by Ann Wigmore
Wheatgrass contains a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, including the thirteen essential ones, packaged with dozens of trace elements and enzymes. It is a nutritionally complete food which will sustain the growth and development of laboratory animals and humans alike. In addition, scientists have never found wheatgrass to be toxic in any amount when given to either animals or humans. At fifty years of ages I was ready for an early retirement. My hair was gray, I suffered from low energy, and had no clear direction in life. Out of desperation I turned to nature for relief. Lessons I had learned in childhood from my grandmother were strong in my memory and dreams. My intuition and reason led me to experiment with the most vital and nutritionally rich foods I could find. These were not meats, cheeses, and eggs, as most people suspected at that time, but those foods which could trap the sun's energy and transfer it to my body. These were live foods-foods richer in vitamins, minerals, and life energy, than in proteins or fats. While proteins and fats are necessary, I know that I did not need them in the heavy form and large quantities used by the average person. I knew that to find the energy of life and use it to rejuvenate my tired and sickly body I would have to find it in green plants. Charles Kettering and a handful of other researchers had the right idea, but commercial pressures forced them to seek ways to package or synthesize the life energy in green plants to increase its shelf life-which cannot be done. In wheatgrass, raw foods, and exercise, I found what I feel is as close to the fountain of youth as we are going to get. Twenty-five years after my discovery, my hair has turned fully natural brown again. My weight has been a stable 119 (the same as it was in my youth), and my energy level is limitless.
For the past ten years I have required an average of only four hours of sleep a night, and I haven't needed the services of a physician in years. My work has brought me all over the world on many demanding lecture tours, sometimes for months at a time. Yet I have more energy than I ever remember having as a child-and I am no child at seventy-six. What I found can help you, too. But instead of taking my word for it, examine what I have to say carefully, and then, if you are so inclined, try it for yourself. How then can it add life and energy to your body in the same way that living wheatgrass, greens, or sprouts can? Plant any of- these in the ground and they will create new life out of the soil, rain, and air. Vitamin supplements may be necessary on a temporary basis, to balance an existing problem, but they cannot take the place of live foods in the diet. It is the life force in wheatgrass, along with its stores of vital nutrients that can restore youthfulness to the body. If you cook the grass, what is left? A mere shell of matter, totally devoid of life. When we cook food. we destroy its enzymes and life energy. It is no small wonder that we age quickly, degenerate, and die younger than we have to. Life comes from life. Wheatgrass, as it grows on a tray of soil in your home, is the essence of life and vitality. Wheat-grass contains extraordinary nutrients, identified by G.O.Kohler as the "grass juice factor," which he found only in grasses. The research of Kohler and others has indicated that the grass juice factor can correct nutritional deficiencies, stimulate growth, and prevent early death in herbivorous (plant-eating) animals. Now let us briefly discuss the nutritional factors in wheat-grass chlorophyll, which give the juice the ability to rejuvenate even the most tired and worn out body.
Wheatgrass, Enzymes, and Aging
Enzymes are perhaps more important than any other active ingredients in wheatgrass. To date, literally hundreds of enzymes have been discovered in cereal grasses. An even more thorough study in the future may turn up thousands, because grass is a storehouse of enzymes. When included in the diet these enzymes supplement the indogenous enzymes manufactured in the human body (see page 19), extending their life energy. The most important enzymes that have been isolated in wheatgrass are: cyto-chrome oxidase, an antioxidant required for proper cell respiration; lipase, a fat -split ting enzyme; protease, a protein digestant; amylase, which facilitates starch digestion: catalase, which catalyzes the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen in the blood and body tissues; peroxidase, which has an action similar to catalase, on a cellular level; transhydrogenase, an enzyme which aids in keeping the muscle tissue of the heart toned; and superoxide dismutase (SOD). It is interesting to note that when these enzymes decline in quantity and strength-which happens as we gel older-the body's ability to handle heavy fats, proteins, and excess calories weakens. This could be responsible for the problems of overweight and premature aging, which plague so many Americans today. It is also interesting to note that three of these enzymes-cytochrorne oxidase, peroxidase and cat-alase-are found in relatively high concentrations in normal red and white blood cells. In the body of a cancer patient, however, their numbers are usually decreased significantly.
We have already seen how the enzymes found in wheatgrass help to detoxify the pollutants inside us. They also help us to digest our food better. In some cases they also have shown an ability to "digest" or dissolve excesses of fat and protein in the body and may even break down tumors and cysts. One of the enzymes found in cereal grasses, SOD, plays a crucial role in wheatgrass's ability to prevent aging. This enzyme has received plenty of attention in scientific circles as a possible anti-aging enzyme. After exposure to radiation or pollutants such as nitrogen oxide derivatives, following the consumption of foreign (and toxic) substances like drugs and chemical additives, and as we age, the number of harmful superoxides in and around our cells increases. Their accumulation damages the fats, DNA, and overall structure of the cells. Some amount of superoxides is necessary, but any excesses should be destroyed by SOD present in cells. When the supply of SOD is low, cells become poisoned, they lose their ability to renew themselves, and die prematurely. In Fact, the older or more abnormal the cells in the body, the greater the number of superoxides they usually contain. In both laboratory trials and clinical tests, however, SOD has proven to be a safe and effective enzyme, which can protect us from cell damage due to superoxides, infection, aging, radiation, and poisoning by bad food, air, or drugs. And wheatgrass is a natural source of this enzyme.
Wheatgrass and DNA Repair
Dr. Yasuo Hotta, a biologist al the University of California at San Diego, has isolated another compound from young grasses. Provisionally named PDI, this substance has shown the ability to stimulate the production and natural repair of human reproductive sperm cells and DNA. Dr. Hotta tested reproductive cells rather than somatic cells (the ones that makeup body tissues) because of their remarkable ability to repair damaged DNA, thus ensuring the health of the newborn. The experiment consisted of firs I damaging one group of spermatocytes with X-radiation and administering a toxic chemical to another group. Some of the damaged cells from each group were then allowed to recover on their own, and others were given PDI. When the cells were incubated under normal controlled conditions, the added extract increased the number of cells repaired and the speed at which the repairs took place.
Wheatgrass Against Free Radicals
We are not leaving the subject of rejuvenation to venture off into the political arena when we discuss "free radicals." Free radicals arc atoms with a bunch of wild electrons that can surround your cell internally and age every part of your body from the inside out. They are created especially by the processed and cooked fats in our diet. A recent book by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, entitled Life Extension has brought much attention to free radicals. The authors point out the damage tree radicals can cause, and suggest ways to eliminate them as a means to a longer and healthier life. Unfortunately, their advice could be harmful since the drugs and supplements they recommend have not been thoroughly tested for long-term effects. Their premise is that certain chemicals called antioxidants, contained in food additives like BHT and BHA, can neutralize and reverse the accumulation of free radicals in (he body, improving health and extending longevity. However, according to Dr. Jeffrey Bland, a biochemist at the University of Puget Sound in Washington, preliminary results of studies on the long-term use of BHT and BHA as and-aging supplements indicate that these food additives lend to inhibit the production, in the liver, of certain enzymes that are necessary for health and long life. My own feeling is that the practice of using preservatives to extend life span is absurd. Preserving a food item and preserving the life of a living body by using food additives are galaxies apart. Do you want to be preserved while you're still alive? I don't While portions of the cell have a vital need for oxygen, other parts may be damaged by it. Antioxidants protect these important components of the cell (especially unsaturated fats) from being damaged by oxygen. The antioxidants found in BHT, BHA, and other additives are also found in wheatgrass and other natural foods, in a form, which is both safer and more efficient than the chemical types. Over the past few years, many Americans have switched from saturated fats (mostly animal fats) to unsaturated and polyunsaturated ones. The unsaturated fats were supposed to prevent heart disease while the saturated fats caused it. However, now we know we were wrong. Both types of fats increase our risk of heart disease, and worse, accelerate the aging process-saturated fats by their tendency to shut off oxygen to our cells, and polyunsaturated fats for the same reason-but also because they create free radicals. Free radicals are atoms that contain electrons which have become detached from their paired mates, in the bloodstream, they form easily from polyunsaturated fats in the presence of oxygen. They can also form outside the body in oil when it becomes rancid. The problem is that free radicals are very unstable. They lend to disrupt anything they get close to, and can damage nearly every system in the body.
Wheatgrass, on the other hand, can prevent both free radicals and lipofuscin pigments from accumulating ling and doing their damage. Wheatgrass juice contains vitamins C, E, and carotene, natural antioxidants which protect us from free radical formation, safely and effectively. The antioxidants found in synthetic chemicals such as BHA and BHT maybe able to prevent rancidity in polyunsaturated oils. but there is no proof that they can do the same inside the human body. In addition, there is no evidence that they are safe for supplemental use since we have only been exposed to small amounts of them for the last few years. Vitamin A is not found in wheatgrass juice, or any other plant food, but its precursor, carotene, is. In fact, carotene is one of the substances that prevents oils from becoming free radicals while plants are alive. Unlike animal food sources of Vitamins A, which can cause harm in large doses, carotene has not been found to be toxic in any amount. In experiments where investigators gave animals extra carotene from Food sources or in foods, they discovered that it had a major protective effect against the formation of free radicals in the animals' tissues. Whealgrass juice is a good source of Provitamin A (carotene). It has more carotene per pound than iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and many other garden vegetables. Of course besides using wheatgrass juice to prevent aging due to free radicals, you can limit the fats and oils in your diet to those found in foods. Cooking oils, butter, margarine, mayonnaise, and other "free" fats can age your body to the extent that you indulge in them and cannot rid your body of the excesses.
You are Only as Young as your Blood
A healthy body requires healthy, normal blood to stay that way. In my opinion, the healthier the blood, the greater the vitality and longer the span of life. For it is the quality of the blood which determines the strength of our bones and the firmness of our muscles. Without rich, healthy blood to carry nutrients to every cell of the body, we merely survive with our share of poor health and low energy. According to Dr. Bernard Jensen, none of the blood builders are superior to green juices and wheatgrass. Over the years he has used them both to treat low serum iron count and toxic conditions of the blood, in his book Chlorophyll Magic From Living Plant Life. Dr. Jensen mentions several cases where he was able to double the red blood cell count in a mailer of days merely by having patients soak in a chlorophyll-water bath. Blood values were measured, using standard laboratory techniques, before and after the baths. The blood building results occurred even more quickly when the patients drank green juices and wheatgrass regularly in addition to taking the chlorophyll baths. Blood rich in iron brings more oxygen to the cells, promoting youthfulness and preventing senility. Cells Grow Younger, in which he discussed the remarkable power of root auxins-substances found in the roots of all young, growing plants. He cited research experiments conducted by botanists who placed root auxins on the tip of a leaf, causing root to grow on the edge of the leaf.
Langone reasoned that we could get a sort of youth auxin from eating baby greens, sprouts, and grasses. Others have proven his assumptions correct. For example, Dr. Weston Price, founder of the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, isolated a substance from the tips of young grasses which had a -similar effect to that of root auxins, showing an ability to promote regeneration in damaged cells. My own research confirms these results. Wheatgrass may be used as a tonic and rejuvenator because of its abundance of natural vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and enzymes. It is also a high-quality source of fuel, and it is highly assimilable, requiring little energy to digest. Even those with weak or failing digestion can reap the rewards of using it. Lysine is one ammo acid can has been receiving attention lately as a potential anti-aging factor. Body growth and blood circulation are fostered by this important ammo. Without enough lysine, our immune response weakens, sight may be affected, and fatigue can occur. Another essential, isoleucine, is also needed for growth, especially in infants, and for protein balance in adults. A deficiency of isoleucine could end in mental retardation, as it affects the production of other amino acids.
Leucine is an amino acid that keeps us alert and awake. In fact, it is not recommended that insomniacs use this amino by itself as it can worsen their problem. Nevertheless, an adequate supply of leucine is necessary for anyone who wants to experience high-energy living. Another amino acid you may have heard of, or seen listed in many vitamin-mineral formulas, is tryptophane. It is essential for building rich, red blood, healthy skin, and hair. Working with the B complex vitamins, tryptophane also helps to calm the nerves and stimulate better digestion. Other essential aminos include phenylalanine, which aids the thyroid gland in its production of thyroxin hormone-necessary for mental balance and emotional calm; threonine, which stimulates smooth digestion, assimilation of foods, and first is its role in converting the sun's energy into a form that plants (and animals and people) can use. Chlorophyll is a son of living battery. An animal's body also Stores and produces heat and energy: the difference is that plants can gel their energy directly from the sun, whereas animals and humans cannot. The second important nutrition al aspect of chlorophyll is its remarkable similarity to hemoglobin, the compound that carries oxygen in the blood.
Wheatgrass helps dieters by speeding up blood circulation and metabolic rate, and by enhancing digestive powers, thereby melting the excess fat in the body. If you take a moment to consider the many roles played by enzymes, you will realize that if you lose one pound (or gain another one) it will be because of the activity (or lack of it) of the enzymes in your food and body. In his book Enzyme Nutrition, enzymologist Edward Howell, M.D., mentions that measurements of the enzyme content of body fat in people weighing three hundred pounds or more revealed a deficiency of fat-splitting enzymes. Even if you are not a "heavyweight," chances are that if you want to reduce, the enzymes in wheatgrass juice and raw foods can help you. I have seen underweight people gain two or more pounds per week after adopting the Hippocrate Diet and using wheatgrass juice.
Wheatgrass will help you if you need to gain weight by clearing any accumulations of mucus from the intestinal tract, allowing more food to be absorbed, and by relaxing the nervous system. In both animal experiments and my own observations at the Institute, the addition of small quantities of wheatgrass juice to the diet stimulates balanced body weight and improved blood quality. Whether you want to shed pounds or add them, the Hippocrates Diet will fill you up-but it won't fill you out unless you need and want it to. Perhaps the most important reason to use wheatgrass during any weight control program is its ability to fill nutritional deficiencies. As we discussed in the previous chapter, wheatgrass is a containing all the know nutrients. Using it on a daily basis while trying to reshape your body is like taking out an insurance policy against any possible deficiency that could arise. In the next two chapters I will discuss the growing methods and practical uses of wheatgrass in more detail. But before I do so I would like to talk briefly about one more use of wheatgrass as a protective measure. It can help us cope with our increasingly polluted world grass can minimize the damage that these corrosive and irritating substances have on the body both directly and indirectly.
A few years ago I was concerned about the chemical sodium fluoride, which is commonly used as a rat poison, and was being put in OUT water. T asked Dr. G.H. Earp Thomas of the Bloom field Laboratories in High Bridge, New Jersey, to do an experiment for me. He placed a small amount of wheatgrass juice in a jar of regular tap water and then tested for fluoride and other chemicals present in the water. Both of us were surprised by the results. He concluded, "Fluorine rapidly combines with calcium phosphate and other kinetic elements to lose its toxic properties, and harden teeth and bones. That is why fresh grass would act as a catalyst to speedily change the acid fluorine into a beneficial component with a positive reaction. By using wheatgrass, which is comparatively rich in calcium phosphate, it would remove any free fluoric rich in calcium change its negative charge to an alkaline calcium phosphate fluoride combination with a positive reaction." I was amazed. Not only did wheatgrass neutralize the toxic effect of fluorine-but it converted it into an ally in maintaining healthy bones and teeth! I don't recommend that you drink tap water, though; pure spring or filtered water tastes better and is much better for you. But if you cannot obtain spring or filtered water, pour a little wheatgrass juice into regular tap water, and it will make it more healthful. Although wheatgrass wasn't used in these tests, there is good reason to believe that it would have outperformed cabbage and broccoli as protection against radiation. One reason for this is that the positive liver and gonadal changes seen after an animal's diet is supplemented with broccoli or cabbage are, according to Dr. Schnabel, even more dramatic following supplementation with wheatgrass.
- Mix 2 barrels of topsoil 50-50 with peal moss or screened compost. Obtain about 12 hard plastic cafeteria trays, several wide-mouth jars, and wheat berries to plant.
- Wash wheat berries and let them soak for 12 hours; then allow them to sprout for 12 hours.
- Spread soil 1 inch deep on trays, leaving shallow trenches around the edges to catch excess water. Smooth the soil and spread the sprouted wheat berries on top.
- Water the planted tray, cover with another tray, and set aside for 2-3 days.
- On Day 4, uncover the tray, water it, and set it in indirect light. Continue watering the tray daily or every other day, as needed, to keep it moist.
- Harvest wheatgrass with a sharp knife when it reaches 7-10 inches in height, cutting as close to the roots as possible without pulling up lumps of soil. Use wheatgrass as soon after harvesting as possible. If necessary, cut wheatgrass can be stored for up to 7 days in a covered container or plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- Obtain 2 or 3 barrels and drill holes spaced 2 inches apart all around.
- Place broken-up mats in the bottom of a barrel, followed by kitchen scraps and juicer pulp, a few earthworms, and another layer of broken-up mats to cover. When you have additional mats, repeat the layers, without adding more worms, but instead adding a handful of lime (if desired), until the barrel is full. Always re-cover the barrel.
- Let the barrel sit for 2-3 months, at which time your compost will be ready to be mixed with 25 percent peal moss for planting. To speed the composting process, you can stir up the contents of the barrel each week so that the compost will be ready 1 or 2 months later.
If you regularly maintain an outdoor compost pile using a method without animal manures, you may add your mats to it instead. But during the winter months you will be better off if you have a ready supply of compost and a few barrels in progress indoors. At the Hippocrates Institute we send our compost every year or two to our mini-farm in exchange for a fresh supply. The old compost is placed in the gardens, and is reconditioned by the elements. Such a rotation is ideal, as the soil will eventually need to be exposed to the air, rain and sun, if it is to stay healthy and balanced. There are basically two ways to use wheatgrass juice, internally and externally.
The internal use of wheatgrass helps to cleanse the blood, organs, and gastrointestinal tract of debris. It stimulates metabolism and bodily enzyme systems in enriching the blood by increasing red blood cell count, and in dilating the blood pathways throughout the body, reducing blood pressure. The thyroid gland is also stimulated and normalized by the use of wheatgrass juice-an important step toward the correction of obesity, indigestion, and a host of other complaints. As a protective food/medicine, wheatgrass juice is a storehouse of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and oxygen-a great nutritional supplement. Its abundance of alkaline minerals helps it to reduce over-acidity in the blood. In addition, it can be used to relieve many internal pains. It has been used successfully to treat peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, constipation, diarrhea and other complaints of the gastrointestinal tract.
The right way to use wheatgrass juice is in small amounts throughout the course of the day, always on an empty or nearly empty stomach. In general, two to four ounces every day or every other day is sufficient. Slowly sipping small quantities of the juice gives your body an opportunity to get used to its taste and effect. Taking one- to two-ounce drinks straight or mixed with other juices and sipping the juice slowly, will help prevent nausea or stomach upset.
- Begin each day of the fast with an enema, followed by an implant or two, using up to 6 ounces of fresh wheatgrass juice in each one.
- Take one 8-ounce glass of lemon water or Rejuvelac, with a little honey if desired. Follow this with wheatgrass juice a half hour later, and a green drink another half hour after that.
- In between breakfast and lunchtime, you may take another wheatgrass implant and drink, another glass of Rejuvelac or lemon water if desired. Follow with a lunch of wheatgrass juice and another green drink.
- Up to 4 wheatgrass implants can be used throughout the day. One before bed is especially helpful for sound sleep.
- Get plenty of rest and relaxation. Do some light stretching and walking, spend some time out of doors, and don't force yourself to follow a schedule or meet any deadlines.
- Break the fast after one, two, or three days with a meal of fresh fruit followed several hours later with a salad made of sprouts, greens, and fresh vegetables, with an oil-free dressing.