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What is Cyperus Rotundus?

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  • Written By: Deborah Walker
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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Cyperus rotundus is a perennial, grass-like herb in the Cyperaceae, or sedge, family. It is native to Africa, southern Asia, and southern and central Europe as far north as France. In China, Cyperus rotundus is rated eighth among the 250 best plants used to treat infertility. Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have used the rhizome of the herb for thousands of years as a diuretic, astringent, and galactagogue without encountering any known adverse side effects. Research done into the effectiveness of this herb has shown that it does contain chemicals and essential oils that may effectively treat certain diseases.

Different cultures around the world have their own names for Cyperus rotundus. India alone has at least 10 different common names for this herb, including motha, bimbal, mustako and korai. Other cultures refer to Cyperus rotundus as tirica, nut sedge, tagernut, hsiang fu tzu, woeta, coco-grass, purple nut sedge, and red nut sedge.

Alternative medicine applies Cyperus rotundus internally and externally to treat nausea and digestive system maladies, high blood pressure, premenstrual syndrome, and cramping. It is also used to reduce fevers, inflammation, pain, and heart palpitations. Clinical studies have shown that the essential oils in the plant's tubers have antibiotic properties that can stop the growth of a bacteria known as Micrococcus pyrogenes. In addition, early studies about the oil of Cyperus rotundus have indicated that this plant may be able to treat Staphylococcus aureus.

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The herb is available in tincture, tea, capsule, essential oil, powder, and tablet form. Cyperus rotundus is also sold as a homeopathic remedy. This herb is sometimes blended with other, complimentary herbs, such as in formulas for women's health where it is mixed with dong quai and vitex. The powder can be used dry or mixed into a paste by adding a little water; this is for external application only, such as to the forehead to relieve headaches. The ingested dosage for this herb is based on the individual's weight, the condition he or she wants to treat, and the form in which the herb is consumed.

Side effects are uncommon, but do occur. Constipation or excessive gas may result if Cyperus rotundus is taken for a lengthy period of time. Children should not take this herb because safety for them has yet to be determined. Pregnant women should not use this herb because of its mild estrogenic properties. This with liver or kidney disease may want to use this herb with caution; its safety has not been documented for these chronic disordres. Someone considering the use of this herb might want to consult a physician first.

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