Herb: Cogongrass


Latin name: Imperata cylindrica


Synonyms: Imperata arundinacea, Miscanthus arundinacea


Family: Gramineae (Grass Family)



Medicinal use of Cogongrass:

The flowers and the roots are antibacterial, diuretic, febrifuge, sialagogue, styptic and tonic. The flowers are used in the treatment of haemorrhages, wounds etc. They are decocted and used to treat urinary tract infections, fevers, thirst etc. The root is astringent, antifebrile, antivinous, diuretic, emollient, haemostatic, restorative and tonic. It is used in the treatment of nose bleeds, haematuria, haematemesis, oedema and jaundice. The root has antibacterial action against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus dysenteriae etc. A decoction of the root is used as an anthelmintic and also to treat digestive disorders such as indigestion, diarrhoea and dysentery. The root bark is febrifuge, restorative and tonic. Extracts of the plant have shown viricidal and anticancer activity.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
120 cm
(4 feet)

Flovering:
August to
September

Habitat of the herb:

Open sandy habitats, usually by a river or the sea shore in Europe. Commonly found on impoverished soils in Australia.

Edible parts of Cogongrass:

Young inflorescence and young shoots - cooked. Root - fibrous but pleasant to chew, containing starch and sugar. Fairly sweet, the taste is sweetest in the wet season in Australia and worst from plants growing in sand. The ash of the plant is used as a salt substitute.

Other uses of the herb:

The leaves are woven to make mats, bags and raincoats. The inflorescences are valued for stuffing pillows and cushions. The stems are used in thatching roofs. A fibre obtained from the leaves is used in making paper. Can be planted on sandy soils to prevent erosion. The plants form impenetrably dense clumps and when planted close together in drifts make an excellent ground cover.

Propagation of Cogongrass:

Seed - surface sow in spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates quickly, prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring as the plant comes into growth. Division is very easy and can be carried out at almost any time in the year, though winter divisions are best potted up in the greenhouse and planted out in late spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Open sandy habitats, usually by a river or the sea shore in Europe. Commonly found on impoverished soils in Australia.

Known hazards of Imperata cylindrica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.