Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica)

Perennial
I. arundinacea. Miscanthus arundinacea. Saccharum cylindricum.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Cogongrass
Imperata cylindrica
Gramineae

The leaves are woven to make mats, bags and raincoats[46, 61, 193].

The inflorescences are valued for stuffing pillows and cushions[272].

The stems are used in thatching roofs[46, 61, 178, 272].

A fibre obtained from the leaves is used in making paper[46, 61, 154].

Can be planted on sandy soils to prevent erosion[154, 272]. The plants form impenetrably dense clumps and when planted close together in drifts make an excellent ground cover[200].

  • Medicinal Use

    The flowers and the roots are antibacterial, diuretic, febrifuge, sialagogue, styptic and tonic[147, 176, 178].

    The flowers are used in the treatment of haemorrhages, wounds etc[218]. They are decocted and used to treat urinary tract infections, fevers, thirst etc[147, 218].

    The root is astringent, antifebrile, antivinous, diuretic, emollient, haemostatic, restorative and tonic[218, 240]. It is used in the treatment of nose bleeds, haematuria, haematemesis, oedema and jaundice[176]. The root has antibacterial action against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus dysenteriae etc[176]. A decoction of the root is used as an anthelmintic and also to treat digestive disorders such as indigestion, diarrhoea and dysentery[272].

    The root bark is febrifuge, restorative and tonic[218].

    Extracts of the plant have shown viricidal and anticancer activity[218].

  • Edible Use

    Young inflorescence and young shoots – cooked[177, 179].

    Root – fibrous but pleasant to chew, containing starch and sugar[144, 177, 179]. Fairly sweet, the taste is sweetest in the wet season in Australia and worst from plants growing in sand[193].

    The ash of the plant is used as a salt substitute[177].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

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[K].
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil in sun or partial shade[162, 187]. This species is only hardy in the southern part of Britain, tolerating temperatures down to about -15¡c when dormant[187], though the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. The var. I. cylindrica major. (Nees.)C.E.Hubb. is used medicinally in China[176] and as a wild food in Australia[193]. This species is quite closely related to sugar cane, it has been interbred experimentally with that species in India[193]. Plants grow away vigorously after a fire, often spreading freely to infest the burnt areas[144, 193].
E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.