Country of Origin: Indian Subcontinent to Taiwan and Pen. Malaysia
Habitat: Wet places in grassland in the foothills of the Himalayas
Description: This annual grass is native to south-east Asia and grows to a height of around 3 ft (1 m), with knobbly, bamboo-like stems from the bases of which new ‘tillers’ arise, these sometimes self- layering. The glossy deep green leaves are up to 2 in (5 cm) wide with slightly wavy edges. The flowering and fruiting spikelets are insignificant, but the shiny, pea-sized receptacles that enclose their bases harden in fall (autumn) to a pale bluish gray and have often been used for beads and other decorative purposes. Some selected strains are cultivated for their edible grains.
Uses: The fruits are anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, hypoglycaemic, hypotensive, sedative and vermifuge[218, 238]. The fruits are used in folk remedies for abdominal tumours, oesophageal, gastrointestinal, and lung cancers, various tumours, as well as excrescences, warts, and whitlows. This folk reputation is all the more interesting when reading that one of the active constituents of the plant, coixenolide, has antitumor activity. The seed, with the husk removed, is antirheumatic, diuretic, pectoral, refrigerant and tonic[176, 218, 240]. A tea from the boiled seeds is drunk as part of a treatment to cure warts[116, 174]. It is also used in the treatment of lung abscess, lobar pneumonia, appendicitis, rheumatoid arthritis, beriberi, diarrhoea, oedema and difficult urination[147, 176]. The plant has been used in the treatment of cancer. The roots have been used in the treatment of menstrual disorders. A decoction of the root has been used as an anthelmintic. The fruit is harvested when ripe in the autumn and the husks are removed before using fresh, roasted or fermented. (Taken directly from Plants For A Future)