Couch grass proponents tout it as a miracle treatment, beneficial for improving bodily functions such as wound healing, digestion and detoxification. It is available in capsules and extracts, but more commonly in juice form. Many rave about the benefits of couch grass, but, as with most medicines, it may have some dangers and side effects.
The most serious danger associated with couch grass is an allergic reaction, which can result in swelling of the throat or face and hives. A couch grass allergy can be serious; medical attention is important if these symptoms occur. Repeated ingestion of couch grass may result in more severe reactions each time. Individuals with wheat allergies should avoid couch grass. However, couch grass may actually be beneficial for reducing allergic reactions to other substances.
A common complaint of those drinking couch grass juice is headaches. The reason for headaches associated with ingesting couch grass is debated, but it is likely part of the detoxification process that couch grass promotes. Another possible cause is mould or bacteria residing on the plants, although City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture, disputes this theory. City Farmer claims that although mould is common on couch grass, it has no ill health effects. Additionally, any mould present is easy to rinse off before use.
Some people experience nausea after ingesting couch grass. This side effect may be a detoxification symptom that will pass with time as the body cleanses and becomes accustomed to couch grass. In some cases, nausea is a result of taking couch grass with other foods. Couch grass does not combine well with many foods, so to avoid nausea take it between meals. Avoid eating for an hour after drinking couch grass juice to give it enough time to assimilate.
Although there is no scientific proof of its ability to heal through detoxifying the body, couch grass is widely used for this purpose. Most of the side effects reported are also detoxification symptoms. Headache and nausea are two of these; other symptoms include fatigue, muscle ache and diarrhoea. Symptoms from couch grass usually subside within a day or two and give way to feelings of well-being. To reduce severity of symptoms, start slowly with half an ounce or less at a time and never take more than 88.7ml. of juice at a time.