The consumption of wheatgrass in the Western world began in the 1930s as a result of experiments by Charles F. Schnabel and his attempts to popularize the plant.
Schnabel, an agricultural chemist, conducted his first experiments with young grasses, when he used fresh cut grass in an attempt to nurse dying hens back to health. The hens not only recovered, but they produced eggs at a higher rate than healthy hens. 
Encouraged by his results, he began drying and powdering grass for his family and neighbors to supplement their diets. The following year, Schnabel reproduced his experiment and achieved the same results. 
Hens consuming rations supplemented with grass doubled their egg production. Schnabel started promoting his discovery to feed mills, chemists and the food industry.