All species of wheat are annuals; these grasses grow to 1 metre, and are members of the genus Triticum, which belongs to the Poaceae family.

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Durum or hard wheat, Triticum durum, is a hardy species that produces well, even in low rainfall and high temperatures. The long, pointed grains form in compact seed heads. Because of the high gluten content and the hardness of the seed, it is used principally for spaghetti and pasta.


Bread wheat T. aestivum, is a soft grain with a floury texture, mainly used in bread-making or other baked goods.

Spelt also called Dinkel wheat, T. spelta, is considered one of the very original grains used by man. The ears, or seed heads are long, slender, pointed and flinty. The grain grows well in harsh conditions, particularly in extremes of cold and high altitudes. Spelt has become popular as a health food, for the bioavailability of its high levels of nutrients. The protein content, of spelt, is slightly higher than other species, although this may differ with soil and climatic conditions. Spelt is considerably higher than other wheat in essential amino acids, and is a higher source of many vitamins and minerals.

Spelt contains carbohydrates as mucopolysaccharides, which have been found to play a decisive role in blood clotting and strengthening the immune system. The grain contains over 18 fatty acids, including 1.9% linoleic acid. Hildegard of Bingen, the famous 12th century German abbess, composer and herbal writer, esteemed spelt as… an easily digested, highly nutritious grain, creating happiness and contentment in the body. Recent European research has found that spelt wheat is effective for over 30 ailments, including angina and diabetes; also for constipation, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome and celiac (noteworthy, as people with such ailments, generally cannot tolerate the high gluten content of wheat flours). Gluten is the protein content that gives the elastic and tenacious consistency to dough, also resiliency and cohesion to baked bread. Spelt wheat is different: it contains a substance that aids gluten’s digestibility. Spelt seeds, flour and breads are now available in many health food shops.

Botanists have identified almost 30,000 species and developed varieties of wheat, which are assigned to one of several classifications, as having hard or soft kernels. This strength is a function of the protein-to-starch ratio in the endosperm, the starchy, middle part of the seed.

Occasionally Triticale may be available in health food shops. It is a grain, produced by crossbreeding wheat and rye for the intended purpose of the protein and bread-making merits of wheat and the durability and high lysine content of rye. Pronounced ‘trit-i-kay-lee’ the name is a combination of the Latin names of the plants: ‘triti’ referring to triticum for wheat, and ‘cale’ referring to secale for rye. The grain is found to contain more protein than wheat, has less gluten than wheat, and also the high level of lysine that is common in rye. Wheat is, undoubtedly, one of the most important grains cultivated, worldwide. Whatever would we do without bread on our tables?

To sprout wheat, purchase the grain from a health food shop; use spelt, if available. Bread wheat (soft grain) is also good for sprouts, as it is easy to digest, while durum hard wheat, is considered best for growing wheatgrass. Some shops may just stock wheat, with no indication, of kind. Don’t worry, all species, will sprout. If what you buy is hard wheat, it will germinate, however the sprouts will be harder to chew, if eaten as fresh sprouts. Soak the seed in a jar or bag 6-12 hours, rinse 2-3 times a day for 2-4 days and grow 1/2 -1cm long.


linolenic and linoleic acid, abscisic acid, gluten, over 80 enzymes including super oxide dismutase (SOD); co-enzyme Q10, sugars, lignans, squalene, bioflavonoids, fibre, chlorophyll – high in wheatgrass, protein 9-14% in wheat sprouts with 17 amino acids, including 8 essentials (amino acid score 64; only moderate lycine content)


A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, B17, C, D, E, F, H, K, P, choline, folic acid, inositol, PABA


boron, calcium, chlorine, chromium, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium, sulphur, zinc


alterative, antibacterial, antibiotic, antiinflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, cancerolytic, choleretic, deodorant, depurative, digestive, diuretic, hepatoprotective, hypoglycaemic, immune-enhancer, laxative, nutritive, sedative, tonic

Medicinal Uses

Germinated wheat sprouts are an effective and economical tonic to improve general health. Buy some whole grains, and sprout a handful of seeds every couple of days. The seeds become living food as soon as germination takes place and valuable enzymes are activated. Once eaten, these enzymes act as catalysts that perform important functions in the body, such as: to aid metabolism, neutralise toxins, cleanse the blood, and provide energy for innumerable bodily functions.

The enzyme diastase, activated by germinating the wheat, transforms starch into absorbable nutrients. The sweet taste of germinated wheat, tells us the enzymes are activated. Chewing the sprouts well makes their full potential available for cleansing and regenerating body cells, and as a powerful tonic. These enzymes, also aid the digestion of other foods, and can benefit anyone who suffers with digestive and assimilation problems. By eating wheat sprouts, we also get the benefit of the wheat germ, a rich source of vitamin E (usually removed in flour milling). Vitamin E is an essential nutrient for fertility, healthy skin, hair, glands, kidneys, muscles (especially the heart), circulation and the nervous system; also for building red blood cells and improving absorption of fats, protein, vitamins A, C and iron. Wheat germ (the seed embryo), in the early stages of plant growth, is considered one of the best remedies to help overcome a tendency toward miscarriage and birthing prematurely.

The sprouting process starts a beneficial modification of various nutritional elements. Research undertaken at the University of Minnesota, USA, showed that sprouting increases the nutrient density of food. At 3 days of sprouting, much of the original carbohydrate is converted to natural sugars, making it less mucus forming. During the 3 days of sprouting, the vitamin E content can increase 300%, vitamin C increase 600%, and the B vitamins have been found to increase from 20% to 1200%, with B17, the ‘anti-cancer vitamin’ 100% more than in unsprouted seed.

The protein content increases by 300% in the third day of sprouting, compared to the unsprouted wheat seed. Sprouted wheat, being a raw grain, should be eaten in moderate amounts, as in the early stages of germination (1-4 days) there is insufficient time to convert all raw starch into sugars, for ease of digestion.

However, if the sprouts are made into bread and baked at a low temperature, it becomes easier to digest and eat in a larger quantity. But, keep in mind, sprout bread is dense as it is usually made without yeast; therefore a slice of well-chewed sprout bread may still be harder to digest, because of the density of the loaf, than a slice of regular yeast bread. Refer to page 46 for sprout bread, and Essene bread (p 47).

Growing wheatgrass is another way to use the grain for its nutritive and healing properties, which can help build vitality for anyone desiring optimum health.

Human consumption of wheatgrass was popularised in the 1930’s by Charles Schnabal, known as the father of wheatgrass. He said: “Fifteen pounds of wheatgrass is equivalent to 350lb (157kg) of the choicest vegetable. We have not even scratched the surface of what grass can mean to man in the future”.

Wheatgrass juice has been used to detoxify the body by loosening and eliminating hard, encrusted, bowel build-up. Victoras Kulvinskas, a USA advocate of wheat grass, taught that the juice is the fastest way to eliminate internal wastes and provide an optimum nutritional environment: the enzymes of the grass helping to dissolve tumours. Ann Wigmore’s research, using wheatgrass in her personal life, then teaching and working with thousands of sick people (many with inoperable cancer), at the Hippocrates Health Institute, Boston, USA, inspires us to see how valuable wheatgrass could be, in our daily lives. The living-food program she advocated, gave countless people a new lease of life, many regaining health from near death from incurable cancers. Ann said, “Wheatgrass is perhaps the most powerful and safest healing aid there is.” She taught that wheatgrass, living sprouts, fresh fruit and vegetables and fermented foods were vital to health and prevention of degenerative diseases.

Wheatgrass is rich in chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll comprises 70% of wheatgrass; it is often referred to as ‘the life blood of plant life’ as chlorophyll closely resembles the molecules of human red blood cells. With so many similarities in structure, it is absorbed quickly through our digestive system and begins rebuilding our blood cells. Chlorophyll helps to regenerate the liver, detoxify and invigorate the body and energise the immune system, which is our natural means of prevention and healing from illnesses. Steve Meyerowitz, who has been called Sproutman in USA, says, wheatgrass is a powerful colon and liver detoxifier, blood alkaliser and oxygenator of blood and cells, and it is like ‘rocket fuel’ for the dynamic and energising benefits to the body. Steve has motivated many people to grow and eat sprouted foods, through his enthusiasm and numerous books, sharing his story of 20 years of disappointment with conventional medicine and his journey to better health and a new vibrant life. He calls the juice, ‘liquid sunshine,’ transformed into nutritive energy…water, oxygen, enzymes, protein, phytochemicals, chlorophyll, carotenoids, fatty acids, trace minerals, all rushing to revitalise you.”

Many health centres, include wheatgrass as juice and enemas, as an essential part of their therapy program of rejuvenation, operating on the principle that the body heals itself, if given the proper tools. As wheatgrass has a remarkable cleansing effect on the liver, this daily juicing regime can play a major role in recovery from degenerative diseases.

Chlorophyll has been found beneficial for strengthening the heart, intestines, vascular and lymphatic systems, lungs, glands and reproductive organs; also for treating anaemia, indigestion, diarrhoea, candida, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, peptic ulcers, colitis, sleeplessness, sinusitis, injuries to bones, tendons and skin, for reducing varicose veins, and for neutralising toxins, carcinogens, removing heavy metals and drug deposits; dealing with allergies and helping clear infections and mucus of the colon and to stimulate peristaltic action. Chlorophyll has the unique ability to be able to be absorbed directly, through the mucus membranes, in particular: the nose, throat and digestive tract.Ann Wigmore showed people at the Hippocrates Institute, how to use wheatgrass to help remove pesticides and other toxins from chemically grown fruit and vegetables. For supermarket produce to look as good as it does, we can assume that it has been heavily sprayed. Lettuce, for example, may be sprayed 10-14 times in its short growing season, of only 4-6 weeks. Ann explained how to help eliminate insecticides and other toxins from produce, by chopping a handful of wheatgrass and soaking it in a bucket of water for a few hours or overnight; the grass is strained off and the produce submerged in the water for 30 minutes. Drain and wipe the food dry and refrigerate.

Research done in the 1950’s, found chlorophyll to be an efficient deodoriser, which could effectively neutralise bad breath, body odours, foul smelling urine and stools. Numerous manufacturers now include chlorophyll in products like chewing gums, breath fresheners, deodorants and vaginal douches. Research has found that chlorophyll increases tissue cell activity and is effective for healing bleeding gums, pyorrhoea, gingivitis, and infected and ulcerated wounds.

Studies have identified a number of substances in wheatgrass juice that are powerful anti-cancer agents: the blood-building chlorophyll with oxygen producing benefits; the alkalising action; the enzyme action of living food, which promotes detoxification and elimination of mucus and decaying faecal matter on colon walls; strong antioxidants, like the mineral selenium and vitamins A, C, E and B17 (which has shown the ability to selectively destroy cancer cells, but leave healthy cells alone); and abscisic acid, a plant hormone that can reverse the growth of cancer (in high enough concentration to have a marked effect on cancer cells). Note: wheatgrass has been found to have up to a 100 times more vitamin B17, than the seed from which it came. Note too, that gluten is not present in wheatgrass because, after germination, gluten is broken down into smaller building blocks, needed for growing the grass. These smaller molecules are much easier for us to assimilate. Dr. Yasua Holta, a biologist at the University of California, isolated a compound from young wheatgrass, P4D1, which has the ability to stimulate the natural repair of DNA and the production of human sperm cells. Research scientists have never found any indication of toxicity in wheatgrass. It is easy to digest and assimilate.

Wheatgrass is often referred to as a complete food, with protein containing the 8 essential amino acids (although the lysine content is only of moderate amount); it contains a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals and over 80 identified enzymes. The enzymes include: protease, which assists in food assimilation, particularly proteins; amylase, that facilitates starch digestion; lipase, a fat splitting enzyme; transhydrogenase, for toning heart muscles; cytochrome oxidase, a powerful antioxidant; and superoxide dismutase (SOD), often called the antiageing enzyme, to protect us from damaged cells, due to infections, inflammation, irritants, poisons, radiation and free radicals.

To grow wheatgrass purchase wheat seed by the kilogram, ideally organically grown seed, and store it in a well-sealed container, so that weevils do not spoil it. If the hard wheat varieties are procurable, use these for growing wheatgrass, since they are sturdier and more nutritious than soft wheat varieties. However, soft wheat varieties are useful for wheat sprouts and sprout recipes like pastries, bread, other baked recipes and rejuvelac. Although the soft wheat varieties may be utilised for wheatgrass, growth may not be as vigorous and plants may not give 3 harvest cuts.

Soak 1 cup of seeds in 4 cups of water, for 12 hours.

Prepare a shallow tray or styrofoam fruit box (with the sides cut down to 5-6cm), add a layer of soil, peat, compost, or organic potting mix, 2-5cm deep. Seedling trays, available from garden centres, are also suitable for growing wheatgrass. Water the tray until moist (but not soggy) and spread the soaked wheat evenly over the surface, it is best to use a single layer of seed. Cover the seed with a thin layer of soil or several layers of wet newspaper. Wheat grass could be grown inside, in a light airy spot, or outside. When grown inside, it is said that wheatgrass is an excellent air freshener and helps neutralise toxins, which may be present in the air. Wheatgrass can be grown directly in the garden, if preferred.

After 2-3 days, the seeds will sprout and the

newspaper can be removed; keep the seeds moist. After 5-14 days, the grass will be 10-15cm high (depending on season and climatic conditions). Harvest with scissors or a sharp knife, cutting as close to the soil as possible. The plants will continue to grow and may be cut again as many as 1-3 times, before they have depleted their energy. Remove the soil/root mass from the tray/box and recycle in the compost heap or garden. For a continuous, daily supply of wheatgrass, new trays or boxes will need to be prepared and planted regularly.

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As wheatgrass is rich in enzymes, iron and chlorophyll, we can prize it highly, as a blood builder. The chlorophyll molecule very closely resembles that of our blood: the haemoglobin molecule. The primary difference is that the chlorophyll molecule contains magnesium, as its central atom, while the haemoglobin molecule contains iron; our bodies are able to utilise the chlorophyll and rebuild blood. Use wheatgrass, as Nature’s breath freshener, by chewing a small amount of cut wheat grass during the day, to eliminate the problem. Chewing wheatgrass helps to control abnormal appetite, to lessen hunger and prevent the desire to snack between meals.

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[Image] A. Essene bread made with rye B. loaf with flax seed and wheat C. round sprout loaf with wheat, barley sprouts and olives D. wheat that has soaked 12 hours and now drained to start sprouting E. rye sprouts 2 days old, ready to be ground for bread making F. rye seed soaking.

Culinary Uses

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To make Sprout bread soak 11/2 cups of wheat seeds

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To make Essene bread soak wheat for 12 hours and

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To make Sourdough bread prepare in the same way

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To make Wheat sprout flour, grow the sprouts to 1-11/2

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Sprouted wheat milk is made by blending in a food

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Spiced sweet bread Soak 2 cups of wheat 12 hours and

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Grain cracker biscuits Soak and sprout, for 12 hours,

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Wheat sprouts smoothie Blend in a food processor,

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