The Gramigna, whose scientific name is Agropyrum (or wild wheat, which vaguely resembles) Repens, belongs to the Gramineae family. It is called in different ways, among which the most common are "gramegna", "erva of dogs", tooth canine "," grain of the ants "," cortellina "or" falasca "(these are just some of the ways in which farmers they commonly call the gramigna).
Known since ancient times, well before the birth of Christ, the wheatgrass it has always been very widespread, and this despite the aura of negativity that has always surrounded it. This herb, in fact, is a real natural pest, detested by the peasants because everywhere it spread it quickly proliferated and ruined the crops; still today it retains its meaning of rotten grass, which infests like the plague and how this disease can hardly be chased away. Among its popular names there is also that of "erva of dogs" since the dogs eat weed leaves to free the stomach from the slag; even donkeys and horses feed on this herb, deriving advantages such as improving digestion and feeling lighter. However poorly viewed, this graminaceous herb enjoys remarkable depurative properties which also positively affect the human organism.
The wheatgrass is a monocotyledonous herbaceous plant very common in Europe, Asia and North Africa. Its scientific name is Agropyrum repens, but in some texts it is also referred to as Elytrigia repens, and is part of the Poaceae family.
Also very similar is Cynodon dactylon, commonly called red gramigna or gramignone, used massively for the realization of low maintenance lawns, especially in areas characterized by a long vegetative period and high temperatures.
They can measure from 50 to 100 cm in height with flat leaves, from 3 to 10 mm wide. The flowers are spike-shaped and on each stem are carried in groups of 4 or 5. Their color ranges from light green to dark green and appear between June and September.
The underground rhizomes are very long, have a round section and take on a whitish color. Their vigor makes the plant very difficult to stem, but it also qualifies it as an excellent ally if you want to restore and consolidate steep slopes.
The wheatgrass has a particular aspect that allows us to recognize it without a shadow of a doubt among many other plants. Of an intense green color, with a long rhizome and an erect stem, rough and without leaves, the wheatgrass it grows easily even in adverse weather conditions: it is often found in cracks in the ground, between the ruins and in general in all those uncultivated or poorly cared for lands through the use of herbicides. Usually it is sixty centimeters high, but it can also reach a height of one meter. In Europe, in particular, there are two types of gramigne that bloom both in the summer or in any case with the arrival of the first warm ones: one is the Agropyrum repens (the most widespread in Europe, with the double ear, zigzag or smooth), the another is the Cynodon dactylon, our local variety, the most common variant in Italy and which is properly called the canine grass. This type of bermuda has from three to seven spikelets that are arranged in a fan. This herb grows in places with high humidity, in often clayey soils, which go from the plain - sometimes even near the sea, to lakes or rivers - to the mountain. Of the Gramigna the rhizome is used, that is a part of the root that remains underground and is often very branched.The wheatgrass contains various active ingredients, including triticina, potassium salts, fructosan, mannitol, citric acid, malic, silicic and glycolic, amygdalin, agropyrene, inulin, vitamin A and B. The leaves, with their sweet taste, are also a good source of carotene, vitamin E and vitamin C.It is used very widely for its action on the urinary tract. Its diuretic effect is linked to the presence in large quantities of these active ingredients, even if science has not yet proved its efficacy.On the other hand, its activity with regard to kidney stones appears to be somewhat confirmed: in particular conditions, that is in the case of high-protein diets, the decoction of weights results to have a positive effect for the prevention of the formation of calcium oxalate stones. In particular, several experiments on rats have been conducted, with mostly positive results.5 OH tryptophan
Another active ingredient in abundance, 5 OH tryptophan, is a precursor of serotonin and is used in the treatment of depressive states.
The presence of this substance was highlighted in the early 1990s. It is a very important molecule as it is a metabolic precursor of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that intervenes in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle, mood and pain control.
Higher concentrations of tryptophan increase serotonin release, thus regulating anxiety and depressive states as well as positively affecting appetite and sleep regulation.
In particular, it proved to be very effective in neutralizing seasonal depression, that is the one that occurs in some subjects when there are few hours of light, or at the end of winter, with the days getting longer.
Tryptophan also intervenes in this case by stimulating the production of melatonin, dopamine and beta-endorphin.
Uses of wheatgrass
The wheatgrass can be used both for its therapeutic effects and as an ingredient in the kitchen.
Fresh roots can be used and consumed immediately. They are generally used for making decoctions.
Decoction: 30 grams of rhizomes are boiled in a liter of water for one minute. It is filtered and the obtained juice is thrown, which would be too bitter. The rhizomes are crushed and boiled again with 120 cl of water until the volume is reduced by ј. We wait for it to cool and add 10 grams of liquorice powder (except for those suffering from hypertension) or lemon juice. Let's use it as a purifying herbal tea.
Juice: it is obtained by boiling a tablespoon of pieces of roots in a glass of water. It has a very bitter taste, but should be drunk 3 or 4 times a day.
It is also possible to dry the rhizomes (in the shade or in the oven at a low temperature) and then reduce them to powder and use them later, in the same way.
Its action is enhanced by the association with other herbs. Here are some suggestions of herbal teas and decoctions:
• Purifying and invigorating: barley + weeds + licorice
• Anti-cellulite: add 20 grams of cherry petioles while the decoction of weeds cools down. The leaves of ash or blackcurrant are also excellent
• Constipation: decoction of wheatgrass + liquorice, sweet but effective effect
• Cystitis and urinary problems: weighing can be combined with blueberry leaves, white nettle, pear blossoms.
• Eczema at the time of the second boiling we add 20 grams of saponaria root
• Liver problems: at the second boiling we add 20 g of dandelion
• Calculations and renal colics as for kidney problems. Also excellent in combination with blackcurrant leaves and corn stigmas
• Menopause decoction + 20 g of licorice, 20 g of sage and 20 g of hawthorn
• Influenza add to the decoction 20 gr of borage leaves and flowers and sunflower petals.
Food uses wheatgrass
Fresh roots can be eaten, like the leaves.
Dried, however, they find a large number of uses, well established in the tradition of all Europe. At one time the powder obtained was toasted and mixed with wheat or other cereals and then used for the preparation of bread and pasta: it gave a particular taste and increased its final volume.
The same powder, in purity, was used as a substitute for coffee (very common use also for chicory root).
Also useful for obtaining a very pure alcohol or as an ingredient of a particular beer.
In large, deep and cylindrical container we insert 4 kg of washed and dried rhizomes. We often steam them with warm water without using any type of lid. Within a few hours, from the knots of the rhizomes, white shoots will develop. When they reach about 1 cm in length, we throw everything into a beer barrel, adding 1 kg of crushed juniper berries, 100 g of brewer's yeast and 2 kg of cane sugar. Add 8 liters of hot water and stir well with a stick. The following day we add another 8 liters of water and repeat again a third day. We close by leaving only a small aeration hole, closed with straw. Let it rest for about a week. Finally we pour into a clean stem, carefully filtering and let it rest for two more days. At this point our beer will be ready for consumption.
The wheatgrass is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows spontaneously up to two thousand meters above sea level. Originally from
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