Case Studies - Wheatgrass Therapy

 

Injuries & Wound Healing

 
Injuries: Don't use ice, use wheatgrass
 

Having observed thousands of rapid recoveries from pulled muscles, ligaments, tendons, large bruises etc. using wheatgrass extract, it is hard to believe that ice is still used at all. Wheatgrass is just so much more effective. These observations have convinced me that wheatgrass somehow activates the Growth Factors responsible for rapid healing.

 

Professor Lan Zhou and colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic in the US recently showed that when skeletal muscle is injured (in laboratory mice), remarkably high levels of Insulin Growth Factor -1 (IGF-1) are released from the inflammation that occurs. (IGF-1) is vitally important to the healing process. It follows that inflammation is essential for hastening healing. Therefore, applying ice to reduce inflammation actually slows down the effects of (IGF-1) thus prolonging the healing process.

 

For years we have been told that first aid for a muscle injury is RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. However this research suggests that applying ice and other anti-inflammatory interventions may be the exactly wrong thing to do after an acute injury. Swelling and pain can be very disconcerting for patients and using RICE can shorten both the duration of swelling and pain, which is probably why it has been traditionally used.However ice and anti-inflammatory drugs like NSAIDs block the inflammatory response. They slow the recruitment of macrophages to the site of injury and, as such, those macrophages cannot release IGF-1 into the affected tissues.

 

While ice and NSAIDs may make you feel better after an injury, by using those agents, you are preventing the body from repairing itself. At best, this greatly prolongs healing. At worst, you may not regain the full potential of that injured muscle. Resting an injured muscle (temporarily) is still sound advice, but now we know that it is best to skip the ice.

 

Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal that published the article (Read abstract) said, “For wounds to heal we need controlled inflammation, not too much, and not too little. It’s been known for a long time that excess anti-inflammatory medication, such as cortisone, slows wound healing. This study goes a long way to telling us why.”

 

So, instead of slowing healing with ice, it makes sense to speed it up with wheatgrass.

 
Large bruise caused by a blow from the end of a football boot

Not iced. SuperBalmed! Gone overnight!

before applying Superbalm
after applying superbalm
 
Wound healing. Think growth factors.
 
Orthodox Wound Management

"In a moist environment exudate provides the cells involved in wound repair with nutrients, controls infection, and provides the best environment for healing." (1)

 
I think most of us who work at healing wounds would agree with this statement. We know that exudate contains a high concentration of protein and cellular debris that responds to inflammation, helps prevent infection and facilitates healing. Most importantly, it contains growth factors without which no wound would ever heal.
 
Why then do we wash the wound clean every time we change dressings if we’re washing away exudate loaded with healing potential? And why do we keep the wound moist when this could reduce growth factor concentration and bioactivity? The reason is simple. Exudate is sticky. It adheres to dressings making them difficult to remove which can be painful for the patient. There must be a better way – and there is.
 
Approaching Wound Healing With A Growth Factor Mindset

When you think about it, the orthodox approach to wound healing is rather mechanistic. Keeping the wound moist is an age-old concept based mainly on clinical experience, the conventional wisdom that “moist is good”, and research showing cells grow faster in wet rather than dry environments. So let’s approach the problem from a different perspective. Since I began using a herbal (wheatgrass) extract in 1995, I have been able to achieve much faster healing rates than one normally observes, and have never had a wound or burn that became infected. I managed this not by keeping the wound surface moist, but by keeping it dry.

 

How can this be possible? The secret I believe, lies in the ability of wheatgrass to stimulate growth factor activity. If there was such a thing as an ideal wound-healing facilitator, it would at least need to be able to:

 

1. Seal the wound surface to retain exudate

2. Prevent dressings adheringto the wound surface

3. Prevent infection

4. Reduce inflammation

5. Hasten healing

6. Prevent or reduce pain

7. Reduce scarring

 

Interestingly enough, all these characteristics are dependent upon the presence and activity of growth factors. Growth factors are small proteins that attach to receptors on the cell surface. Their main function is to activate cell proliferation and differentiation by influencing gene expression. For example, fibroblast growth factor (FGF) causes epithelial cells to divide and help re-cover wound surfaces. Numerous other factors help to reduce inflammation and pain, prevent infection and reduce scarring. But, if we wash these factors away when dressings are changed and dilute them with wet dressings, it is more than likely the healing process will be slowed, not accelerated.

 

In fact, we need to re-epithelialise the wound surface as quickly as possible. Today, there are many so-called wound-healing facilitators, but they are expensive, often time consuming to apply and, unfortunately, not always successful. So why not use something that hastens re-epithelialisation and prevents infection at a fraction of the cost of more sophisticated alternatives?

 
Wheatgrass As A Wound-Healing Facilitator
 

Since the 1930’s, wheatgrass (and other cereal grasses) have been known to contain “growth factors” (2) (the term used in those days to describe substances that caused macroscopic growth in laboratory animals) capable of promoting rapid re-epithelialisation of acute wounds and burns. (3, 6-10) Wheatgrass was also used as a potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent.

However, by far the most important attribute of wheatgrass is its ability to generate a layer of new epithelial cells to cover the wound (or burn) surface within 24-36 hours. This process seals the wound, contains the exudate and eliminates ooze and old blood.

 
Wheatgrass Wound Healing
 

Wound management using wheatgrass extract

  • Wheatgrass promotes rapid re-vascularisation and re-epithelialisation of wound surface.
  • Exudate is preserved while wound surface remains dry.
  • ‘Non-stick’ surface facilitates pain-free removal of dressing.
  • Wound heals faster due to retained exudate.
 

This wound-healing method represents a major departure from orthodox wound-healing methods in that it:

1. Allows growth factor activity to remain undisturbed by dressing changes.

2. Prevents infection by sealing the wound surface.

3. Renders the wound dry and clean providing a “non-stick” surface that enables easy, painless removal of dressings; dressings need changing only every 2 or 3 days.

4. Significantly reduces inflammation, pain and scarring.

Note: These attributes can also be very important in the treatment of burns. The sealed wound prevents fluid loss and infection and pain is often rapidly relieved, possibly via Substance-P inhibition.(4)

 
How Does Wheatgrass Work?

No one really knows, but I have already mentioned 1930’s evidence of high levels of growth factors in cereal grasses. Dubbed the “ Grass Juice Factor” it not only dramatically increased growth rates in laboratory animals, but increased fertility rates as much as 85%. Many years later, a laboratory study (5) showed increased production of growth hormone in rats fed green barley (cereal) juice. Although we can’t extrapolate to humans, perhaps this study provides a clue. After all, growth hormone activates growth factors that affect all body cells. However, this does not explain the rapid re-epithelialisation of wounds by wheatgrass. Observations of numerous wheatgrass-treated wounds suggests to me a local process of growth factor stimulation rather than a systemic one. I will illustrate with two of my own cases.

 
Wheatgrass Hastens Skin Graft Healing
 
skin graft before
This patient had a squamous cell carcinoma (malignant skin cancer) removed from her finger 30 days prior to this picture being taken. The wound was covered with a skin graft, but after a month of dressings it lacks vitality and the graft is struggling
Skin Graft 16 hours later
This photograph was taken just 16 hours after the patient applied a single dose of wheatgrass Skin Recovery Spray on the wound. This has been completely debrided (cleared of loose, flaking dead skin) and the grafted skin looks very healthy with a vital appearance and a good blood supply. This is typical of how effective wheatgrass is for wound healing.
Skin Graft 10 days later
10 days after commencing daily wheatgrass spray. (Picture is enlarged to show detail.) Apart from a small area where the wound was traumatised, the graft has healed seamlessly, the graft skin is strong with good blood circulation.
Skin Graft 4 Weeks Later
4 weeks. The graft has healed completely using only wheatgrass spray and dry dressings.
 
From Patient:

Hi Dr. Reynolds,

My wheatgrass spray arrived yesterday...I took before and after pictures. 16 hours apart. The results are truly amazing. My skin graft today is now exactly one month ago. I should have had this product weeks ago. It’s hard to believe that these pictures are less than 24hrs apart. I truly hope you can see these pictures...let me know, Many thanks.

 

P. S. The skin around the wound is sloughing; each time I wash it with soap and water skin peels off. This morning after I washed it, I accidentally bumped it before my dressing application and a very thin layer of skin peeled off. That is why the wound bed looks so red.

L. C. USA.

 
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