WHAT IS WIRE GRASS (PARAGIS)?
Wire grass with a scientific name Eleusine indica is an abundant weed in waste places and along river banks, roads and settled areas throughout the Philippines.
This humble weed has recently gained popularity due to it’s medicinal properties and availability. You’ll be glad to know that a lot of studies have shown it’s anti-inflammatory, antiplasmodial, antidiabetic, phytoremediative, pancreatic lipase inhibitory, antioxidant, antileishmanial, antioxidant, cytotoxic properties. It is considered diuretic, antihelminthic, diaphoretic, and febrifuge.
I’ve been wanting to write an article about this plant when i first saw my parents boiled and drink it claiming that it can help with hypertension and diabetes. I even joked around that this weed is only for animals because i sometimes see my kittens and our dog eating it when they feel ill. But then it woke my curiosity when i saw my cousin who has urinary track infection (UTI) posted about it on facebook and how she feels better now after a couple of days drinking it.
The whole plant is edible including its roots and seeds. Roots can be eaten raw and cooked or raw for young seedling. It’s grain is a famine food in India and parts of Africa.
Before several studies was conducted, wire grass has been used as folklore medicine by our ancestors and even in other Asian countries.
- Bakwiri people of West tropical Africa
Use infusion of whole plant for hemoptysis.
- Ayta people (Porac, Pampanga)
Burn dried leaves and stems as repellent against hematophagous insects.
- Singhalese Materia Medica
Reported as useful for sprains and dislocation.
Decoction of roots used for asthma.
- Coastal Guyana
Decoction of plant used to relieve pains from abdominal muscle strain; applied to wounds to stop the bleeding. Decoction of grass used as tonic and to relieve bladder disorders.
Leaf juice given after childbirth to help expel the placenta.
Used as anthelmintic.
Used for fevers and liver complaints.
Seed decoction given to infants suffering from black jaundice.
Leaves used for diabetes and malaria.
Decoction of plant for diarrhea, dysentery and convulsions.
- Cameroonian folk medicine
Used for diarrhea, dysentery, epilepsy, and intestinal occlusion. Also used in the treatment of infertility in females.
- Sri Lanka
For muscle sprains, roots or the entire plant mixed with scraped coconut and a piece of Curcuma domestica is pounded well and heated till cooked, then packed over sprained muscles and bandaged.
Leaves used for treatment of hypertension.
Roots used in a mixture of herbal plants for the treatment of prolapsed uterus.
Wire grass or dogs tail has many names. It depends on which country you’re from but in the Philippines it’s called “Paragis”. Below are some of its names on different parts of the world.
- ARABIC: Kalassindra (Chad)
- BANGLADESH: Binna challa, Chapra, Gaicha, Malangakuri.
- CHINESE: Long zhao ji, Niu jin cao, Xi shuari cao
- FRENCH: Pied de poule de l’Inde
- GUJARATI: Bajari
- INDIA: Jangali marua, Jhingari, Nandimukha, Nandiaa; Mahaar, Naachni; Thippa Ragi
- INDONESIA: Rumput belulang
- ITALIAN: Panico indiano
- JAPANESE: Ohi shiba, Ohi jawa
- KANNADA: Ragi
- LAOS: Nya phak kole
- MALAWI: Chinsangwi, Chigombe, Kanggodza, Chipikamongu
- MALAY: Rumput kekuasa
- MALAYSIA: Rumput sambau
- MARATHI: Nachani
- MYANMAR: Sin-ngo-let-kyar, Sin-ngo-myet
- NEPALESE: Kode vanso
- ORIYA: Mandiaa
- PORTUGUESE: Pata de galinha, Capim de caradouro
- PUNJABI: Bajra
- RUSSIAN: Elevzina indiiskaia
- SHONA: Makha
- SPANISH: Grama de caballo, Hierba dulce, Natajo dulce, Pata de gallina, Pata de ganso, Yerba dulce
- TAMIL: Kelvaraku , Kevuru
- THAILAND: Yaa teen-ka
- TELUGU: Ragi
- VIETNAMESE: Mantrau, Nuggcan
ACCORDING TO STUDIES
I’ve seen a lot of posts about this plant claiming that it can miraculously cure all the diseases without citing any source or reference. I find it quite doubtful especially if you’re pregnant or you’re giving it on a child. Below are it’s potential health benefits backed by studies.
• INHIBITION OF AIRWAY INFLAMMATORY PROCESS
C-glycosylflavones from the aerial parts of paragis inhibit LPS-induced mouse lung inflammation: Study may justify the popular use of EI against airway inflammatory disorders.
• APOPTOTIC INDUCTION ACTIVITY (LUNG CANCER & CERVICAL CANCER)
Grass extracts of D. aegyptium and wire grass showed selective inhibitory growth effect on human lung cancer and cervical cancer cells. The activity was probably mediated through induction of apoptosis.
• ANTIPLASMODIAL/ ANTIDIABETIC
Evaluated results of an ethanolic leaf extract of wire grass as antidiabetic and malarial showed significant schizonticidal activity during early and established infections with significant mean survival time. Treatment of alloxan-induced diabetic rats a leaf extract caused significant reduction in fasting blood glucose levels in acute and prolonged treatment study.
• HEPATOPROTECTIVE/ ANTIOXIDANT
Aqueous extract of paragis against carbon tetrachloride induced hepatic injury in rats showed hepatoprotective effects which may be attributable to its antioxidant and free radical scavenging property. It is concluded that it could be used as hepatoprotective agents with the potential for treatment or prevention of degenerative diseases.
• ANTIBACTERIAL/ ANTIOXIDANT
Various extracts of wire grass has been evaluated on a study for its antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-cancer effects. A MeTH extract showed the highest total phenolic contents and scavenging activity on DPPH assay. An ethyl acetate extract showed broad spectrum antibacterial activity against all tested bacteria except B. subtilis, while a hexane extract showed remarkable activity against methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus and P. aeruginosa.
• PANCREATIC LIPASE INHIBITORY ACTIVITY/ OBESITY TREATMENT POTENTIAL
It was evaluated on a study that the lipase inhibitory activities of methanolic extracts of thirty two selected medicinal plants in Malaysia for potential use in the treatment of obesity. Wire grass showed the highest pancreatic lipase inhibitory activity of 31.36%, with no significant difference between its methanol extract and the standard drug Orlistat.
• ANTI-HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS TYPE-ACTIVITY
Antiviral activity of methanol extract of wire grass’ whole plant activity suggest that it is safe with an antiviral and prophylactic potential via inhibition of viral attachment, penetration, and virucidal effect.
• LIPID-LOWERING EFFECTS ON HIGH-FAT-DIET HYPERLIPIDEMIC RATS
Study investigated the lipid-lowering effects of various extracts of wire grass using both in vitro and in vivo models. The HE also significantly reduced body weight, improved serum lipid profile, with reduction in TC, LDL, triglycerides and increase in HDL.
• ANTIMICROBIAL/ ANTIDIARRHEAL/ ANTHELMINTIC
On selected pathogens usually associated with diarrhea i.e., S. dysenteriae, E. coli, S. typhi, S. aureus, S. faecalis and L. lactis showed concentration dependent antimicrobial activity with the aqueous extract showing highest susceptibility. Plant also showed marked anthelmintic activity against Strongyloides stercoralis.
This is how my mother prepare it. She drink it when she wake up in the morning and before bedtime.
- Cut the roots and wash it thoroughly to remove the excess soil.
- Cut it in half if you have a small crock pot.
- Boil it for 10-15 minutes.
- Let it cool.
- Drink it twice a day.
There is more to this plant than those health benefits that has been confirmed by various studies. A lot of testimonials over the internet from people who have been healed and got better proved that this weed is more powerful than we thought. Hopefully more studies should be conducted in the future to test it’s health benefits. For some, including my parents this is a miracle grass. It’s free, natural and widely available.
If you are one of those who got better after drinking wire grass, please share it with us and how wire grass healed you.