Triticum aestivum L.


Wheat (yellow in color) is one of the three most widely produced grains globally, along with corn and rice, and the most widely consumed by man in Western civilization since ancient times.

The grains are oval-shaped caryopsis with rounded ends. The germ protrudes in one of them and in the other there is a tuft of fine hairs. The rest of the grain, called the endosperm, is a reservoir of food for the embryo, which represents 82% of the weight of the grain. Along the ventral side of the grain there is a depression (furrow): an invagination of the aleurone and all coverings. At the bottom of the groove is a heavily pigmented vascular zone. The pericarp and testa, together with the aleurone layer, form the wheat bran. The wheat grain contains a part of the protein called gluten. Gluten facilitates the production of high-quality yeasts, which are necessary in baking.

About 95% of the wheat produced worldwide is of this species, which belongs to the grass family. This family also includes cereals such as rice, corn, oats and sorghum.

Composition and properties

Part used

Seed: bran, flour and germ.

Main constituents

Fiber, starch, cellulose, gluten (glutenins and gliadins), phytosterols (beta-sitosterol), vitamins (group B (B1, B9 (folic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), E, D, C, etc. ), minerals (potassium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus in the form of phytate, sodium, iron, calcium), polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids.

Each of these nutrients is located in a different section of the grain:

  • The endosperm or albumen is the inner layer of the wheat kernel and represents the largest percentage of the grain, 80-90% of the total weight. It is composed of starch.
  • Bran: it is the protective layer of the wheat grain, it is formed exclusively by fiber (it is removed when the flour is refined) and proteins. Wheat bran proteins are of high nutritional quality, since they have a balanced composition and are rich in essential amino acids such as lysine, tryptophan and methionine, which are deficient or limiting in wheat flour.
  • The next layer to the bran, but which is also external, consists of 3 parts or layers: the outermost is the pericarp, the central one is the mesocarp or tegument and the innermost epicarp, which are mainly composed of minerals, proteins and vitamins. This layer is also removed in the flour refining process.
  • The inner layer, testa or tegmen, is the intermediate layer between the external envelopes and the endosperm or albumen, and is composed of oils and colorants.
  • Germ: it is located in the inner part of the endosperm and represents between 2 to 3.5% of the grain, which has a high content of proteins, fats and vitamins of the B group, its main component is the oil or fat. Wheat germ oil is the vegetable oil with the highest content of tocopherols (vitamin E), so it has strong antioxidant properties.
  • Germinated seeds are rich in phytostimulins.
  • The flour is rich in starch (amylose and amylopectin), proteins, carbohydrates (pentosans, simple sugars and cellulose) and small amounts of lipids, minerals and various enzymes.

Due to the nutritional importance of its different components, wheat grain, whole or in parts, is one of the most widely consumed foods. Thanks to the hydrophilic character of carbohydrates, this food is also a source of quick energy, as it is easily attacked by hydrolytic enzymes. 

It is used in the manufacture of starch, protein flours for different food supplements, as an important culinary ingredient in bakery, pastry, confectionery, for gums or bran as animal feed.

Pharmacological action

Bran is traditionally used as a bolus-forming laxative, given its high fiber content (45%). It is also used as a satiating, hypocholesterolemic and mild hypoglycemic agent.

Wheat germ oil is a natural source of vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which act as antioxidants and are lipid-lowering.

Topically it acts as an emollient and re-epithelializer. 

  • Wheat germ oil is optimal for the care of mature skin.
  • It strengthens the skin's natural protective barrier, reduces moisture loss and improves skin suppleness.
  • Smoothes the skin and regenerates it.
  • Phytostimulins from germinated seeds:

            -Stimulate mRNA and DNA synthesis in fibroblasts and lymphocytes.

            - They activate healing and re-epithelialization phenomena by increasing chemotaxis, mobility and maturation of fibroblasts and, consequently, their capacity to synthesize collagen fibers and glycosaminoglycans.

            - They have also been shown to stimulate leukocyte invasion of the injured surface, increasing phagocytic activity, thus shortening the duration of the inflammatory phase of healing and re-epithelialization.

  • Wheat germ oil is also ideal for the care of hair and scalp with dandruff.

Wheat flour is nourishing due to the large amount of carbohydrates it contains and in topical application is antiphlogistic.


Traditional uses:

  • Bran: constipation, adjuvant in the treatment of overweight, hyperlipemia and diverticulosis. Its possible usefulness in the prevention of colorectal cancer is recommended.
  • Bran and/or flour (white and/or integral): it has been used topically as a heat vehicle in hematomas, bruises, joint inflammations, myalgias and unspecific skin eruptions in infants.
  • Wheat germ oil: adjuvant in the treatment of hyperlipemia.

Instructions for use

Internal use:

  • Bran: 20 g per day, in two intakes, accompanied by plenty of water. We recommend establishing the dose progressively and adding carminative plants to alleviate flatulence.
  • Germ: a tablespoon or dessert spoon 1 to 3 times a day.
  • Wheat germ oil: 1 to 5 mL per day.

External use:

  • Bran and flour: popularly used in the form of heat in the form of plasters or compresses prepared with hot water and vinegar.
  •  Oil (up to 30%), in oleates, creams and body milks.


Flour: gluten intolerance.

Side effects  

  • Bran: flatulence.


Bran may interfere with the absorption of other medications administered concomitantly, so it is recommended to avoid concomitant administration. As a general rule, it is recommended to administer wheat bran preparations at least half an hour before or one hour after taking any medication.

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