Anal fissure, Crohn's Disease, Eczema, Hematoma (bruising), Molluscum contagiosum, Multiple sclerosis, Skin and skin-related conditions, Sports and soft tissue injuries, Wound healing. (25-32)
Own Experience with WheatGrass:
I was intrigued by the benefits of Wheatgrass, and motivated to try it. I called a local producer who grows trays of wheatgrass and delivers the trays directly to your home. This grower plants the seeds and grows the trays which he irrigates with ocean water. The ocean water irrigation gives the wheatgrass bioavailable minerals from the sea. Once the trays were delivered to my home, I prepared the wheatgrass juice daily. Using a pair of scissors, the wheatgrass is cut and placed into an Omega Juicer. This home prepared fresh juice is much sweeter and palatable than the juice bar variety. I noticed more energy, clarity of mind, improvement in mood, and a general anti-inflammatory effect. I noticed that aches and pains seemed to disappear and old areas of hidden inflammation or infection seemed to resolve. There is something to this wheatgrass juice that is very beneficial.
Which Wheatgrass Products to Select?
There are many companies offering wheatgrass juice products. A few are listed in the Steve Meyerowitz Wheatgrass book and offered on his web site. Even though I had live wheatgrass trays, I decided to try the frozen and the freeze dried products. I ordered the frozen wheatgrass juice from Dynamic Greens.(49) The product arrived promptly to my house as frozen cubes of wheatgrass juice. Preparing a glass of wheatgrass was easy. Simply pop the green cubes into a glass, add water, wait a few minutes for the cubes to melt, and it's ready to drink. I found the taste to be pleasant and quite enjoyable. In his book, Meyerowitz speaks highly of various freeze-dried wheat grass powder products.(52-59) I decided to try this as well. The dried power mixed easily with water and had a pleasant taste. I can recommend it. I must apologize for not including many other good products, but time constraints have limited this list.
Which Wheatgrass Products is the Best?
There is no question in my mind that the maximal health benefit is gained by preparing your own fresh juice at home from live wheatgrass. However, for those of us looking for a more convenient way to go, there is still considerable nutritional benefit from the frozen juice or the freeze dried juice. For anyone traveling, the freeze dried powder is a good travel solution. Note: I have no financial interest in any of the products or books mentioned above.
A Fertile Ground for New Research
There must be some unknown healing "wheat grass juice factor" beneficial for the immune system, involved in cell signaling, and inhibiting cancer. Could this factor be abscisic acid, chlorophyll, Vitamin K2, or some other unknown plant compound? Wheatgrass is a natural substance which cannot be patented so if we depend on drug company research, we may never find the "Wheat Juice Factor". This is where public funding with NIH research grants for basic science in the University setting can play an important role. Clearly, this is an area ripe for new discoveries which can lead to great medical benefits.
Disclaimer: This article in no way advocates wheatgrass as a replacement or substitute for mainstream medical advice or treatment for any medical condition or disease. Please consult your personal physician regarding questions about medical conditions, medications, nutritional supplements, or diet. Disclosure: I have no financial interest in any of the above wheatgrass companies or products.
For references and links, see web site: www.bioidenticalhormones101.com
References for Chapter 45. Wheatgrass, the Path to Health
(1) http://www.sproutman.com/ Sproutman - Steve Meyerowitz.
Grass The Medicine beneath our Feet by Steve Meyerowitz
Freeze-Dried-Wheatgrass by Steve Meyerowitz
DOGS-PROVE-WHEATGRASS-WORKS by Steve Meyerowitz.
(5) http://annwigmore.com/ Ann Wigmore web site
(6) http://www.hippocratesinst.org/ The Hippocrates Health Institute based on Ann Wigmore, Drs. Brian and Anna Maria Clement. Hippocrates Health Institute, West Palm Beach, FL
The Wheatgrass Book by Ann Wigmore.
Wheatgrass - Nature's Finest Medicine by Steve Meyerowitz.
How I Conquered Cancer Naturally by Eydie Mae Hunsberger, Avery; 2nd edition (March 1, 1992)
(10) http://www.biologie.uni-hamburg.de/b-online/e31/31e.htm Botany Online, by Peter v. Sengbusch Abscissic Acid Chemical Structure.
Chiu-Nan Lai et al: The inhibitions of in vitro metabolic activation of carcinogens by wheat sprout extracts. Nutrition & Cancer, 1978,1(1) Fall: 27 - 30.
(12) CN Lai (1979) Chlorophyll: The active factor in wheat sprout extract inhibiting the metabolic activation of carcinogens in vitro. Nutrition and Cancer, 1 (3):19-21
Wheat Grass Juice Reduces Transfusion Requirement in Patients with Thalassemia Major: A Pilot Study (Opens as .pdf) R.K. Marwaha et al. India.
Case report of two cases of terminal breast cancer cured with wheat grass. Excerpted from the book “HOW AND WHEN TO BE YOUR OWN DOCTOR” written by Dr. Isabelle A. Moser with her husband Steve Solomon and published in 1997.
J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Feb;11(1):161-5.
Bovine cartilage, coenzyme Q10, and wheat grass therapy for primary peritoneal cancer. Forgionne GA.
(16) http://www.cancerlynx.com/peritonealcase.html Case report of peritoneal cancer cured with wheatgrass. The results suggest that the primary peritoneal cancer is in remission for the studied patient more than 1 year after her surgery.
Planta Med 2007; 73 . Antiproliferative and apoptotic effects of wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum L.) extracts on chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cell line. A Karadag et al.
Nutr Cancer. 2007;58(1):43-8. Wheat grass juice may improve hematological toxicity related to chemotherapy in breast cancer patients: a pilot study.Bar-Sela G, Tsalic M, Fried G, Goldberg H. Division of Oncology, Rambam Medical Center and Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 31096, Israel.
(19) Effect of Wheat Grass Juice in Supportive Care of Terminally Ill Cancer Patients — A Tertiary Cancer Centre Experience from India. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2006 ASCO Meeting Proceedings Part I. Vol 24, No. 18s (June 20 Supplement), 2006: 8634. Dey S et al.
Cancer Prevention Research 1 (7 Supplement), B139, November 1, 2008. Effect of wheat grass juice in supportive care of terminally ill solid organ cancer patients: Experience from eastern India, Soma Mukhopadhyay et al, Kolkata, India
(21) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11989836 Scand J Gastroenterol. 2002 Apr;37(4):444-9. Wheat grass juice in the treatment of active distal ulceative colitis: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Ben-Arye et al. The Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa.
Evaluation of the antioxidant activity of wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum L.) as a function of growth under different conditions Sunil D. Kulkarni 1, Jai. C. Tilak 2, R. Acharya 3, Nilima S. Rajurkar 1, T. P. A. Devasagayam 2, A. V. R. Reddy 3 * 1Department of Chemistry, University of Pune, Pune 411 007, India
(23) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3050624 N J Med. 1988 Aug;85(8):669-73. Chernomorsky & Segelman. 1988. Review Article: Biological activities of chlorophyll derivatives
(24) http://www.wheatgrassprofessional.info/references.htm A Selection of 27 Summaries From Medical and Scientific Journal Articles Supportive of Clinical Effectiveness of Wheatgrass
(25) http://www.drwheatgrass.com.au/LiteratureRetrieve.aspx?ID=29583. Wound healing? Think growth factors. by Dr. Chris Reynolds. M.B.,B.S
(26) http://www.drwheatgrass.com.au/conditions/alopecia/case_2 ALOPECIA AREATA CASE
(27) http://www.drwheatgrass.com/info/newsletters/default.htm Dr. Chris' Wheatgrass
(28) http://www.wheatgrassprofessional.info/default.htm Wheatgrass For Inflammation Chris Reynolds
Wheatgrass and IBS/Crohns disease - by Dr. Chris Reynolds M.B.,B.S April, 2004 - Crohn's Disease & The Return of Wheatgrass Healing Crohn's Disease
Wheatgrass For Anal Fissure - A Medical Breakthrough By Dr. Chris Reynolds
Wheatgrass_for_Crohns_and_IBS.pdf+Wheatgrass+Chris+Reynolds&cd=20&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us In the AmericanJournal of Surgery (1940), Benjamin Gruskin, M.D. recommends chlorophyll for its antiseptic benefits.
Chlorophyll for Colds Monday, Jul. 22, 1940 Professor Benjamin Gruskin of Philadelphia's Temple University
ORGANIC CHLOROPHYLL FIGHTS INFECTIONS! By Dr. John Heinerman
THE HISTORY OF WHEATGRASS - by KK Fowlkes
Ten-Reasons-Why-Wheatgrass-10-Love-King-Alkaline-Foods-SUPPORTS-Science-Technology-ppt-powerpoint/ Ten Reasons Why Wheatgrass - Power Point slides.
(36) http://www.wheatgrass.com/book/chapter4.php Cereal Grass - What's in it for you! Chapter 4 : Chlorophyll as Therapy H.E. Kirschner, M.D.
Cereal Grass - What's in it for you! CEREAL GRASS. WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU! The Importance of Wheat Grass, Barley Grass and Other Green Vegetables in the Human Diet Edited by Ronald L. Seibold, M.S. PINES International, Inc. Lawrence, Kansas, online book.
Review Article Digestion, absorption, and cancer preventative activity of dietary chlorophyll derivatives, Mario G. Ferruzzia et al Brown University December 2006
Teratog Carcinog Mutagen. 1999;19(5):313-22. Effect of dietary chlorophyll derivatives on mutagenesis and tumor cell growth.Chernomorsky S, Segelman A, Poretz RD.
(40) http://www.nutritionj.com/content/3/1/19/ USA Nutrition Journal 2004, 3, Review Nutrition and cancer: A review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet. Michael S Donaldson et al.
Review Article Digestion, absorption, and cancer preventative activity of dietary chlorophyll derivatives Mario G. Ferruzzia,4, Joshua Blakesleeb
(42) Diaz GD, Li Q, Dashwood RH. Caspase-8 and apoptosis-inducing factor mediate a cytochrome c–independent pathway of apoptosis in human colon cancer cells induced by the dietary phytochemical chlorophyllin. Cancer Res 2003;63(6):1254- 61.
JY, Tang PM, Hon PM, Au SW, Tsui SK, Waye MM, et al. Pheophorbide a, a major
antitumor component purified from Scutellaria barbata, induces apoptosis in
human hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Planta Med 2006;72(1):28 - 33.
Chiu LC, Kong CK, Ooi VE. The chlorophyllin-induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells is associated with ERK deactivation and cyclin D1 depletion. Int J Mol Med 2005;16(4):735 - 40.
A postgermination developmental arrest checkpoint is mediated by abscisic acid and requires the ABI5 transcription factor in Arabidopsis Luis Lopez-Molina, Sébastien Mongrand, and Nam-Hai Chua . PNAS April 10, 2001 vol. 98 no. 8 4782-4787
for ABA as cancer preventive
(47) http://www.freshpatents.com/Abscisic-acid-against-cancer-dt20061228ptan20060292215.php?type=description Patent by Dr. Livingston U.S. Pat. No. 3,958,025 (1976), col 8, line 50, that a hormone immuologically identical to HCG denominated microbic chorionic gonadotropin, produced from progenitor cryptocides, might be opposed or neutralized by a growth retardant in vitro. Such a growth inhibitor was identified as ABA. (Absciscic Acid)
(48) http://www.sproutman.com/ Sproutman Steve Meyerowitz
(49) http://www.dynamicgreens.com/ Dynamic Greens Wheatgrass 16128 9th Line Stouffville, ON L4A 7X4 Canada 1-877-910-0467 flash frozen wheatgrass juice shipped to you frozen overnight.
(50) http://wheatgrass.com/ PINES Wheat Grass Conveniently offered in tablets and powders
first company in continuous operation in the U.S.A. to offer dehydrated wheat grass and barley grass to the public, starting in 1976.
(51) http://www.dyna-green.com/wheatgrass/wheatgrass-powder.html Freeze-dried wheat grass juice,
like Dyna-Green. Dynamic
Nutraceuticals Scott Smith P.O. Box 940 Sebastopol, CA 95473
Phone: 1-877-Dyna Green E-mail: email@example.com
(52) http://www.wheatgrassexpress.com/ Freeze Dried Wheatgrass Juice Powder
(53) http://www.wholelifegreens.com/about.htm Vermont. Donna (Bergonzi) Boyle
her brother Michael
the Master Grower and Greenhouse Manager at Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, FL 802-583-4769 or 802-793-2197 or e-mail DONNA AT firstname.lastname@example.org.
(54) http://bestjuiceextractorreviews.com/ Listing of Juicers. making your own decision about finding the right Breville, Omega, Braun, Champion, Jack Lalanne, Green Star juice extractor
The world’s finest wheatgrass grown from the ancient Egyptian Kamut seed. The sweet taste of oat grass juice. The mineral rich juice from mature alfalfa leaves. Organic Kamut Blend
(56) http://www.phporder.com/WeightLossPlan.aspx?ID=highpowersupplements Weight Loss Battle Plan(57) http://www.phporder.com/ScoopOfGreensInfo.aspx?ID=highpowersupplements Scoop Of Greens. for Diabetes and Weight Loss.