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Wheat Common

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  • Botanical: Triticum aestivum
  • Family: Poaceae
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Wheat Common

Botanical

Triticum aestivum

Family

Poaceae

Known as

Common wheat, Wheat, Triticum aestivum, Bread Wheat, Weichweizen, Brotweizen, Weizen

Old Use

culinary

Collection Times

August to September

Parts Used

grain, seed

Aroma

earthy

Medicinal

anxiety, bronchitis, bronchitis, cancer, coughs, dermatitis, gout, heartburn, rheumatism, sweaty feet, gynecological issues, stomach cramps

Hormone & Sexual Organs

estrogen dominance

Infection & Inflammation

fever, throat infections

Muscle & Joints

gout, rheumatism

Mind & Nerves

anxiety

Respiratory System

cough

Stomach & Intestinal

abdominal pain, cancer, cancer prevention, heartburn

Skin & Hair

dry skin, sweaty feet

Properties

antipyretic, antitoxic, anti inflammatory, aphrodisiac, sedative, stomachic

Extraction

cold pressed

Description

An annual, largely hairless grass, producing a spike (flowering and fruiting part) on each of its 1–5 culms (stems). Height is variable, from about 1.2–1.5 m for 1930s cultivars to about 85 cm for most modern cultivars, with a simultaneous strengthening of the culm so as to bear the increased weight (resulting from the increased grain yield) of the spike. This has been achieved by incorporating dwarfing genes, from Japanese cultivar Norin 10, into most modern (post 1960s) varieties.

The shorter height of modern cultivars enables them to be grown with fertiliser and irrigation; otherwise they would grow too tall and fall over (lodging).

Culms (stems): Hollow with hairless or hairy nodes. Each culm bearing around six leaves with blades up to 20 mm wide and up to 35 cm long. The position of the uppermost ‘flag leaf’ blade (upright, semi-nodding or nodding) is an important character as it plays a leading role in the metabolic assimilation rate and hence productivity of the plant.

Spikes (flowering and fruiting parts): Up to 15 cm long, almost square in cross-section, with 2–5 rudimentary spikelets (clustered units of flowers and bracts) at the base of 10–25 fertile spikelets (of which the number and density in the spike varies greatly among cultivars).

Glumes (empty bracts that enclose the spikelet) are keeled in the upper half, the keel extending into a tooth. Lemmas (bracts) are toothed or awned; when awned these increasing in length up to around 13 cm near the apex of the spike. Truly awnless bread wheat cultivars do not exist as there is always at least a short awn on some of the lemmas.

Seeds: Typically an average of two per spikelet (but significant variation has been recorded), oval in shape with a central groove on the ventral surface and a terminal tuft of hairs. Endosperm mealy (or sometimes flinty).

Properties & Uses

The young stems are used in the treatment of biliousness and intoxication. The ash is used to remove skin blemishes. The fruit is antipyretic and sedative. The light grain is antihydrotic. It is used in the treatment of night sweats and spontaneous sweating. The seed is said to contain sex hormones and has been used in China to promote female fertility.

The seed sprouts are antibilious, antivinous and constructive. They are used in the treatment of malaise, sore throat, thirst, abdominal coldness and spasmic pain, constipation and cough. The plant has anticancer properties. 

Other Uses

The straw has many uses, as a biomass for fuel etc, for thatching, as a mulch in the garden etc. A fibre obtained from the stems is used for making paper. The stems are harvested in late summer after the seed has been harvested, they are cut into usable pieces and soaked in clear water for 24 hours. They are then cooked for 2 hours in lye or soda ash and then beaten in a ball mill for 1½ hours in a ball mill.

The fibres make a green-tan paper. The starch from the seed is used for laundering, sizing textiles etc

Cautions

None known

Distribution

Of uncertain origin, perhaps the Middle East or Armenia

Constituents

Alkaloids, Flavonoids, Glycosides, Saponins, Tannins, Phytosterols, Triterpenoid, Amino acids, Protein