Herb: Chinese Water Chestnut

Latin name: Eleocharis dulcis

Synonyms: Eleocharis tuberosa, Heliocharis tuberosa

Family: Cyperaceae (Sedge Family)

Medicinal use of Chinese Water Chestnut:

The plant is used to treat a number of ailments including abdominal pain, amenorrhoea, hernia and liver problems. The expressed juice of the tuber is bactericidal.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Marshy land and shallow water. The edges of seasonal swamps in Australia.

Edible parts of Chinese Water Chestnut:

Corm - raw or cooked. A delicious taste, it is sweet and crisp when fully ripe and is starchy before that. Widely used in Chinese cooking, especially in chop suey. A flour or starch can be made from the dried and ground up corm and this is used to thicken sauces and to give a crisp coating to various deep-fried foods. The root is about 4cm in diameter, it contains about 36% starch. A nutritional analysis is available. The plant is used for making salt in Zimbabwe. No more details.

Other uses of the herb:

The leaf stems are used for weaving bags etc.

Propagation of Chinese Water Chestnut:

Seed - we have no details for this species but suggest sowing the seed as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Only just cover the seed and place the pot in 3cm of water to keep the soil wet. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division. Harvest the tubers at the end of the growing season, store them in a cool but frost-free place over the winter and plant them out in early spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Marshy land and shallow water. The edges of seasonal swamps in Australia.

Known hazards of Eleocharis dulcis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.