Injured? Forget the ice. Use wheatgrass.

How often we must have seen sportsmen and women pressing plastic bags full of crushed ice against pulled muscles and bruises like they were security blankets? Knowing there was a better way to hasten recovery and ease pain, I wonder why ice is used at all for sports injuries. After all, ice does not stop bleeding either from the skin, the nose or from deeper tissues.

Researchers have shown that ice can cause inflammation and swelling in the deeper tissues which significantly slows recovery.(1)

There also seems to be little agreement among experts about how long ice should be applied.(2)

Ice, ethyl chloride spray and other coolants may numb the skin and perhaps relieve pain a little, but essentially they do little if anything to assist or hasten tissue recovery.

Yet it appears these rather primitive methods are all that’s available for emergency treatment of sports injuries. If they don’t stop the bleeding that predisposes to slow healing and recovery, then they shouldn’t be used.

But what alternatives are there? Isn’t there SOMETHING that does a better job?

Yes, there is. Wheatgrass. And considering the enormous amount of playing and working time lost from sports injuries, not to mention the pain and disability they cause, it’s time the sporting world woke up to this significantly better and more effective alternative treatment.

How can wheatgrass be more effective than ice?

Let’s look at an example. The young footballer pictured below received a hefty boot to the head causing a massive bruise within minutes (Left). On the right is the bruise less than 24 hours later. All it required to achieve this stunning result was to smear some wheatgrass cream over the bruise. No ice or compression was applied. It is not necessary because wheatgrass penetrates the skin, stops the underlying bleeding and rapidly reduces swelling, often within 24 hours.

Large hematoma following kick by football boot. Wheatgrass extract applied immediately.
Large hematoma following kick by football boot. Wheatgrass extract applied immediately.
Swelling (hematoma) 12 hours after injury
Swelling (hematoma) has disappeared 12 hours after injury.

(See here for enlargements and more discussion).

Any kind of injury can cause tissue damage. Blood vessels  rupture and blood spreads into surrounding tissues causing inflammation and swelling. Pressure build-up then slows muscle, nerve and other tissue recovery.

So, the most important thing to do for any injury is STOP THE BLEEDING! Blood in the tissues can do a lot of damage. The sooner wheatgrass is applied, the sooner the deep and surface bleeding stops, swelling is reduced and blood supply returns to the damaged                                                                   tissue. Rapid recovery is the usual outcome.

Too good to be true? Well, I can assure you it’s not.

I have used an extract of wheatgrass to treat numeorus injuries since 1995. It is without doubt a powerful hemostatic agent i.e. it stops bleeding quickly.  Blood noses, open wounds, bruises, sprained ankles, cuts, scratches, abrasions and deep tissue injuries such as corked, torn or pulled muscles – usually respond quickly to wheatgrass.

But how does it work?

Wheatgrass is an impressive healing agent, and soft tissue injury healing is just one of the things it can work well for. Following is an attempted basic, “explanation” as to why it might work.

Thousands of clinical observations accompanied by supportive research suggest that wheatgrass contains bioactives that activate growth factors – most likely IGF-1 – that stimulates production by DNA of the numerous proteins required for the healing process. The immune response, wound healing and its ability to stop bleeding and hasten absorption of blood clot are just a few of the functions vital to the maintenance and repair of damaged tissues mediated by growth factors. But this is only part of the story.

The head bruise shown above illustrates this process well.

These activators may well turn out to be the elusive and so far unidentified “Grass Juice Factor” first described by Kohler in the 1930’s. What they appear to do is “kick start” and thereby facilitate the natural healing process.

Clearly, the first priority in treating sports and other traumatic injuries is to STOP THE BLEEDING AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. If you play sport or have anything to do with managing sports injuries, I can guarantee that if you use wheatgrass, you will see a significant improvement in injury recovery time – and quickly.

Too good to be true? Not at all. Try it and see.

Some injuries I have seen respond well to wheatgrass

Pulled muscles (hamstrings, quadriceps, calf, loins, back)

  • Groin injuries (osteitis pubis, adductor tendinitis)
  • Blisters, abrasions, wounds, bruises, corks – heal in a few days, not weeks. Perfectly safe to use on open wounds.
  • Muscle cramps
  • Blood rule – wheatgrass stops bleeding in a few minutes
  • Shin splints
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Runners knee
  • Sprained ankle

References: (click on links for abstracts)
1. Meeusen R, Lievens P. The use of cryotherapy in sports injuries. Sports Med. 1986 Nov-Dec;3(6):398-414
2. MacAuley, D. Do textbooks agree on their advice on ice? Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. 11(2):67-72, April 2001.

Dr. Chris Reynolds.