The Green Grasses
Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, and Alfalfa
Why Are The Grasses So Important?
What Is The “Grass Juice Factor”?
Can You Name One Essential Ingredient?
How Can You Integrate Them Into Your Diet?
Find The Easy Way To Eat More Dark Green Veggies. Look Inside….
TOPIC: GREEN GRASSES
Deer, antelope, and elk commonly feed in alfalfa fields, especially in times of drought. Foxes can be seen hunting. Many raptor species, including Swainson’s Hawk and bald eagles, can be found hunting there.
Alfalfa is the beginning of a food chain that supports not only millions of farm animals and human beings, but also wildlife that are important to the Earth’s ecosystems.
–Research from the University of California, Davis
Today many people are concerned about their health. Many want to eat more vegetables, but find it hard to do.
Grasses are a good solution. They are complete foods in a concentrated form. Often, they are freeze-dried with all their nutrients and enzymes in tact. They can give us the vegetable nutrition we need – in an instant.
Grasses are in a class of by themselves. In fact, they are the foundational food for most land-based life. They are the only land grown plant on Earth that could serve as our sole nutritional support from birth to death.
According to answers.com, there are 9,000 species of grass. They range from the 100 foot high bamboo to the one inch shoot of Arctic tundra – and not one is toxic.
Currently, three green grasses are particularly popular for human health. These are wheat grass, barley grass, and alfalfa.1
Both wheat and barley are harvested as shoots. This is when they contain the most nutrition. Alfalfa draws some of its nutrients from roots that grow to a depth of 130 feet. People who take the resulting products invariably assert feelings of enhanced well-being along with improved energy and stamina.
In addition, these grasses have been found helpful with high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, ulcers, pancreas and liver problems, asthma, eczema, hemorrhoids, skin problems, fatigue, anemia, constipation, and unpleasant bodily odors.
There have also been reports of effectiveness with oral infections, bleeding gums, the reduction of tissue destruction (including from radiation), burns, athlete’s foot, mucous membrane problems, and cancer.
We now know that most illness is caused by insufficient or inappropriate nutrition. For optimum health the cells and tissues of the entire body must be consistently inundated with live organic nourishment.
Plants themselves have the extraordinary ability to transform and vitalize inanimate substances from soil, water, and sunlight into living cells bursting with nutrient energy.
Masters of this miracle, the green grasses contain all the essential nutritional elements: protein, carbohydrate, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
In addition, they are replete with chlorophyll and both soluble and insoluble fiber.
However, research has identified benefits that cannot be associated with any of these known nutrients. The expression “grass juice factor” was coined to describe beneficial powers in juices.
Young grass shoots are about 20-25 percent protein. There are several important facts about this protein. It is complete, containing all the amino acids known to support life.
It has an amino acid profile very similar to that of the “Ideal Protein” for humans established by the World Health Organization. It is in a form that is easily utilized by the body.
The protein in grasses occurs in a smaller molecular structur
e than that provided by the mature plant. Called peptides, these amino acid chains can be absorbed directly into the blood where they promote cell metabolism.
They support the nervous system, work as antioxidants, and provide material for the formation of the nucleic acids, RNA and DNA. Enzymes are also proteins.
Most grass food products is processed so that the enzymes are left in tact. The presence of literally hundreds of enzymes in the grasses helps in the digestion and absorption of other nutrients that we eat.
The grasses contain all the known mineral elements. They are exceptionally rich in calcium, and also contain magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium as well as providing a treasure of trace elements. These minerals are essential to the formation of all other bodily material. In addition, the grasses contain a natural and balanced range of vitamins, including vitamin B12, normally elusive in the plant world, and the popular carotenoids. (Beta carotene is one.) Both the vitamins and minerals are easily assimilated.
In the mid-1930s, research conducted by Dr. George Kohler showed that diseased animals fed a diet rich in dehydrated grass or grass juice “brought about dramatic recovery and restimulated growth” even when diets rich in then-known nutrients failed.
Perhaps chlorophyll is the seemingly magic therapeutic ingredient of the green grasses. Chlorophyll is best known for its action in the process of photosynthesis. Extensive laboratory investigation has shown that tissue cell activity and its normal regrowth are definitely increased by using chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is absorbed directly through the cell membranes in the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines. That absorbed through the intestines acts primarily as an oxidant in the process of metabolism.
It is thought that the effectiveness of chlorophyll in our bodies is due to its molecular structure which is nearly identical to human blood with one very important exception. The center atom of chlorophyll is magnesium while in human blood, it is iron.
The akalinizing potential of chlorophyll is a further explanation of it’s healing power. The trend toward ingesting grasses goes hand-in-hand with the movement toward developing a healthy pH in the body. The American diet is highly acid.
The alkaline grasses, with their chlorophyll and mineral content help to restore our natural acid-alkaline balance. When used in sufficient amounts, these grasses can change our body chemistry in a beneficial way. This doesn’t mean we should live on grasses. Many healthy foods are acid (think proteins and fats) and we need those too.
The green grasses began to be used as a food source during the 1930s. As great as they are for us, it is not surprising that so many people are now turning to them for nutritional support and improved health. The remarkable thing is that it didn’t happen sooner.
1 Surprisingly, alfalfa is not a grass but a member of the pea family. See the “Alfalfa” section in this newsletter.
In the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, intensive agricultural research studies were spearheaded by Dr. Charles Schnabel. He and his team identified wheat grass as the finest of all grass foods.
However, it wasn’t their work that brought public attention to wheat grass as a food. Rather, wheat grass owes its fame as a curative to the work of the late Ann Wigmore, a naturopath, who was the originator of wheat grass juice.
Inspired by a biblical verse in which King Nebuchadnezzar is instructed to go into the fields and “eat grass as do the oxen”, Dr. Wigmore turned her attention to grasses and experimented with 100s of them before selecting wheat grass.
She reported wheat grass juice as the richest nutritional liquid known, containing the greatest variety of minerals, trace minerals, and vitamins of any vegetable. Buying a second hand meat grinder, she began expelling juice from her fresh wheat grass.
From this, Dr. Wigmore went on to develop wheat grass therapy, which she used successfully with a number of people who had been labeled as “incurable.” She established the Hippocrates Health Institute in Boston where her philosophy of healing was exclusively applied.2
She has written,
“I [receive] testimonials from individuals all over the globe who, using the wheat grass therapy and living food, have helped to eliminate cancerous growths and other physical and mental health problems.”3
Wheatgrass is harvested for juicing when the grass reaches its nutritional peak. This is just before the jointing stage, when the plant is between 7 and 11 inches tall. At this point, it has accumulated energy which will soon power a massive growth spurt. This is the energy that is captured in the juice.
When wheatgrass is juiced, it is volatile and will oxidize quickly. It is important to either rapidly consume it or immediately protect the juice from oxidation.
Wheat grass juice concentrate which has been processed to preserve the integrity of the enzymes is available in tablets and powder. Flash frozen juice can also be purchased as can freshly pressed juice.
2 The Hippocrates Institute is now located in West Palm Beach, FL.
3 If you are interested in knowing more about Dr. Wigmore and her work – she was totally devoted to serving humanity – locate a copy of her autobiography Why Suffer? or the more philosophical Be Your Own Doctor.
Benefits Ascribed To
Wheat And Barley Grass Juice
• Physical and mental well-being
• More energy and better sleep
• Stronger immune system
• Cellular detoxification
• Reduced inflammation
• Lessened appetite cravings
• Increased mental clarity
• Steadier nerves
• Improved eyesight and night vision
• And much more….
Barley is considered to be the first cereal grain cultivated by humans. Its medicinal and food use dates back to 7000 BC. Crop reports date back to 2440 BC. Since biblical times, ancient Asian and Middle Eastern cultures included both young wheat and barley grass plants in their diets. Historically, it was used in the treatment of skin, liver, blood, and GI tract disorders.
Barley grass is another cereal grass that has received a lot of attention. The hero of barley grass is Yoshihide Hagiwara, M.D., physician, pharmacist, and researcher.
He established the first barley green juice company in 1980. He spent more than a decade in his search for a food that could counteract the devitalized modern diet.
After completing trials with over 200 plants, he concluded that barley was the most excellent source of the broad spectrum of nutrients he was seeking for the grow, repair, and well-being of the body. It also met his taste requirements.
In the early eighties, Dr. Hagiwara and his colleague Dr. Hotta presented the results of their work at the Japanese Society of Pharmaceutical Science. The doctors had been able to restore a DNA gene infected by cancer to a normal state by applying the components of juice from barley shoots. Dr. Hagiwara believed that the active enzymes found in green barley juice are responsible for its incredible effects.
The nutrients and results of taking barley grass resemble those of wheat grass. (This was discovered by the original researchers who tested many grasses.) A decision about which grass depends on the method of preparation and taste.
LET’S TALK ABOUT ALFALFA
Besides the fact that alflafa is not a grass but a member of the pea family and that it is a provider of concentrated nutrition, it has a particularly interesting history. Remains of alfalfa more than 6,000 years old have been found in Iran while the oldest written reference to it dates back to 1300 BC.
A clue to alfalfa’s importance is in its etymology. The word comes from Arabic, Persian, and Kashmiri words meaning ‘best horse fodder’ and ‘horse power.
About 500 BC, it was brought into Greece by invading armies to feed their chariot warhorses. In the Middle Ages, it spread across Europe and North Africa although it did not arrive in the US until 1850 when it was imported from Chile as “Chilean clover”.
Hay, which is dried alfalfa, has been called one of the most important inventions of the past 2,000 years by Princeton physicist and nobelist Freeman Dyson.
Dyson explains that in ancient times, civilization could exist only in warm climates where horses and cattle could stay alive through the winter by grazing.
With the invention of hay, civilization moved north over the Alps. According to Dyson, hay gave birth to Vienna and Paris, to London and Berlin, and later to Moscow and New York.
In regards to our personal health, most of us are familiar with alfalfa through the use of alfalfa sprouts. However, alfalfa is one of the richest mineral foods known, pulling up nutrients from great root depths.
Like the grasses, it contains principal nutrients needed by the human body. These are found in a balance that encourages complete absorption. It helps to sustain well-being and to treat illness.
FYI: Studies have shown that several legumes have estrogenic activity. Like soy, alfalfa can be helpful to women in perimenopause. In combination, extract of sage (Salvia officinalis) and of alfalfa were shown to eliminate hot flashes and night sweats of 20 out of 30 women. All 30 showed a reduction in symptoms.4
Back in the 70s, before the common use of cereal grasses, alfalfa was considered a superfood. Today it is available in tablets and as liquid chlorophyll. This amazing extract is so potent that 1000 grams of alfalfa becomes 2.25 grams of chlorophyll!
Liquid chlorophyll has all the salutary effects of chlorophyll in plants, and can be purchased in a water base or as capsules. Alfalfa is also used in combination with other green grasses.
LET’S TALK ABOUT ALFALFA
4 Several studies have shown that people with systemic lupus erythematosus have a negative reaction to alfalfa sprouts. Eating alfalfa is likely also inappropriate.
Speaking of combinations, many companies are producing superfood formulas as powders to be mixed with the organic juice of your choice, and into smoothies.
Ingredients found in these products include spirulina, chlorella, Klamath blue-green algae, oat grass, rye grass, bee pollen, apple pectin fiber, wheat germ extract, sea vegetables (like kelp and dulse), flax seed, ginseng, and beneficial bacterial flora or FOS.5
Regular readers of Nutrition News know that I am a major advocate of produce, especially dark green vegetables.
Do it the easy way. Add any of these products to your diet: straight green grasses, alfalfa, algae, or any of the green food and superfood combinations.
There are any number of wonderful green food products available. Try one and go toward better health on the Green Foods Bandwagon!
5 FOS is fructoligosaccharides. These saccharides are food for our internal probiotics and encourage their growth.