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Couch Grass

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  • Botanical: Agropyron repens
  • Family: Poaceae
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Couch Grass

Botanical

Agropyron repens

Family

Poaceae

Known as

Elymus repens, twitch, quick grass, quitch grass, dog grass, quackgrass, scutch grass, and witchgrass, Kriech-Quecke, Gemeine Quecke, Gewöhnliche Quecke, einfach Quecke

Old Use

medical

Parts Used

roots

Aroma

earthy

Medicinal

cystitis, dropsy, rheumatism

Muscle & Joints

rheumatism

Stomach & Intestinal

urination, urinary infections

Properties

antirheumatic, anti inflammatory, diuretic

Description

Couch grass ( A. repens ) is a weed that is widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere. The grass grows up to 1.5 m tall with spikes up to 15 cm long containing many flowered spikelets. The leaves alternate with sheaths, the blades are long and narrow, and the veins are parallel. The grass also possesses shiny, pale yellow, hollow rhizomes and longitudinally grooved stems that are 2 to 3 mm thick. Thin roots and short fiber-like cataphylls are present at the unthickened nodes. Couch grass has an almost bland but slightly sweet taste. The rhizomes, roots, and stems are used to formulate the product. 

Properties & Uses

Couch grass has been used to treat gout, rheumatic disorders, chronic skin conditions, and urinary tract, bladder, and kidney disorders. Various extracts have been used as a dietary component for diabetic patients. There is a lack of clinical studies to support these uses.

May be used in urinary infections such as cystitis, urethritis and prostatitis. As a broadly applicable and safe diuretic it can be used in most conditions where this action is needed. Its demulcent properties soothe irritation and inflammation. It is of value in the treatment of enlarged prostate glands. It can also be used for easing or removing kidneys stones. As a tonic diuretic, couch grass has been used in the treatment in rheumatism.

Cautions

none known

Distribution

Couch grass is a weedy species of Eurasian grass that has nat­u­ral­ized almost every­where in North Amer­ica except for the Gulf states of Florida and Texas. It is the bane of farm­ers, invad­ing fields and pas­tures, pro­duc­ing chem­i­cals that inhibit the growth of other plants, while grow­ing itself at a rate of up to 3 meters per year. It is most com­monly found in dis­turbed sites, along road­sides, aban­doned areas, beaches, farms, gar­dens and lawns. Couch­grass is an impor­tant habi­tat for small rodents, birds and water­fowl. It is often crossed with other Agro­pryon spp. to cre­ate hybrids for graz­ing. Recently these hybrids have been used to reveg­e­tate mine tail­ings in Nova Scotia.

Constituents

Couch grass has a vari­ety of inter­est­ing con­stituents, some of which can be iden­ti­fied when tast­ing its sweet, licorice-tasting rhi­zome. The car­bo­hy­drates include sim­ple sug­ars like fruc­tose and glu­cose, as well as inos­i­tol, man­ni­tol, pectin, and most impor­tantly a mucilage that com­prises upwards of 10% of the plant. The char­ac­ter­is­tic taste is most likely due to its volatile oils, which are stated to be either agropy­rene (95%), or a mix­ture of monoter­penes includ­ing car­vacrol, anet­hole, car­vone, thy­mol, men­thol, and men­thone, as well as cymene and three sesquiter­penes. Couch grass also con­tains a vari­ety of gly­co­sides includ­ing flavonoids (e.g. tricin), saponins, cyano­genetic gly­co­sides and the phe­no­lic gly­co­side vanillin. Couch grass is high in min­er­als such as cal­cium, potas­sium and phos­pho­rus. The aer­ial parts are stated to be high in pro­tein, on par with alfalfa

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.