|Wheat grass may help thalassaemia patients – for educational purposes only|
|vazirani India – Tuesday 22 February 2005 Subject: Wheatgrass Juice|
|Doctors at the advanced paediatric centre of the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine and Research (PGIMR) has found that the juice, when administered orally to patients of thalassaemia – a hereditary anaemia marked by abnormally small red blood cells – increases their haemoglobin count and drastically reduces the need for blood transfusion. R K Marwaha, the head of the division of haematology-oncology of the centre, said: “Three years ago, during therapy, we came across a child from Ludhiana whose transfusion requirement was on the decline. We were surprised and asked his parents about his diet and found he was drinking wheat grass juice every day. We decided to start therapy trials.” He said that wheat grass therapy trials were being conducted on 16 children, who were administered 100 ml of the juice every day. “From once a fortnight, the frequency of blood transfusion required has gone down to once in three months, and the blood requirement of 50 per cent of the children has decreased by 25 per cent,” Marwaha said. “Their haemoglobin count has also remained above the normal mark of 11 gm,” he added.
He further said that bone marrow transplant, which was very expensive, was the only cure available for thalassaemia patients.
Marwaha said: “For children with a hereditary disorder, regular blood transfusion is the only option. By doing that we try to maintain the haemoglobin count between 9-10 gm.”
“But repeated blood transfusions can lead to the damage of vital organs in children because of iron concentration. It also reduces the life expectancy of such children. Now with the oral intake of wheat grass juice, blood transfusions can be reduced and children can have a longer life,” he said.
The haematologist said that in the beginning his team enrolled 38 children whose parents were told to grow wheat grass at home.
When the shoots of the plant were six inches long, the parents were told to extract its fresh juice and feed 100 ml of it daily to their children.
Marwaha said that after six months the children were examined, but only around half of them qualified for further therapy because all had not consumed the juice daily.
“The results were astonishing. There was remarkable improvement in the haemoglobin count of eight children while the rest also responded to the therapy,” he said.
“I am analysing the structure of wheat grass and its similarity with blood. The solid content of wheat grass juice contains 70 per cent chlorophyll, which has the same atomic structure as haemoglobin. The only difference between the two molecules is their metallic atom content. While the haemoglobin molecule consists of iron, chlorophyll one is made of magnesium,” he informed.
Marwaha said that a pharmaceutical company in Pune, Maharashtra, was trying to manufacture tablets with wheat grass juice, something available abroad.
He added that while conducting the therapy he came across a study done 30 years ago by a woman called Ann Wigmor in the US.
“She listed many benefits of wheat grass for treating a wide range of ailments, from dandruff and to cancer. But thalassaemia did not figure in her list,” he said.
If this therapy proves successful in the long run, it will benefit a large number of children in India who suffer from thalassaemia.
Input from naturopath Walter Last:
With any disease always get the basics right first. E.g intestinal sanitation – repopulating the guts with acidophilus-bifido and other lactobacteria, allery testing or low allergy diet – avoiding processed food, cows milk protein, sweet food and gluten grains, using instead legumes (lentils, chickpeas), veggies (esp. green) and fresh fruit, all preferably organic. Then use a multivitamin-mineral and in addition lots of nutrients known to benefit sickle cell anemia: natural vitamin E, folic acid, aged garlic extract, green tea extract, B12, halibut liver oil capsules, vitamin B6, selenium, zinc, magnesium, prickly ash bark, frequent sun exposure, spirulina or chlorella.