Ulcerative colitis research supports use of wheatgrass

Wheat grass juice in the treatment of active distal ulcerative colitis: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial.

Ben-Ayre E.; Goldin E.; Wengrower D.; Stamper A.; Kohn R.; Berry E. 2002. Scand. J. Gastroenterology, Vol:37.4:444-449(6)

Background: Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease in which lesions form in the lining of the large intestine (colon). It is a chronic, recurring disease with alternating periods of health and disease. Ulcerative colitis can cause bloody diarrhea, cramping, bloating, fever, weight loss. Over time, patients with ulcerative colitis can have serious complications both from the illness, but from the treatment as well (chronic steroid use). Generally speaking, corticosteroids (like prednisone) are used to treat acute bouts of the disease and other medications are for maintenance or to prevent flare-ups.

Clinical Trial: Israeli researchers performed a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial to test the effects of 100 mL of orally consumed wheat grass juice in patients with acute ulcerative colitis. Patients with active ulcerative colitis were randomly assorted into two groups; one received wheat grass juice and the other received a placebo beverage (no wheatgrass). After randomization, the two groups had similar characteristics including age, gender, years of disease, and disease severity (i.e., the groups were evenly matched). Importantly, rectal bleeding was significantly worse in the wheatgrass group prior to treatment. The results were measured using a symptom severity instrument called the Disease Activity Index. The Disease Activity Index includes a measure of rectal bleeding, stool frequency, sigmoidoscopic score (direct visualization of the distal colon) and physician’s assessment. Importantly, neither the physicians nor the patient knew if which treatment was being given. Patients receiving wheatgrass juice had a statistically significant improvement in the overall Disease Activity Index and in the physician global assessment and rectal bleeding-diary results. Conversely, patients on placebo got significantly worse. Patients in the placebo group had significant deterioration in overall Disease Activity Index, physician global assessment, and rectal bleeding-diary results. No serious adverse events were noted in either group.

Conclusion: Wheat grass juice, when consumed daily during active ulcerative colitis reduced symptom severity and rectal bleeding. Moreover, patients who did not drink wheat grass juice did worse on these clinical tests. Wheat grass juice appears to be safe and effective as part of a treatment plan for ulcerative colitis.