Drinking pulverised grass may not seem appealing yet, as Nikki Spencer found out, the health-conscious are reaping the benefits

Wheatgrass juice already has plenty of fans in Hollywood who swear by its energising and cleansing properties; now it's attracting a following at the juice bar in Planet Organic.

The shop in Westbourne Grove was the first place to sell the juice, which must be consumed freshly squeezed or it loses its nutritional value, but now others are catching on. The South Beach Cafe in Baker Street reckons it has trebled its sales of wheatgrass juice since opening for business in February.

Patricia Collins, a strong advocate of the drink's detoxifying effects, also plans to sell wheatgrass juice in her chain of station-based juice bars, Pure Juice, from next spring. "I swear by wheatgrass juice when I need to cleanse myself," she explains, "and my skin glows afterwards." But like all wonder products, there is a downside. "If you have a lot of toxins in your body, wheatgrass can be so powerful that you might throw up the first time you try it," she warns. Consequently, Collins won't be selling wheatgrass neat, but in cocktails with fruit or vegetable juices.

Wheatgrass may well have energising effects but, as one person put it, drinking it is "like being up-ended on a football pitch".

Just one sip might be all you can stomach.


Planet Organic 42 Westbourne Grove, W2 (0171-221 7171)

South Beach Cafe 3A & 3B Baker St, W1 (0171-935 1121).

Grow your own wheatgrass at home from seeds or buy trays of ready-grown wheatgrass from Planet Organic or The Fresh Food Company 326 Portobello Road, W10 (0181-969 0351).

BUY a special juicer (approx pounds 450 for an electric one, pounds 45 for a hand one).

DO NOT liquidise it