Herbs & Plants

Eleusine indica

Botanical Name: Eleusine indica
Family: Poaceae
Order: Poales
Genus: Eleusine
Species: E. indica

Synonyms: Spring cleavers, Clivers, Wire grass, Goose grass, Cleavers, Silverweed, Broom beard grass, Yard grass, Yardgrass, Goose-tansy, Prairie grass, Catchweed

Common Names: Indian goosegrass, Yard-grass, Goosegrass, Wiregrass, or Crowfootgrass, Malkantari, Chamghas

Habitat: Eleusine indica distributed throughout the warmer areas of the world to about 50 degrees latitude. It is an invasive species in some areas.It grow on roadsides and waste places at elevations from near sea level to 2,000 metres.

Eleusine indica is an erect, annual grass, branching at the base and forming clumps; it can grow from 15 – 85cm tall. It has a particularly tough root system and is hard to pull out.A weed in many areas of the tropical to temperate zones, the plant is also used locally as a medicine, food and source of materials for weaving, making paper etc.

It is closely related to Eleusine coracana (finger millet or African finger millet), and the diploid E. indica is likely an ancestor of the allotetraploid E. coracana.

Seeds of E. indica are edible and are sometimes used as a famine food, but yields are low. It is an important weed of cultivated crops, lawns, and golf courses. It thrives in disturbed areas with compacted soils in full sun. Both tillage and herbicides are used in its control. This low-growing grass is capable of setting seed even when closely mown. Some populations have evolved resistance to certain herbicides, including glyphosate.


Eleusine indica performs C3 photosynthesis and therefore can grow in hot climates and in the hotter months of the temperate zone. Its seeds germinate later in spring than most other temperate zone weeds, such as crabgrasses. Though usually considered an annual, it may survive for more than a year in climates not subject to frost.

Edible Uses:
Seed – cooked The seed is rather small it is sometimes used as a famine food. Used as a millet, it can be cooked whole or ground into a flour and used in making cakes, gruels etc.
Young seedlings – raw or cooked and used as a side dish with rice. Sometimes Root is eaten raw.

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant, but especially the root, is anthelmintic, astringent, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge, laxative and sudorific. It is used in the treatment of bladder disorders, liver complaints, relieve pain caused by straining the abdominal muscles etc.
The plant is a component of the ‘basic remedy’ in Vietnamese traditional medicine, it is also used in the treatment of influenza, hypertension, oliguria and retention of urine.

The plant is applied externally to open wounds to stop bleeding. The whole plant is boiled with black sage for use in a sitting bath to treat fevers, colds, malaria, and for post-childbirth cleansing of a mother. The plant can be used fresh or dried.

The fresh leaf juice is used as an anthelmintic, and is also prescribed for women after giving birth.
A poultice of the leaves is applied to sprains and back pains. A decoction of the macerated leaves is used to treat skin rashes.

A decoction of the roots is used to treat fevers and asthma.

Fresh root paste (ca. 15 gm) mixed with rhizome paste of ‘Ada’ (Zingiber officinale) and 9 black pepper (Piper nigrum) seeds
are given as an antidote of snake bite by the Oraons. Fresh root paste (ca. 10 gm) is given for easy delivery by the Rabhas.

Agroforestry Uses: The plant is sometimes used for stabilizing sandy soils.

Other Uses: The stems are used to make mats, baskets etc. The plant is suitable for paper manufacture.

Propagation: Seed – sow in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. The optimum mean temperature for germination is

Known Hazards: The plant often contains prussic acid (Cyanogenetic glucoside), the main concentration being in the seeds, where it can vary from 0.015 to 0.019%, which is just below the theoretical potential danger level.

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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