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The Medical Use of Wheatgrass: Review of the Gap Between Basic and Clinical Applications

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A wide range of health benefits have been attributed to wheatgrass, the young grass of the common wheat plant Triticum aestivum. Its components include chlorophyll, flavonoids, and vitamins C and E. Forms of wheatgrass include fresh juice, frozen juice, tablets, and powders, with compositions varying according to their production processes, as well as to the growing conditions of the wheatgrass. Laboratory in vitro studies, mostly using the fermented wheat germ extract, have demonstrated anti-cancer potential and have identified apoptosis as a possible mechanism. In animal experiments, wheatgrass demonstrated benefits in cancer prevention and as an adjunct to cancer treatment, as well as benefits to immunological activity and oxidative stress. Clinical trials show that wheatgrass may induce synergistic benefits to chemotherapy and may attenuate chemotherapy-related side effects, as well as benefit rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, hematological diseases, diabetes, obesity, and oxidative stress. However, all the trials were small and a number of methodological problems arose. No adverse events of wheatgrass have been reported, although some forms pose problems of tolerability. The popularity of wheatgrass continues to grow. Nevertheless, the advantages seen in the clinical trials need to be proved in larger studies before clinical recommendations for the public can be given.
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Keywords: Apoptosis; Cancer; Hematological diseases; Immunology; Oxidative stress; Triticum aestivum; Wheatgrass

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2015

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  • The aim of Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry is to publish short reviews on the important recent developments in medicinal chemistry and allied disciplines.

    The scope of Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry will cover all areas of medicinal chemistry including developments in rational drug design, synthetic chemistry, bioorganic chemistry, high-throughput screening, combinatorial chemistry, drug targets, and natural product research and structure-activity relationship studies.

    Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal and pharmaceutical chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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