Herbs & Plants

Job’s tears

Botanical Name: Coix lacryma-jobi
Family: Poaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Tribe: Andropogoneae
Genus: Coix
Species:C. lacryma-jobi

*Coix agrestis Lour.
*Coix arundinacea Lam.
*Coix chinensis Tod.
*Coix chinensis Tod. ex Balansa nom. illeg.
*Coix exaltata Jacq. ex Spreng.
*Coix gigantea J.Jacq. nom. illeg.
*Coix lacryma L. nom. illeg.
*Coix ma-yuen Rom.Caill.
*Coix ouwehandii Koord.
*Coix ovata Stokes nom. illeg.
*Coix palustris Koord.
*Coix pendula Salisb. nom. illeg.
*Coix pumila Roxb.

Common Names: Job’s tears (US) or Job’s-tears (UK), Adlay or Adlay millet, Coixseed, Tear grass and Yi Yi (from Chinese yìy?)
Vern.: Sada-Kunch (Sa); Bakshi-horens (Or).

Habitat: Job’s tears is native to E. Asia – E. India.
The grass grows on wet places in grassland in the foothills of the Himalayas. Open sunny places to elevations of 2000 metrs in Nepal.
Suitable for light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil

Job’s tears is a perennial grass growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).
It is in leaf from May to October, in flower from July to October, and the seeds ripen from September to November. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Wind.

Edible Uses:


Throughout East Asia, Job’s tears are available in dried form and cooked as a grain. The grains are generally spherical, with a groove on one end, and polished white in color, though in Japan unpolished yuuki hatomugi, which is unpolished and brown in color, is also available.

In Korea, a thick drink called yulmu cha ( literally “Job’s tears tea”) is made from powdered Job’s tears. A similar drink, called yi ren jiang, also appears in Chinese cuisine, and is made by simmering whole polished Job’s tears in water and sweetening the resulting thin, cloudy liquid with sugar. The grains are usually strained from the liquid but may also be consumed separately or together.

In southern Vietnam, a sweet, cold soup called sâm b? l??ng has Job’s tears as one of its ingredients. This dish derives from the southern Chinese tong sui called q?ng b? liáng (???; Cantonese: ching1 bou2 leung4).

In Cambodia, where it is known as skuay (?????), it is used both as part of herbal medicine and as an ingredient in desserts.

In Thailand, it is often consumed in teas and other drinks, such as soy milk.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruits are anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, hypoglycaemic, hypotensive, sedative and vermifuge. 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. A tea from the boiled seeds is drunk as part of a treatment to cure warts. It is also used in the treatment of lung abscess, lobar pneumonia, appendicitis, rheumatoid arthritis, beriberi, diarrhoea, oedema and difficult urination. The plant has been used in the treatment of cancer. The roots have been used in the treatment of menstrual disorders[240]. 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.

Aqueous decoction of seeds (ca. 10 ml) is given at early morning in empty stomach
to cure dysentery of children by the Santals. Dried seed powder with a glass of lukewarm water is given at bed time as a galactogauge
by the Oraons

Other Uses:
The seeds are used as decorative beads. The stems are used to make matting. Seeds are used as necklaces by the Santals.

In both the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, the beads of Job’s tears are called “corn beads” or “Cherokee corn beads” and have been used for personal adornment.

Cultivation & Propagation:
. Best grown in an open sunny border. Prefers a little shelter from the wind. Job’s Tears is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 61 to 429cm, an average annual temperature of 9.6 to 27.8°C and a pH in the range of 4.5 to 8.4.

Seed – pre-soak for 2 hours in warm water and sow February/March in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 4 weeks at 25°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. Grow them on in cool conditions and plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Seed can also be sown in situ in May though it would be unlikely to ripen its seed in an average British summer. In a suitable climate, it takes about 4 – 5 months from seed to produce new seed. Division of root offshoots. This is probably best done in the spring as plants come into fresh growth.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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