Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus)
What is Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus)?
Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (xiang fu, 香附), also known as Cyperus Rotundus, Java Grass, Nut Grass or Purple Nut Sedge, is a common lawn weed that harms other plants and reduces crop yield. Known to be one of the most invasive plants in the world, it infests over fifty crops worldwide, and this feature has earned it the nickname “the world’s worst weed.” However, this plant is prized in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a herb that promotes the flow of qi to maintain good health.
Originally indigenous to India, Cyperus Rotundus can now be found in tropical, subtropical and temperate regions across Asia and South Africa. The name Nut Grass comes from its nut-like appearance. The plant usually consists of a single stem, with smaller, extremely long, thin green leaves that taper to a point. Its rhizome is harvested in the fall. After cleansing and the removal of other fibrous matter, the herb is then dried under the sun and either smashed or cut into pieces for medicinal usage.
Good quality Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome are usually large, full, hard and solid with an intense aroma. The ones that are small, light and wrinkled are said to be of inferior quality.
In TCM, Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) falls under the category of ‘Herbs that regulate qi’. Neutral in nature, this herb does not affect the yin-yang balance in your body. Bitter, pungent and sweet in taste, Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) can cleanse the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. It can also promote the circulations of qi and body fluids, 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 Liver, the Triple Burner (San jiao, 三焦) and the Spleen.
Functions and Benefits of Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus)
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) has the following benefits:
Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) can soothe the Liver and regulate the flow of qi to alleviate pain. The herb is thus indicated for the syndromes of Liver depression and Qi Stagnation. Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) can also be combined with other herbs to address symptoms such as emotional depression and hypochondriac distending pain due to Liver Qi Stagnation. In cases of epigastric or abdominal pain, Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) is used with other herbs such as Bupleurum and White Peony. Other symptoms that the herb can address include abdominal colic, acid reflux, abdominal bloating, poor appetite, pelvic inflammatory disease.
Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) is thus often used to treat symptoms associated with the digestive system. For example, the herb can treat diarrhoea, intestinal parasites, bowel disorders and other stomach problems.
Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) can regulate menstruation to relieve pain too. In fact, it is a primary herb for the treatment of irregular menstruation and dysmenorrhea. By regulating qi and blood circulation, the herb can also treat other gynecological symptoms such as distending pain in the breasts and ovarian cysts.
Other than the above Nut Grass benefits, modern studies have shown that Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) is quite beneficial for controlling epileptic seizures and convulsions as well. It was suggested that the flavonoids found in the ethanol extract may be responsible for the anticonvulsant activity and this extract may be used to develop medicines for the treatment of epilepsy.
Research revealed that the alcoholic extract of Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) possesses anti-inflammatory activity, which makes it a probable remedy for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. This alcoholic extract is also found to be able to help manage high blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and lower blood sugar levels. Other studies also show that Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) possesses powerful analgesic properties, and therefore can be used to relieve pain.
Though scientific evidence is limited, Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) is considered by many to be beneficial for lightening the skin and combating signs of ageing. Extrapone, a formulation found in many skin whitening creams, is made from the powdered extracts of Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus). Ayurvedic doctors also make use of this herb to treat numerous skin conditions like itching, fungus infestation, rashes and herpes.
In addition, Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) has been found to prevent weight gain, address fever, and tackle vomiting and nausea.
How to Use Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus)
The recommended dosage of Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) is 6 – 9g, when used in a decoction. Some healthcare practitioners may recommend slightly higher doses of up to 12g, depending on the severity of the condition being treated.
Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) is often available as either a decoction or extract. It is also available in the form of Nut Grass Powder. The raw herb is also available in some Asian markets. The raw herb is often pan-fried with vinegar for consumption.
Cautions and Side Effects of Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus)
Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus) should not be used by individuals experiencing Qi Deficiency, Yin Deficiency with Heat or Heat in the Blood. This herb may worsen symptoms associated with Yin Deficiency, such as dry mouth, hot palms and feet, as well as hot flushes.
Patients who are not experiencing Qi Stagnation symptoms should use this herb with caution. In addition, pregnant women are advised to steer clear of such blood-promoting herbs to minimize the risk of miscarriage. Pregnant women in their last trimester should only consume this herb under medical supervision.
We strongly recommend you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add this herb to your healthcare routine.
Here is a summary for Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome (Cyperus Rotundus):
- Herb name (Chinese): 香附
- Herb name (Pin Yin): xiāng fù
- Herb name (English): Nutgrass Galingale Rhizome
- Herb name (Botanical): Rhizoma Cyperi
- Origin of species: Cyperus rotundus L.
- Part(s) of herb used: Rhizome
- Geo-specific habitat(s): Guangdong, Henan, Sichuan, Zhejiang, Shandong
- Taste(s) & Properties: Pungent, slightly bitter, slightly sweet; Neutral; Administrates the Liver, Spleen and Triple Burner Meridians
- Actions: Eases abdominal discomforts; Relieve pain in stomach or at the flank regions; Helps to regulate the menstrual cycle to relieve painful periods
Al-Snafi, A. E. (2016). A review on Cyperus rotundus A potential medicinal plant. IOSR Journal Of Pharmacy, 6(7), 32-48. [Accessed on 12th November 2022]
Meena, A. K., Yadav, A. K., Niranjan, U. S., Singh, B., Nagariya, A. K., & Verma, M. (2010). Review on Cyperus rotundus-A potential herb. International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, 2(1), 20-22. [Accessed on 12th November 2022]
Share this article on