Family • Cyperaceae - BOTO-BOTONES - Cyperus rotundus Linn. - NUT GRASS - Xiang tou cao

Scientific names

Cyperus rotundus Linn.
Cyperus hexastachys Rottb.
Cyperus odoratus Osbeck
Cyperus tuberosus Roxb.
Pycreus rotundus (L.) Hayek
Xiang fu zi (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Suo cao, Hsiang-fu, Xiang tou cao.
FRENCH: Herbe-à-oignon, Souchet à tubercules, Souchet rond.
GERMAN: Rundes Zypergras.
HAWAIIAN: Kili’o’opu, Pakopako
ITALIAN: Zigolo infestante.
JAPANESE: Hamasuge
PORTUGUESE: Junça, Alho-Bravo, Capim-Alho, Capim-Dandá, Tiririca, Tiririca-Vermelha.
SPANISH: Castañuela, Coquito, Juncia.
COUNTRY: Ya haeo mu (Central Thailand), Ya khon mu.

Common names

Balisanga (Ilk.)
Barsanga (Ilk.)
Boto-botones (Bik.)
Galonalpas (Pamp.)
Kusung (Pamp.)
Mala-apulid (Pamp.)
Mota (Pamp.)
Mutha (Tag.)
Omadiung (Pamp.)
Onoran (Pamp.)
Sur-sur (Pamp.)
Tarugug (Bik.)
Nut grass (Engl.)
Coco grass (Engl.)
Nutsedge (Engl.)
Purple nutsedge (Engl.)

Mutha is a slender, erect, glabrous, perennial grasslike plant, 10 to 40 centimeters high. Rhizomes or underground stems are wiry, bearing black, hard, ovoid tubers which are about 1 centimeter in diameter. Ground stems are usually solitary, distinctly 3-angled above. Leave 5 to 15 centimeters long, sometimes , 3 millimeters wide or less, and narrowly linear. Umbel is simple or compound, 2 to 6 centimeters long, with 2 to 8 unequal primary rays. Spikes are dense or rather lax. Spikelets are 3 to 8, 10 to 25 millimeters long, brown, slender, with 10 to 25 florets in each spikelet, linear, and slightly compressed. Rachilla of the spikelet distinctly winged. Glumes are 2.5 to 3 millimeters long, closely or loosely imbricate. Glumes of the floret distichously arranged, the first 2 empty, the third one bisexual. Fruit is an achene, obovoid or oblong, black or granulate, 3-angled, one-seeded, covered with a scurfy bloom.


– Found throughout the Philippines in open areas at low and medium altitudes.
– A common weed in gardens, lawns and wastelands.
– Pantropic in distribution.

• Norcyperone, a novel norsesquiterpene isolated from CR.
• Rhizome yields an essential oil.
• Tubers yield fat, sugar, gum, carbohydrates, albuminous matter,, starch, fiber, ash, and traces of alkaloid.
• Constituents include 1,8-cineole, 4alpha,5alpha-oxidoeudesm-11-en-3-alpha-ol, Alkaloids, Alpha-cyperone, Alpha-rotunol, Beta-cyperone, Beta-pinene, Beta-rotunol, Beta-selinene, Calcium, Camphene, Copaene, Cyperene, Cyperenone, Cyperol, Cyperolone Cyperotundone D-copadiene, D-epoxyguaiene, D-fructose, D-glucose, Eo, Flavonoids, Gamma-cymene, Isocyperol, Isokobusone, Kobusone, Limonene, Linoleic-acid, Linolenic-acid, Magnesium, Manganese, Mustakone, Myristic-acid, Oleanolic-acid, Oleanolic-acid-3-o-neohesperidoside, Oleic-acid, P-cymol, Patchoulenone, Pectin, Polyphenols, Rotundene, Rotundenol, Rotundone, Selinatriene, Sitosterol, Stearic-acid, Sugeonol, Sugetriol.
• Phytochemical screening yielded tannins, saponins, carbohydrates and alkaloids, with an absence of protein and sterols.
• Study of essential oil yielded more than 33 compounds were identified. Principal compounds were cyperene, alpha-cyperone, isolongifolen-5-one, rotundene, and cyperorotundene were the principal compounds comprising 62% of the oil.
• Study of minor constituents of essential oil yielded three new sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (−)-isorotundene, (−)-cypera-2,4(15)-diene, (−)-norrotundene and the ketone (+)-cyperadione.
• Ethanol extract of leaves yielded carbohydrates, alkaloids, phenolic compounds, tannins, glycosides, and phytosterols.


• Fragrant, slightly bitter tasting rhizome.
• Fragrance resembles lemon and cardamom.
• Considered analgesic, alternative, astringent, antispasmodic, antibacterial, carminative, contraceptive, demulcent, emmenagogue, emollient, febrifuge, immunostimulant, laxative, stimulative, tonic, vermifuge.

Part utilized
· Rhizome.
· Harvest from December to January.
· Wash and sun-dry or heat-dry in a clean frying pan.
· Scrape off the fibrous roots.


· In the Philippines, used for dysentery.
· For indigestion and constipation, 2 to 6 gms of dried material in a standard cup of water, boil to concentration and drink.
· For skin diseases, wash the diseased portion with a warm decoction.
· For chest pains caused by deterred blood flow of blood and energy circulation: boil to decoction 4 to 9 gms of dried drug preparation together with 4 gms of Citrus (dalanghita, kahel, suha, kalamansi, etc.) and drink.
· Neurogenic gastralgia, abdominal distention, heaviness at the chest, acidic vomiting: 3 to 9 gms dried material in decoction.
·Irregular menstruation, painful menstruation: 3 to 9 gms dried material in decoction.
· Sprains and bruises, furuncle infections: Use pounded fresh material as poultice or cook the pulverized drug material in vinegar and apply as hot poultice.
– In various oriental traditional systems, rhizomes used for stomach and bowel disorders.
· In Ayurveda, used for leprosy, fever, dysentery, itching, and as anthelmintic. Also for memory loss, depression and epilepsy.
· In India, used for wound healing. Roots used medicinally as a diaphoretic, astringent, stimulant, tonic, diuretic and demulcent. Also used as vermifuge and emmenagogue.
· In China, tubers used as tonic, stimulant, and stomachic.
· Fresh tubers applied to breast as paste or warm plaster as a galactagogue.
· Dried tubers used for spreading ulcers.
· In Indo-China, used for women in childbirth and to infants for indigestion.
· In Cambodia, tubers used for liver complaints with icterus, for malaria, and headaches.
· In Java, used for urinary problems.
· In Unani, used for ulcers and sores, fevers, dyspepsia.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antidiabetic activity of hydro-ethanolic extract of Cyperus rotundus in alloxan induced diabetes in rats / ScienceDirect

(2) Wound healing activity of cyperus rotundus linnPuratchikody A et al / Indian Journ of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Jan 1, 2006

(3) Effects of herbal mixture with Cyperus rotundus L. on blood pressure, norepinephrine, cortisol and psychological variables in healthy medical students under examination 

(4) Composition of eleven herbals for treating cancer 

(5) Chemical study of the essential oil of Cyperus rotundus / Mesmin Mekem Sonwa and Wilfried A Konig /Phytochemistry • Volume 58, Issue 5, November 2001, Pages 799-810 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(01)00301-6


(7) Evaluation of Hexane Extract of Tuber of Root of Cyperus rotundus Linn (Cyperaceae) for Repellency against Mosquito Vectors / S P Singh et al / Journal of Parasitology Research • Volume 2009 (2009) / doi:10.1155/2009/908085

(8) Administration of Cyperus rotundus tubers extract prevents weight gain in obese Zucker rats / Bernard Lemaure et al / Phytotherapy Research • Volume 21 Issue 8, Pages 724 – 730 / DOI 10.1002/ptr.2147

(9) TIRIRICA (Cyperus rotundus) / Tropical Plant Database / Raintree Nutrition

(10) Anti-Candida activity of Brazilian medicinal plants / Marta Cristina Teixeira Duarte, Glyn Mara Figueria et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol 97, Issue 2, 28 February 2005, Pages 305-311 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.11.016 |

(11) Inhibitory effects of methanol extract of Cyperus rotundus rhizomes on nitric oxide and superoxide productions by murine macrophage cell line, RAW 264.7 cells / Won-Gil Seo, Hyun-Ock Pae et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol 76, Issue 1, June 2001, Pages 59-64 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(01)00221-5 |

(12) Gastroprotective Effect Of Cyperus rotundus Extract against Gastric Mucosal Injury Induced by Ischemia and Reperfusion in Rats / Muhammet E Guldur, A Ozgonul et al / J. Pharmacol., 6: 104-110, 2010

(13) Sorting Cyperus names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

(14) Studies on the activity of Cyperus rotundus Linn. tubers against infectious diarrhea / Poonam G. Daswani, S. Brijesh, Pundarikakshudu Tetali, and Tannaz J. Birdi / Indian J Pharmacol. 2011 May-Jun; 43(3): 340–344 / doi: 10.4103/0253-7613.81502

(15) Antimicrobial investigations on rhizomes of Cyperus rotundus Linn. / Surendra Kumar Sharma* and Ajay Pal Singh / Der Pharmacia Lettre, 2011, 3(3):427-431

(16) Antiplatelet effects of Cyperus rotundus and its component (+)-nootkatone / Eun Ji Seo, Dong-Ung Lee, Jong Hwan Kwak, Sun-Mee Lee, Yeong Shik Kim, Yi-Sook Jung / Journal of Ethnopharmacology 135 (2011) 48–54

(17) Phyto-pharmacotherapeutics of Cyperus rotundus Linn. (Motha): An overview / N Singh, B R Pandey, P Verma, M Bhalla and M Gilca / Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources, Vol 3(4), December 2012, pp 467-476.


(19) Comparative study of Cyperus rotundus essential oil by a modified GC/MS analysis method. Evaluation of its antioxidant, cytotoxic, and apoptotic effects. / Kilani S, Ledauphin J, Bouhlel I, Ben Sghaier M, Boubaker J, Skandrani I, Mosrati R, Ghedira K, Barillier D, Chekir-Ghedira L. / Chem Biodivers. 2008 May;5(5):729-42. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.200890069.

(20) Physiochemical and toxicological studies of the medicinal plant Cyperus rotundus L (Cyperaceae) / Jebasingh D; Jackson DD; Venkataraman S; Emerald BS* / International Journal of Applied Research in Natural Products Vol. 5 (4), pp. 1-8.

(21) Chemical study of the essential oil of Cyperus rotundus / Mesmin Mekem Sonwa, Wilfried A König / Phytochemistry, Volume 58, Issue 5, November 2001, Pages 799–810

(22) Role of Cyperus rotundus oil in decreasing hair growth / Ghada Farouk Abd El-kaream Mohammed / J Intercult Ethnopharmacol. 2012; 1(2): 111-118 / doi: 10.5455/jice.20120626100304


(24) Phytochemical and Pesticidal Properties of Barsanga (Cyperus rotundus Linn.) / Solita Evangeline S. Bañez, Liza Castor / IAMUEW – International Journal of Science and Clinical Laboratory, Vol 1, No 1, 2012 / DOI:

(25) Bioethanol production from weed plant (Cyperus rotundus) by enzymatic hydrolysis / Nitesh Kumar, Jai Prakash Singh, Ravi Ranjan, Subathra Devi C. and Mohana Srinivasan V. / Advances in Applied Science Research, 2013, 4(4):299-302

(26) Effect of Cyperus rotundus tubers ethanolic extract on learning and memory in animal model of Alzheimer / Zahra Rabiei, Mohammadreza Hojjati⁎, Mahmoud Rafieian-Kopaeia, Zahra Alibabaei / Biomedicine and Aging Pathology, Volume 3, No 4, pp 185-191, Octobre 2013 / Doi : 10.1016/j.biomag.2013.08.006

(27) Effect of Cyperus rotundus on ischemia-induced brain damage and memory dysfunction in rats / Fataneh Hashem Dabaghian; Mehrdad Hashemi; Maliheh Entezari; Shabnam Movassaghi; Seyed Ashrafadin Goushegir; Samaneh Kalantari; Abolfazl Movafagh; Zahra Nadia Sharifi / Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, Volume 18, Issue 2, February 2015, Page 199-204

(28) Investigation of the Anti-Microbial and Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Cyperus Rotundus on Tonsillities / Megha Mehta, Asmita Bharmuche and Abhijit Bhatkal / Article published in the Proceedings of National Conference on ‘Women in Science & Engineering’ (NCWSE 2013), SDMCET Dharwad


• Elsewhere, leaves used in the weaving of baskets and hats.
• In Asia, tubers are used as perfume for clothing and as insect repellent.

Study Findings
• Antidiabetic / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the antidiabetic activity of hydro-ethanolic extract of Cyperus rotundus in alloxan induced diabetes in rats. Results showed CR significantly lowered the blood glucose levels and showed antioxidant activity and radical scavenging in vitro.
• Cytoprotective: Cytoprotective effects of Study of Cyperus rotundus against ethanol induced gastric ulceration in rats showed cytoprotective action attributed to inhibition of gastric motility and endogenous prostaglandins.
• Wound healing: Extract showed effects in wound healing parameters: contracting ability, wound closure time and tensile strength.
• Stress-Reducing Effects: Physiological effects of herbal mixture with Cyperus rotundus L. on blood pressure, norepinephrine, cortisol and psychological variables in healthy medical students under examination: Herbal mixture that included CR seems to help reduce stress-related physiological and psychological symptoms.
• Anti-Hypertensive: Aqueous extract of C rotundus showed a hypotensive effect in rats probably acting both centrally and peripherally altering the peripheral resistance and cardiac mechanics. Phytochemical screening yielded tannins, saponins, carbohydrates and the absence of alkaloids, proteins and sterols.
• Antimicrobial Activity: Study showed antimicrobial activity against K pneumonia, A niger and S aureus.
• Mosquito Repellent / Root Tuber: C rotundus extract was screened for repellent activity against mosquito vector Anopheles culicifacies, A stephensi, Culex quinquefasciatus. Study showed the tuber extracts to be more effective for repellency of all the mosquito vectors even at low dose. The extract can be applied as an effective personal protective measure against mosquito bites.
• Polyphenols / Antioxidant: Study on the rhizome extract of Cyperus rotundus exhibited concentration-dependent scavenging effect on superoxide anion radicals, OH radicals, NO radicals, H2O2, metal chelating and reducing power. Results suggest CR rhizome extract can be a potential source of natural antioxidant.
• Anti-Obesity Effect: Study of C rotundus tubers hexane extract for 60 days induced a significant reduction in weight gain without affecting food consumption or inducing toxicity. In vitro, the extract was able to stimulate lipolysis. The effect in weight gain may be partially mediated through activation of ß3-AR. Results suggest CR tuber extract has a potential as a herbal supplement for controlling body weight.
• Anti-Candida Activity: Study of essential oils and ethanolic extracts of leaves and/or roots of 35 medicinal plants in Brazil were screened for anti-candidal activity. The essential oils of 13 plants, including Cyperus rotundus, showed anti-Candida activity.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study showed the methanol extract of rhizomes of CR showed inhibition of NO production in a dose-dependent manner from the suppression of iNOS protein, as well as iNOS mRNA expression. Results suggest a potential for the methanol extract to be developed as an anti-inflammatory agent for diseases mediated by overproduction of NO and O2.
• Gastroprotective: Study results indicate that CR extracts have gastroprotective effect against acute mucosal lesions induced by ischemia/reperfusion.
• Antimutagenicity / Essential Oil: Study shows the oil of CR does not seem genotoxic. The oil exhibited effects against both direct and indirect mutagens.
• Infectious Diarrhea / Tubers: Study evaluated the antidiarrheal activity of C. rotundus tubers decoction. The decoction showed antigiardial activity, reduced bacterial adherence to and invasion of HEp-2 cells. However, the decoction does not have marked antibacterial activity and its antidiarrheal action was attributed to mechanisms other than direct killing of pathogen.
• Antimicrobial / Rhizomes: Various rhizomes extracts were evaluated against six important pathogenic microbes (S. epidermis, B. cereus, P. aeruginosa, E. coli, A. niger, and C. albicans). An ethanolic extract showed the highest antibacterial activity . All extracts were ineffective against fungal strains tested.
• Antiplatelet Effects / Nootkatone: Study of an EtOH extract showed significant and concentration-dependent inhibitory effects on collagen-, thrombin-, and/or AA-induced platelet aggregation. Of the eight components, (+)-nootkatone had the most potent inhibitory effect.
• Anticonvulsant: Study showed pretreatment of mice with ethanolic extract of C. rotundus provided significant protection against strychnine and leptazol-induced convulsions in mice. Effect was attributed possibly to flavonoids.
• Analgesic / Antimicrobial / Cytotoxic: Study of crude extract showed analgesic effect by the tail-flick method, antimicrobial activity, and non-toxicity at different concentrations in the brine shrimp bioassay.
• Antioxidant / Cytotoxic / Apoptotic / Essential Oil: Essential oil showed antioxidant, cytotoxic and apoptotic properties. On on-vitro cytotoxicity assay, essential oil showed to be very effective against L1210 leukemia cell lines. Results correlate with significantly increased apoptotic DNA fragmentation. Oxidative effects were evaluated using DPPH, xanthine/xanthine oxidase assay, and scavenging of superoxide radicals.
• Antimicrobial / Leaves: Ethanolic extract of leaves were evaluated for antimicrobial activity against S. aureus, E. coli, P. aeruginosa, K. pneumonia, A. niger and C. albicans. Results showed significant activity against both bacterial and fungal pathogens.
• Decreasing Hair Growth / Role in Androgenic Hair / Essential Oil: Study evaluated the efficacy and safety of Egyptian C. rotundus essential oil in decreasing androgenic hair (hirsutism and axillary hair) in 91 female patients. Results showed topical application of essential oil is an effective method in treating moderate degrees of hirsutism and axillary hair., without affecting serum testosterone.
• Lipid Lowering / Rhizomes: Study of alcoholic extract of rhizomes of Cyperus rotundus demonstrated statistically significant reduction of serum lipid profile.
• Pesticidal / Tubers: Study of C. rotundus for pesticidal activity showed the tuber can me made into an effective pesticide, more effective than Carbamate, with almost the same efficacy as that of Organophosphate.
• Bioethanol Production: Study evaluated C. rotundus for the production of bioethanol via enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation of CR biomass slurry. Findings showed 40% of simpler monomeric carbohydrate was converted into bioethanol. Results showed weed plants like C. rotundus can be a good alternative sources for ethanol production.
• Effect on Learning and Memory in an Animal Model of Alzheimer / Tubers: Study suggests C. rotundus tubers ethanol extract has some repairing effects on the memory and behavioral disorders produced by lesioning of the NBM (nucleus basalis of Meynert) in rats.
• Neuroprotective: Study investigated the possible neuroprotective effects of an EE of CR on a model of transient global ischemia in rat. Results showed the EECR cannot reduce ischemia-induced, cognitive impairments after transient global cerebral ischemia but can prevent pyramidal cell loss in CA1 region of the hippocampus.
• Antimicrobial / Anti-Inflammatory / Tonsillitis: Study evaluated the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity of C. rotundus for tonsillitis. Results showed antibacterial activity against Streptococcus pyogenes responsible for throat infection.

Extracts, oil and tinctures in the cybermarket.