Herb: Tiger Nut

Latin name: Cyperus esculentus

Family: Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)

Medicinal use of Tiger Nut:

Tiger nuts are regarded as a digestive tonic, having a heating and drying effect on the digestive system and alleviating flatulence. They also promote urine production and menstruation. The tubers are said to be aphrodisiac, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, stimulant and tonic. In Ayurvedic medicine they are used in the treatment of flatulence, indigestion, colic, diarrhoea, dysentery, debility and excessive thirst.

Description of the plant:


90 cm
(2 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Muddy soil and shallow water, also as a weed of cultivated ground in southern Europe.

Edible parts of Tiger Nut:

Tuber - raw, cooked or dried and ground into a powder.They are also used in confectionery. A delicious nut-like flavour but rather chewy and with a tough skin. They taste best when dried. They can be cooked in barley water to give them a sweet flavour and then be used as a dessert nut. A refreshing beverage is made by mixing the ground tubers with water, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla and ice. The ground up tuber can also be made into a plant milk with water, wheat and sugar. An edible oil is obtained from the tuber. It is considered to be a superior oil that compares favourably with olive oil. The roasted tubers are a coffee substitute. The base of the plant can be used in salads. (This probably means the base of the leaf stems)

Other uses of the herb:

The tubers contain up to 30% of a non-drying oil, it is used in cooking and in making soap. It does not solidify at 0C and stores well without going rancid. The leaves can be used for weaving hats and matting etc.

Propagation of Tiger Nut:

Seed - surface sow in the spring and keep the compost moist. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 6 weeks at 18C. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow on for their first winter in a greenhouse and plant them out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. This is more a matter of harvesting the tubers and replanting them. If this is done in the autumn, then it is best to store the tubers in a cool frost-free place overwinter and plant them out in the spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Muddy soil and shallow water, also as a weed of cultivated ground in southern Europe.

Known hazards of Cyperus esculentus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.