Lalang Grass Rhizome (Imperatae Rhizoma)
What is Lalang Grass Rhizome (Imperatae Rhizoma)?
Lalang Grass Rhizome (bai mao gen, 白茅根), also known as Imperatae Rhizoma, is the dried roots of Imperata Cylindrica. Also named Cogon Grass or Blady Grass, this plant grows in tropical and sub-tropical areas in Southeast Asia, commonly occupying a wide variety of habitats including grasslands, deforested areas, cultivated fields and road sides.
When young, the plant looks like a typical grass root with yellow or white coloured leaves. When the plant matures and dies, it then becomes dark red, giving it the nickname ‘blood grass’. The rhizome of the plant is harvested in Spring or late fall, cleaned, dried, then cut into small pieces for medicinal usage.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the deep red colour of the herb was believed to be indicative of the herb’s usage in treating blood conditions. Lalang Grass Rhizome falls under the category of ‘Herbs that stop bleeding’. This herb has hemostatic properties that can help to address various types of hemorrhages and echymosis. It tends to be used externally.
Cold in nature, Lalang Grass Rhizome helps individuals with too much Heat in their body, such as those experiencing a Yang Excess or a Yin Deficiency, to restore a healthy yin-yang balance. Sweet in taste, the herb can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, the herb targets the Lungs, the bladder and the stomach.
Functions and Benefits of Lalang Grass Rhizome (Imperatae Rhizoma)
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Lalang Grass Rhizome has the following benefits:
Lalang Grass Rhizome can stop bleeding caused by Heat in the blood. This is because when the herb enters blood, it can clear Heat in the blood system. Also, as the herb can induce diuresis, Lalang Grass Rhizome can effectively address hematuria and blood stranguria caused by accumulation of Damp-Heat in the bladder. Other bleeding symptoms that it can address include epistaxis, nosebleed and hematemesis.
Through its actions of clearing Heat and promoting urination, Lalang Grass Rhizome can alleviate oedema, relieve stranguria, excrete Dampness and relieve jaundice caused by Damp-Heat.
In addition, Lalang Grass Rhizome can clear Heat in the stomach and Lungs. The herb is indicated for emesis, to arrest vomiting, cough and dyspnea. Other symptoms caused by stomach and Lung Heat that this herb can address are irritability, nausea, thirst and wheezing.
Modern studies have suggested that Lalang Grass Rhizome can treat various digestive disorders such as indigestion, diarrhoea and dysentry.
An effective styptic as well as an antibacterial agent, Lalang Grass Rhizome can promote wound healing and prevent lesions from becoming affected. Many healthcare practitioners use Lalang Grass Rhizome as part of a poultice to apply the salve on broken skin.
Other potential benefits of Lalang Grass Rhizome include treating Kidney inflammation and hypertension.
How to Use Lalang Grass Rhizome (Imperatae Rhizoma)
The recommended dosage of Lalang Grass Rhizome is 15 – 30g when taken as a decoction, and 30 – 60g when taken fresh. However, the exact dosage may be adjusted depending on the conditions being treated.
Both fresh and dried Lalang Grass Rhizome are available at most Asian markets and health food stores.
If you would like to use the herb topically, you can take a few blades and char them till they are slightly burnt. Mix it with some water till it becomes a paste. Afterwards, apply a thin layer of the concoction over the wound till it stops bleeding. Do clean the wound thoroughly before application.
Cautions and Side Effects of Lalang Grass Rhizome (Imperatae Rhizoma)
Lalang Grass Rhizome should not be used by individuals experiencing Cold associated with Spleen Deficiency. Also, individuals who are vomiting due to Cold in the Middle Jiao should avoid consuming this herb too.
As the herb has a diuretic effect, it should not be used concurrently with other diuretics such as chlorothiazide, hydrochlorothiazide, furmoside (Lasix), bumetinide (Bumex) and torsemide (Demadex).
We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Lalang Grass Rhizome into your healthcare routine.
Here is a summary for Lalang Grass Rhizome:
- Herb name (Chinese): 白茅根
- Herb name (Pin Yin): bái máo gēn
- Herb name (English): Lalang Grass Rhizome
- Herb name (Botanical): Rhizoma Imperatae
- Origin of species: Imperata cylindrica Beauv. var. major (Nees) C. E. Hubb.
- Part(s) of herb used: Rhizome
- Geo-specific habitat(s): Most parts of China, mainly in Northen parts of China
- Taste(s) & Properties: Sweet; Cold; Administrates the Lung, Stomach and Bladder meridians
- Actions: Eases water retention by promoting urination; Helps coughs with yellow oral discharge; Helps to stop bleeding in inflammatory conditions
Asmawi, M. Z., Rianse, U., Dhianawaty, D., Andreanus, A., & Amalia, L. (2013). Anti-hypertensive activity of Alang–Alang (Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv. root methanolic extract on male Wistar rat. [Accessed on 9th November 2022]
Fu, L. N., Chen, L. Y., Liu, R. H., & Chen, D. F. (2010). Chemical constituents of Rhizoma Imperatae and their anti-complementary activity. Zhong yao cai= Zhongyaocai= Journal of Chinese medicinal materials, 33(12), 1871-1874. [Accessed on 9th November 2022]
Vidal, C., Ruiz, A., Ortiz, J., Larama, G., Perez, R., Santander, C., … & Cornejo, P. (2020). Antioxidant responses of phenolic compounds and immobilization of copper in Imperata cylindrica, a plant with potential use for bioremediation of Cu contaminated environments. Plants, 9(10), 1397. [Accessed on 9th November 2022]
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