Wheat grass & Cancer health benefit claims: Sham or Real?
In this new age of health awareness we come across numerous claims every day. New products promising miracle results from breast enhancement to instant weight loss to a miracle cure of cancer or AIDS keep coming into the market. They are often brought in front of the unsuspecting audience as a “age old lost science” or a “brand new discovery” and are constantly backed up by some ground breaking research about which no details are divulged. These medications/ therapies usually claim to provide relief from difficult diseases, sticky addictions and other problems being faced by humans. The advertisements appear on the television, print media and internet supported by numerous testimonies to support their say. Wheatgrass is claimed to be one such product which promises major benefits.
My First Encounter
My first encounter with wheatgrass was last week when I was out for some morning exercise and found a vendor selling wheatgrass juice at the park entrance. I noticed the steady flow of customers and the notice of supposed benefits of this miracle juice. A week later the daily newspaper came along with a pamphlet by a wheatgrass powder manufacturer with similar claims.
The proponents of wheatgrass have made numerous claims since the late 1940’s. Wheatgrass is made from the leaf blades of the common wheat plant. It is normally consumed in the form of fresh juice extracted from the leaves or in form of dried powder/ tablets or capsules. Charles F Schnabel, an American, had a big hand in the propagation of the nutritional benefits of wheat grass. He claimed that it had major nutritional value and was extremely beneficial for general well being of humans. It is also said to have a positive effect in case of ulcers, healthy blood flow, and digestion and helps us fight cancer. Wheatgrass was then propagated as the miracle drug helping in gradual weight loss by the betterment of digestion, blood pressure regularization and control of diabetes. It is supposed to be a detoxifier that helps protect your liver and blood. It is claimed to help in slowing the ageing process thus protecting youthfulness. Claims to stop hair fall, tighten your sagging skin, tightens the gums and helps sleep better. It can be used as a rectal implant for reversal of damage to the small intestine. External application to help fight against rashes, skin ailments etc the list goes on and on.
No satisfactory proof!
No satisfactory proof has been given till date and most of the evidence is introduced in form of statements from unknown individuals. Very few studies have been conducted to verify these claims. Wheatgrass is rich in chlorophyll. It is also a good source of amino acids, enzymes, vitamins etc. Claims of its extremely high nutritional value has been found a sham as the overall nutritional content has been found similar to green vegetables like broccoli and spinach. Wheatgrass claim of high Vitamin B12 content has also been found incorrect.
Thus we can conclude that all the benefit claims of wheatgrass by the manufacturers and marketers may not be trusted completely and until further scientific research is conducted on the same, basing medical treatment/ health decisions on wheatgrass may be a mistake.