About multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a slowly progressive disease of the nervous system that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is called a “demyelinating” disease because of the patchy destruction of myelin – a coating around the nerve that speeds up electrical impulses passing along it.
Nerve cells send electrical signals along their axons (conduction channels) to specific targets such as muscles. Many of these cells are covered with a fatty substance called a myelin sheath that enhances nerve conduction about 50 times faster than unmyelinated nerve axons. In multiple sclerosis, this sheath becomes damaged through demyelination and disrupts nerve function.
Some effects of MS
There can be numerous symptoms such as muscle weakness, numbness, visual and emotional disturbances. The course of the illness is highly variable and unpredictable and there is no specific treatment, although sometimes oral steroids can help. The cause is unknown, but an immunological abnormality is suspected.
Some positive effects of wheatgrass
Since 1995, I have treated a small number of patients with this condition using wheatgrass – some of whom have had encouraging results.
Case No. 1.
The most dramatic recovery involved a young nurse with three young children who somehow managed to struggle through work for half a day a couple of times a week, but spent most of her time when she wasn’t looking after her children, resting. She had terrible chronic fatigue.
After taking wheatgrass extract for about two weeks she called me from the Melbourne Royal Show to tell me that the previous year she had to be pushed round the grounds in a wheelchair. This year, she had spent all day walking round the showgrounds with her three kids and felt on top of the world!
In 2002, I noted that, “Several reports from other sources have provided equally significant improvement in fatigue, fewer and less severe relapses. One 54 year old male patient who had permanent neurological symptoms remained in remission for two years, but relapsed when he stopped taking the extract.”
Case No. 2.
Recently I received a call from a young woman who had suffered from MS for a number of years. Her main symptoms were loss of sensation and numbness in both hands – a substantial disability. I had sent her some commercially produced wheatgrass extract a month earlier which she took three times a day.
She rang to tell me how delighted she was that she had burnt her hand. This seemed a little unusual until she pointed out that she had had no sensation whatever in either hand for five years. It’s early days, but this possibly suggests that the MS-damaged nerves to her hands may be starting to recover.
(Note: She has subsequently regained full sensation in both hands. August 22, 2007 – View testimonial )
Case No. 3.
Another young woman who had suffered MS for 17 years recently reported dramatic recovery of fatigue, enabling her to regain an almost normal lifestyle. She also mentioned her hair and facial skin were now “glowing” and that even her partner and friends had noticed how well she looked.
How does wheatgrass work for MS?
I don’t know for certain, but in laboratory animals it has been shown that barley grass (a cereal grass like wheatgrass) increases production of growth hormone and the hormone prolactin (which stimulates breast milk production) from the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. This may have something to do with recovery of damaged nerve tissue.
A Canadian study, (See abstract offsite) was done based on the observation that many MS patients’ symptoms improve or disappear during pregnancy i.e. when prolactin levels are high. The scientists showed that increased prolactin levels in mice demonstrated “a striking ability to repair demyelination” suggesting that the hormone could be a potential therapeutic agent for MS.
Perhaps wheatgrass also increased prolactin levels in the MS patients mentioned above, causing remyelination of damaged nerve cells subsequent improvement in nerve transmission.
Dr. Chris Reynolds.