My theory on how wheatgrass extract heals

Introduction: Wheatgrass extract is a broad-spectrum healing agent - externally and internally
Dr. Chris Reynolds. M.B.,B.S. Click pic for CV.

In 1995, when I was a general practitioner in Melbourne, Australia, prescribing a 'natural' remedy in preference to available pharmaceuticals was generally unacceptable. So, when I was asked to try using a herbal extract that had healed a wound on a horse's fetlock in 4 weeks, after 9 months veterinary treatment failed, (Figures 2 and 3), I guessed it to be yet another "quack natural remedy". I tossed the  jar into my doctor's bag and thought no more of it.

Fig. 1. Alan's venous ulcer the day after first wheatgrass extract application. The crust (scab) has completely disappeared.
Fig. 1. Alan's venous ulcer the day after first wheatgrass extract application. The crust (scab) has completely disappeared.

Shortly afterwards, I was asked to visit Alan, a retired, 80 year-old horse-racing bookmaker at his home across the road from my clinic. For more than two years he had suffered from constant, severe pain from a deep-seated, non-healing leg ulcer (Fig. 1.) that was being cleansed and dressed several times a week by domiciliary nurses. Because the pain killers he had been prescribed had little effect, he begged me to prescribe him "a stronger medicine" - i.e. a narcotic - which, because of high risk of addiction, I had to refuse. Then, I had an idea.

Recalling the photos of the horse's fetlock wounds that veterinary surgeons had failed to heal after 9 months' orthodox treatment, (but were healed by the wheatgrass extract in three weeks), with Alan's permission, I carefully applied his wound with the cream, dressed it and promised to return the next day. When I arrived, I was surprised at Alan's cheerful mood, and that he was out of bed and walking pain-free! Also, he had slept soundly through the night for the first time in a year. The wound also had changed for the better as the thick scab that covered the wound the day before had completely disappeared!

Astounded by these observations, I had no choice but to attribute them to the wheatgrass extract, and my journey with this truly remarkable healing agent continues to this day - 28 years on.

Wound on horse leg
Fig. 2. A deep, infected fetlock wound unresponsive to 9 months veterinary treatment.
wheatgrass extract heals wounds quickly
Fig. 3. After 3 weeks wheatgrass extract treatment, the wound has healed and is covered with hair.

The thick crust (scab) on the wound's surface had completely disappeared! (See Fig. 1.) and, examination of the wound through a magnifying glass revealed a transparent, film-like membrane covering the entire wound surface which appeared to have kept the wound surface dry! Never having seen such a recovery, I was in disbelief.

But how could a "simple" herbal cream completely seal over such a deep, long-standing wound - overnight - and, most importantly, eliminate the pain he had suffered for two years?

Ever since that observattion I have sought to explain HOW the extract could possibly heal not only chronic leg ulcers, but numerous other medical conditions and injuries, many of which are presented on this website. For example, in Figure 4, a second degree burn caused by a hot straightening iron has recovered and become pain-free just a few hours after application of the extract - a wound that could have been painful for a week or become infected.   

Fig. 3. Wheatgrass extract recovers second-degree burn pain and swelling in minutes. Note also that the stud could be readily inserted soon after application.

Fig. 4. Wheatgrass extract relieves a first-degree burn pain in a few minutes. Note: The ear stud was re-inserted several minutes after application of wheatgrass extract.

Before wheatgrass extract was applied, the patient's skin was reddish-blue, blistered and swollen - then five minutes after application, the swelling has almost disappeared. Pain had completely disappeared 2 hours later. Also, the blister surface has remained intact, protecting the wound from infection. But, how did the extract recover the burn so rapidly?

Case No. 2. (Fig. 5.) Severe, deep radiation burns on the skin can take days or weeks to recover and for the pain to ease. To my knowledge, there are no medicines capable of easing the suffering of these patients after treatment. However, wheatgrass extract has quickly relieved this patient's pain by applying it lightly over the irradiated areas. Preferably this should be done before and after the treatment, then once daily.


Fig. 5. Severe 2nd degree radiotherapy burns that wheatgrass extract healed in 2 weeks.  

Note that there has been rapid healing of this severe radiotherapy burn after just 2 weeks of daily application of wheatgrass extract. Also, there is no inflammation visible, and the skin has completely healed. The patient is also pain-free. Such rapid recovery is unusual following radiation treatment. (Read full story. )

The following (short) list of wheatgrass extract healing cases represents only a small fraction of the numerous conditions I have seen successfully treated by wheatgrass extract, since 1995:

An important truth:  Chlorophyll has no effect on health or healing

In the United States in the 1930/40's, a green-coloured commercial product, 'Chlorophyllin', (containing an extract derived from wheatgrass sprouts) was found to be effective for healing infected wounds. Unfortunately, this 'clinical observation' helped create the myth that 'green' chlorophyll 'heals', when in fact, if it's left for a short while, fresh wheatgrass juice turns from dark green to black as the chlorophyll in it oxidises and loses its bioactive properties. So-called "chlorophyllin" manufacturers overcame this problem by adding a green copper salt to the mix and calling it 'sodium copper chlorophyllin'. The product is still available. (Please note that the wheatgrrass extract used in Dr Wheatgrass products, does not contain chlorophyll.)

In 1947, US Army surgeon Lieutenant-Colonel Bowers reported remarkable healing of wounds by applying them with Chlorophyllin. Although he incorrectly attributed the results to chlorophyll, he also observed:

Absence of odour in infected wounds. (Suggesting the juice somehow kept the wound sterile.)
Acceleration of wound recovery when applied before applying dressings - particularly for burns.
A drying effect for abscesses, sinus tracts, surface wounds and bone infection.

Having observed numerous similar recoveries using the wheatgrass extract, I can vouch for Bowers' observations. For instance, faster healing of anal fistulaCrohn's diseaseulcerative colitisbedsores and bone fractures - even gunshot wounds. However, chlorophyll, although essential for the production of oxygen, does not heal wounds or cure medical conditions. Figure 6 attempts to dispel this widespread, but misleading myth.


Chlorophyll is not capable of transmitting oxygen in the blood stream
Fig. 6. Why chlorophyll is incapable of transporting oxygen through the body.
Wheatgrass extract may eliminate pain, but it doesn't heal. The brain does.

Because the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is anatomically and functionally distinct from the blood–cerebrospinal fluid barrier, brain uptake and influence by most pharmaceuticals is not possible.

By comparison, wheatgrass extract, via peripheral ligand-binding neuronal receptors, appears to signal the brain directly, which often responds instantaneously. For instance, inhibition of the pain receptor, Substance P, can effectively reduce or eliminate pain.

Ligands are molecules that influence cell receptors to release neurotransmitters that transmit a broad spectrum of sensations such as pain, pressure, taste, vision and touch, to the brain. They are then processed and responded to. For example, in Figure 6, Substance P is transmitting pain. However, tests prove that wheatgrass extract blocks transmission of Substance P, the body's main pain transmitter, by approximately 98 percent.

Furthermore, in 1991, Rhone Poulenc Laboratories, Paris, discovered at least 20 ligands present in wheatgrass extract. For instance, it displayed 98% inhibition of Substance P, which might explain why wheatgrass extract caan be so effective in relieving pain caused by ulcerative colitis, gastric ulcers and many other condtions. (See Fig. 6).

How wheatgrass most likely heals

28 years' observing many thousands of effective healing responses by wheatgrass extract have suggested that ligands (at least 20 being known to exist in wheatgrass extract), restore de-coupled links between cell receptors and the brain, for example in bone marrow, intestines, skin and many other tissues. Also, numerous clinical observations suggest the extract influences gap junctions to disperse and accelerate its biological influence, as in this case of reflex sympathetic dystrophy. In this case, the patient's circulation responded instantaneously following application of a minute amount of wheatgrass extract to her severely bleached skin. It appears that this phenomenal response was due to rapid neuronal re-coupling.

*Discovered by Rhone Poulenc Laboratories. Paris. France.

 Fig. 7. How pain is felt.

Figure 7 shows how pain cell receptors signal the brain via the neurotransmitter, Substance P. The patient responds instantaneously by drawing the hand away from the source of pain - a pin prick. This suggests influence by the hypothalamus (in the brain) that controls body temperature. (Fever also can be reduced by applying a little wheatgrass to the back of the patient's neck.)

Infertile women hoping to conceive have often succeeded by taking a small dose of the extract daily, and persevering. This may be because the extract is able to 'normalise' the  hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) which is essential for conception to occur.

In Figure 8, we see how wheatgrass extract probably assists recovery of injuries. Even a small injury can lead to complex tissue damage with bleeding and damage of nerves, skin, muscles and blood vessels etc. Ligands in wheatgrass extract (approximately 20 are known to exist), appear to reactivate dysfunctional cell receptors that consequently re-couple with the brain to assist thee healing process. (Responses vary depending on the patient's age, state of health and many other factors.)

Fig. 8. How wheatgrass extract probably heals a wound. (1,2) Damaged skin causes "de-coupling" of cell receptors to the brain. (3,4) Ligands in extract re-store DNA's ability to  "re-couple".
Fig. 8. How wheatgrass extract probably heals a wound. (1,2) Damaged skin causes "de-coupling" of cell receptors to the brain. (3,4) Ligands in extract re-store DNA's ability to "re-couple".
More remarkable examples of healing by wheatgrass extract. How could this be possible?

Leprosy, particularly of the hands and feet, continues to defy medical treatment, with many sufferers ultimately requiring amputation. To date, effective drug treatment has been largely ineffective. For instance, all treatments for this patient's ulcer, present for nine years, failed. However, after six monthly applications of wheatgrass extract, the wound on his infected foot has healed completely. (Fig. 9.) Six other cases (existing for 5 to 10 years) also healed within four months. However, leprosy specialists in India assured me that healing was virtually impossible. (View cases.)

Fig. 4.  'Unhealable' leprosy wound present 15 years in 60 year old female heals after 4 once a monthly applications of wheatgrass extract.  (View 6 more cases)

Figure 10. Also, this severe spider bite that failed to heal after 9 years of orthodox medical treatment, completely healed after regular wheatgrass extract application in 7 months. 

But isn't this a negative outcome? Similarly, in Figure 11, we see positive changes in the appearance of the patient's psoriatic lesions since the extract was first applied 2 months earlier. These lesions had been unsuccessfully treated with a variety of applications, including 15 years of topical steroids which have severely thinned and damaged the skin's complex structure along with numerous protective and functional cells. Clearly, after 2 months' treatment (twice monthly) with wheatgrass extract, the lesions have significantly darkened and enlarged. This may appear to be a negative outcome, but it is more likely that the wheatgrass extract has "re-coupled" many cell receptors in the affected region, to the brain. Therefore, there has been "partial" recovery because damage by topical steroids have "over-powered" the central nervous system, reducing its "healing ability".


Psoriasis. Effect of wheatgrass extract on chronic psoriasis.
Fig. 11. Psoriasis. Present 10 years. The lesions on the left are dry, insipid and lack vitality. However, after two months wheatgrass extract application, the lesions on the right are now deeply coloured and enlarged, suggesting restoration of blood supply (and many other reparative changes) to the affected area due to "neuronal re-coupling". 

In my opinion, no. It is more likely that "re-coupling" of sensory receptors from the periphery (skin), to the brain has restored various physiological functions in the skin-damaged areas such as blood supply and lymphatic drainage. (Red arrows) It is also likely the patient may have ceased using the extract, being concerned that darkening and enlargement of the skin lesions might be negative signs, when, in my view, they suggest restoration of blood supply made possible by wheatgrass extract "re-coupling".

Treatment should therefore be directed towards "re-coupling" steroid-damaged areas on the skin with the brain, rather than doing more damage to the affected areas with topical steroids. This can be achieved by stopping all medications and only applying wheatgrass extract once or twice weekly.

This basic principle is important because it applies to the treatment of many other medical conditions and injuries - internal and external. For example, this supposedly "incurable" spider bite wound that defied medical treatment for nine years, has healed rapidly after treatment with wheatgrass extract!

To me, these "negative" changes are caused by peripheral cell receptors losing  contact with the brain, i.e."de-coupling", which leads to inadequate blood supply and nutrients reaching  the area, which in this case appear to be causing skin dryness, cracking etc., and "lifeless"pallid lesions. Also, abrupt cessation of topical steroids can cause severe rebound effects that may require emergency intervention with even more steroid "treatment".  Other steroid-caused symptoms, such as weeping skin, pain, erosion and infection are also common, but can be eliminated by topical wheatgrass extract.

Also, in Figure 12, this 17-year-old girl had suffered from psoriasis for three years, but topical steroids failed to help her. Yet, wheatgrass extract applied once weekly, repaired her skin completely in four months. It appears that her recovery was the result of wheatgrass extract restoring numerous physiological processes such as blood supply and touch sensation to the brain - via 'neuronal re-coupling' where there has been recovery of dysfunctional cell receptors.

Most drug treatments for psoriasis (and eczema) such as topical steroids, may reduce inflammation, but do nothing to restore the skin's damaged structure and functionality. In fact, they damage the skin further, exposing the patient to infection and often severe topical steroid withdrawal symptoms.

Compared with the patient in Figure 9, the remarkable response of this teenage girl's skin to wheatgrass extract, suggests that age is an important factor for predicting the patient's likely response.

Fig. 12. Peri-umbilical psoriasis in a 17-year-old female, present 2 years. Unresponsive to topical steroids and numerous other treatments. Healed by wheatgrass extract in 4 months with once weekly application.
Fig. 12. Peri-umbilical psoriasis in a 17-year-old female, present 2 years. Unresponsive to topical steroids and numerous other treatments. Healed by wheatgrass extract in 4 months with once weekly application.
Wheatgrass extract removes plaques, restores skin in 2 weeks
Fig. 13. Severe psoriasis unresponsive to medical treatment responds remarkably well to wheatgrass extract.
Fig. 13. Severe psoriasis unresponsive to medical treatment responds remarkably well to wheatgrass extract.

Just two weeks after wheatgrass extract was applied to the affected area, (Fig. 4.) there has been remarkable recovery of the patient's skin after two applications. The large areas of thick plaque have almost disappeared, revealing normal skin underneath. This suggests there has been a rapid "re-connection" (re-coupling) between the psoriatically damaged skin area and the brain which has then responded to help restore the patient's skin to normal. Also, the patient is young, which might facilitate  the healing process.

This case also suggests that the CAUSE of psoriasis might be related to dysfunction of efferent nerves from the brain to  "affected" areas. This concept is supported by a number of conditions such as skin disorders, hemorrhage, pain, itch etc. that frequently respond to wheatgrass extract

"Wheatgrass extract influences gene expression." (Prof. Panos Ioannou)

Prof. Panos Ioannou

"Gene expression is the process by which a gene gets turned on in a cell to produce protein or non-coding RNA." 

In the case of wheatgrass extract, it has been proven to contain at least 20 ligands that bind to and influence cell receptor DNA to functionally restore damage to neurotransmitters signalling the brain.

After observing numerous, frequently remarkable responses, (many of which appear on this website) it appeared to me that something in wheatgrass extract could be influencing gene expression by a broad spectrum of cell receptors, but I was unable to prove it. Then, in 2006, my theory was confirmed by internationally renowned biological scientist, Professor Panos Ioannou – the leading co-creator of the first human PAC genomic library.

I met the Professor on 28th July, 2004, when I delivered at his request, some wheatgrass extract to the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne. Having viewed some of my therapeutic outcomes using wheatgrass extract, he was particularly interested in my theory that it could be influencing gene expression of various cell receptors.

At the time, Panos was searching for plant extracts that might be capable of increasing fetal haemoglobin (HbF) production by erythroleukemic cells in three separate mice (murine) cell clones. To my surprise, a few days later he informed me that "the wheatgrass extract had induced fetal hemoglobin in three separate murine (mouse) cell clones" and, unlike the hundreds of other plants he had tested, "the extract strongly influenced gene expression". (See Fig. 14.)

Fig. 14. Professor Iannou reports: “Our measurements suggest a 3-5 fold increase in the production of fetal hemoglobin by the wheat grass extract. This is a substantial increase and could certainly provide an explanation why some thalassaemic patients may derive significant benefit from it.”

The Professor continued: "These results, albeit in vitro, increased the possibility that the beneficial effects of freshly juiced wheatgrass noted by Marwaha, et al. [an Indian hematologist], may have been due to the induction of gamma-globin chain synthesis leading to greater fetal hemoglobin content in the red cell (via the influence of gene expression); this would result in less redundant alpha-globin chains in the red cell, less Heinz body formation, and greater red cell stability with less red cell destruction."

According to Professor Ioannou, these were all important properties that could potentially assist thalassemic patients.

He continued: "Clearly, this hypothesis needs further study, but it holds the promise of some very exciting and simple therapeutic possibilities that may preclude the need for repeated blood transfusions.”

Panos. aged 54 and in his professional prime, succumbed to cancer on 18 April, 2005, and his important discovery about wheatgrass extract was unfortunately put aside. Nonetheless, he had proven that wheatgrass extract can influence gene expression. Also, with at least 20 ligands present in the extract backed by numerous clinical observations demonstrating their broad spectra of therapeutic effects, it appeared to work by re-activating dysfunctional receptor cells, enabling them to reconnect with the brain.

Clearly, a game-changing discovery.

Dr. Chris Reynolds.

(See how wheatgrass works for numerous medical conditions and injuries.)

You may view many more conditions that have responded remarkably well to wheatgrass extract here, or check out these examples:

>> Return to Cases & Conditions