Lovers of wheatgrass swear by its ability to help treat a range of diseases and ailments including high blood pressure, tooth decay, eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, and sinusitis. That's why so many of them around the world drink wheatgrass daily.
"The minute I feel I something coming on, I down the wheatgrass," says Ariane de Bonvoisin, founder of first30days.com, a New York–based company dedicated to helping people make and face new changes in their lives. De Bonvoisin has been drinking an ounce of wheatgrass once or twice a week for about ten years. She uses it to detoxify, fight off colds and the flu, and even to lose excess weight. "I'm never sick, I've never had the flu, and I never get headaches," she says.
Research from one health institute shows that wheatgrass juice contains vitamins A, B12, C, and E, along with folic acid, phosphorus, iron, and calcium. According to its advocates, the juice also contains a highly absorbable form of protein and a significant dose of phytochemicals, compounds in plants that prevent disease and are thought to attack cancer cells.
From Lithuania to America
The modern wheatgrass movement in the United States can be traced to one woman: Ann Wigmore. This Lithuanian immigrant started using the nutritive power of the red wheat berry plant medicinally in the 1950s. Wigmore, cofounder of Florida's Hippocrates Health Institute in 1956, was inspired by the memory of her grandmother using grasses and herbs to treat wounded World War I soldiers in Lithuania. In her lifetime, Wigmore claimed to have used grasses to heal her own colon cancer and was one of the first to grow healing grasses in trays on her windowsill in Boston. She wrote several important books on the subject, including The Wheatgrass Book (Avery, 1985), The Hippocrates Diet and Health Program (Avery, 1983), and Be Your Own Doctor: A Positive Guide to Natural Living (Avery, 1982).