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Cyperus Rotundus Nut Grass


Pinyin: Xiang Fu Latin: Cyperus Rotundus

Purple Nutsedge, Purple Nutgrass, Coco Sedge, Coco Grass, Nut Sedge, Nut Grass

Physical Characteristics

Cyperus Rotundus is a perennial growing to 0.6m by 1m hardy to zone 0 in flower from March to July. The Cyperus Rotundus or Nut Grass flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) Nut Grass prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils cannot grow in the shade and requires moist or wet soil.



Edible Uses*

Edible Parts: Root; Seed.

Nut Grass Tuber is used raw or cooked[2, 85, 105, 183, 272]. A very strong flavour when freshly harvested, said to resemble 'Vick's VapoRub', the tubers become milder if they are allowed to dry[183]. A pleasant nutty flavour according to another report[95] whilst another says that the roots are very unpalatable raw and a little better but still not very palatable when cooked[144]. The dried roots can be ground into a powder and used as a cereal[257]. Seed. A famine food, used when all else fails[177]. It is very small and would be fiddly to use[K].*

Traditional Chinese Medicinal (TCM) Uses:*

Nut Grass Cyperus Rotundus is a pungent bitter-sweet herb that relieves spasms and pain, acting mainly on the digestive system and uterus[238].*

Nut grass roots and tubers are analgesic, antibacterial, antispasmodic, antitussive, aromatic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, litholytic, sedative, skin, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge[116, 145, 147, 152, 176, 218, 238, 240, 279]. They are used internally in the treatment of digestive problems and menstrual complaints[238].*

Nut grass roots and tubers are commonly combined with black pepper (Piper nigrum) in the treatment of stomachaches[272]. The roots are harvested in the summer or winter and are dried for later use[238]. An essential oil in the tubers has antibiotic activity and has been shown to arrest the growth of Micrococcus pyrogenes[240].*

The plant is rated 8th amongst 250 potential antifertility plants in China[218]. Nut Grass is used in the treatment of cervical cancer[218].*


  • [K] Ken Fern - Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
  • [2] Hedrick. U. P.Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications 1972 ISBN 0-486-20459-6
  • [4] Grieve.A Modern Herbal. Penguin 1984 ISBN 0-14-046-440-9
  • [43] Fernald. M. L.Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. 1950
  • [50] Flora Europaea Cambridge University Press 1964
  • [61] Usher. G.A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable 1974 ISBN 0094579202
  • [85] Harrington. H. D.Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press 1967 ISBN 0-8623-0343-9
  • [95] Saunders. C. F.Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications 1976 ISBN 0-486-23310-3
  • [105] Tanaka. T.Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing 1976
  • [116] Brooklyn Botanic GardenOriental Herbs and Vegetables, Vol 39 No. 2. Brooklyn Botanic Garden 1986
  • [117] Rosengarten. jnr. F.The Book of Edible Nuts. Walker & Co. 1984 ISBN 0802707699
  • [144] Cribb. A. B. and J. W.Wild Food in Australia. Fontana 1976 ISBN 0-00-634436-4
  • [145] Singh. Dr. G. and Kachroo. Prof. Dr. P.Forest Flora of Srinagar. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh 1976
  • [147] A Barefoot Doctors Manual. Running Press 0 ISBN 0-914294-92-X
  • [152] Lassak. E. V. and McCarthy. T.Australian Medicinal Plants. 0
  • [164] Bird. R. (Editor)Growing from Seed. Volume 4. Thompson and Morgan. 1990
  • [176] Yeung. Him-Che.Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles 1985
  • [177] Kunkel. G.Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books 1984 ISBN 3874292169
  • [178] Stuart. Rev. G. A.Chinese Materia Medica. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre 0
  • [183] Facciola. S.Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications 1990 ISBN 0-9628087-0-9
  • [200] Huxley. A.The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press 1992 ISBN 0-333-47494-5
  • [218] Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. 1985 ISBN 0-917256-20-4
  • [238] Bown. D.Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. 1995 ISBN 0-7513-020-31
  • [240] Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. 1986
  • [245] Genders. R.Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. 1994 ISBN 0-7090-5440-8
  • [257] Moerman. D.Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. 1998 ISBN 0-88192-453-9
  • [272] Manandhar. N. P.Plants and People of Nepal Timber Press. Oregon. 2002 ISBN 0-88192-527-6
  • [279] Medicinal Plants in the Republic of Korea World Health Organisation, Manila 1998 ISBN 92 9061 120 0

Source: Nut Grass Cyperus Rotundus Plants For A Future, England 1996-2008.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


Natural dietary supplements are designed to offer the body support to promote health, harmony, balance and overall well being.*

In TCM Nut Grass is used internally in the treatment of digestive problems and menstrual complaints. An essential oil in the tubers has antibiotic activity and has been shown to arrest the growth of Micrococcus pyrogenes.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. TCM is an acronym for Traditional Chinese Medicine.

**The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only, not intended to replace your doctor's or other health care professional's advice or treatment. Nor is any information contained on or in any product label or packaging intended to provide or replace professional health care advice. Do not use the this site's information for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem, nor for prescription of any treatment or medication. Always consult with a healthcare professional before undertaking any diet, exercise, herbal or other supplementation program, taking any medications, or if you suspect you may have or already have any type of health problem. Do not stop taking any medication without first consulting your doctor.