There is not much known about the safety of long-term use of wheatgrass as medicine, but it is considered likely safe when taken in food amounts (i.e., no more than 8 ounces per day). Nothing you eat or drink is without its side effects, however, and wheatgrass is no different.
Typical wheatgrass side effects
Some of the most common side effects that have been noted by people drinking wheatgrass juice include nausea, appetite loss, and constipation or diarrhea. Regular use of wheatgrass can also stain your teeth, according to some reports.
Some individuals have also reported headaches, hives, or swelling in the throat within minutes of drinking wheatgrass juice. Hives and a swollen throat are often signs of a serious allergic reaction, and you should get medical assistance immediately. You should also discontinue use of wheatgrass juice, since you might have a more severe reaction later.
Headaches and nausea
Nausea generally sets in when there is a detoxification process going on inside your body. Sometimes, though, it can be brought on by a specific taste. Whether or not the nausea is caused by the taste or detoxification has never been determined.
What is known, though, is that your body tries to rid itself of toxins however it can. Some critics of wheatgrass say that the human stomach cannot digest grass—they claim that it is only through the use of multiple stomachs that animals, like cows, are able to digest grass. Even this claim is suspect, however scientific it might sound, when you consider the fact that animals such as horses and sheep have only one stomach, and yet are able to eat and digest grass.
At any rate, the huge amounts of chlorophyll present in wheatgrass juice are said to help in the process of removing toxins by inducing the body tissues to release those stored toxic elements. This release of toxins can cause nausea, but this nausea subsides in time as the body releases more and more toxic elements.
Frequently, nausea can come hand-in-hand with headache and dizziness. These additional side effects are caused by rapid detoxification of the body. Other symptoms that are caused by detoxification can include stomach ache, skin eruptions, coughing, nasal congestion and a mild fever.
The nausea can often set in because of mold. There is some research to suggest that wheat grass, especially wheat grass grown indoors, is filled with mold. As you clean up your diet and eat healthier foods, your body becomes increasingly sensitive to mold until it starts to make you nauseated.
For most people, any side effects are minimal or non-existent, especially if they drink the juice on an empty stomach.
Constipation or Diarrhea
If you consume too much wheatgrass in a brief time span, your body cannot digest it properly. This can cause diarrhea or constipation, depending on how your body reacts to the juice. Everybody’s reaction will be different, so the best approach is to introduce wheatgrass to your body slowly, in small amounts, and then increase your dose little by little as your body adjusts to the new food.
Some people will find themselves allergic to wheatgrass. For instance, those who are allergic to or sensitive to wheat should not take wheatgrass, because it comes from the wheat plant. Additionally, those people with celiac disease must be very careful to assure themselves that their wheatgrass juice is gluten-free: if the plant is allowed to grow just a day too long, it will have produced the seeds that contain gluten, and the juice will be dangerous to those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
If you are allergic to wheatgrass juice, you will notice a swollen face, a swollen throat, or hives. If you experience any of these symptoms, treat it as an emergency and seek medical help immediately.