Terminally ill patients. Transfusion can be reduced by wheatgrass

Effect of wheat grass juice in supportive care of terminally ill cancer patients—A tertiary cancer centre experience from India.

Dey S., Sarkar R., Ghosh P, et al. 2006 J. Clin. Onc. 24:18;2006:8634

Background: Researchers have previously shown that when animals with abnormally low levels of red blood cells and low hemoglobin (anemia) are given a solution containing chlorophyll and related compounds, the animals more rapidly recover from their anemia. Anemia is a common occurrence in patients undergoing chemotherapy to treat cancer, though it may also occur simply as a consequence of long-standing cancer. Anemia in this context is a source of significant suffering for patients and may require blood transfusions in severe cases.

Clinical Trial: Initially stimulated by this great variety of health benefits of wheatgrass juice, a team of researchers from the Palliative Care Unit of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute in India studied the effectiveness of wheatgrass in 400 terminally ill solid-organ cancer patients (age range, 22 – 87 years) examined over a period of 3 years. The study focussed on changes in the haemoglobin level, serum protein and performance status, in particular noting the capacity of wheatgrass juice to improve quality of life.

Fresh juice was prepared from the leaves and roots of 5-day-old wheatgrass, and 30 ml doses were administered daily for 6 months.The sites of the treated cancers were: lung (25% of patients), breast (20%), oesophagus (11%), colon (9%), ovary (8%), liver (6%), stomach (6%), and other (15%).

Conclusion: The results in 348 patients, after exclusion of 50 patients requiring transfusion support, were significant improvements in haemoglobin, total protein and albumin levels, and a performance status enhanced from 50% to 70% on the Karnovsky Scale (this runs from 100 to 0, where 100 is “perfect” health and 0 is death.) The authors concluded that wheatgrass juice is an excellent alternative to blood transfusion.

Dr. Chris’ comment:

Wheatgrass juice has also been used successfully in the treatment of Beta thalassemia where many patients require a blood transfusion every three or four weeks of their lives.