Family • Cyperaceae - Cyperus brevifolius (Rottb.) Hassk. - MULLUMBIMBY COUCH - Duan ye shui wu gong

Scientific names

Cyperus brevifolius (Rottb.) Hassk.
Kyllinga brevifolia Rottb.
Kyllinga longiculmis Miq.
Duan ye shui wu gong (Chin.)

Common names

Bibi-inok (Bon.)
Kadkadot (Ig.)
Pugo-pugo (C. Bis.)
Green kyllinga (Engl.)
Green water sedge (Engl.)
Kyllinga weed (Engl.)
Mullumbimby couch (Engl.)
Short leaved kyllinga (Engl.)
Shortleaf spikesedge (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

VIETNAMESE: Co bac dau la ngan.
CHINESE: Duan ye shui wu gong.
HAWAIIAN: Kaluhā, Kili’o’opu, Manunēnē, Mau’u mokae.
JAPANESE: Himekugu.
MANGAREVAN: Mutie iwa.
MAORI: Mauku ‘ōniāni, Tumu ‘enua.
PALAUAN: Deus, Esechesiding
SAMOAN: Tuisē, Tuisē, Tuse.
SATAWALESE: Fithin nar.
SPANISH: Fosforito, juncia corta.
TAHITIAN: Mo’u upo’lo.
TONGAN: Pakopako.
YAPESE: Bwogorewau, Nikamoyr.

Pugo-pugo is an annual herb with slender stems, 10 to 50 centimeters high, usually scattered, rising from slender creeping rootstocks. Leaves are narrow, 3 to 10 centimeters long and less than 3 millimeters wide; shining green. Spikes are mostly solitary, ovoid, green to white, 8 millimeters long or less. Spikelets very numerous, lanceolate, about 3 millimeters long, with the keel of the flowering glume not winged. Whole inflorescence is subtended by 3 long leafy bracts. Fruit is a nut, about 1 millimeters long and compressed.


– Throughout the Philippines, at low to medium altitudes, especially in open grasslands, waste places, along dikes, rice paddies and other moist places, at low and medium altitudes.
– Pantropic.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Acute toxicity and general pharmacological effect on central nervous system of the crude rhizome extract of Kyllinga brevifolia Rottb. / M C Hellion-Ibarrola et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology
Volume 66, Issue 3, September 1999, Pages 271-27 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(99)00002-1

(2) Characterisation of new oligoglycosidic compounds in two Chinese medicinal herbs / Sandra Apers et al / Phytochemical Analysis• Volume 13 Issue 4, Pages 202 – 206 / DOI 10.1002/pca.642

(3) Medicinal plants used against dysentery, diarrhea and cholera by the tribes of erstwhile Kament district of Arunachal Pradesh / A Kar and S K Borthakur / Natural Product Radiance, Vol 7(2), 2008, pp 176-181.

(4) Anxiolytic-like and sedative effects of Kyllinga brevifolia in mice / María del Carmen Hellión-Ibarrola*; Yenny Montalbetti; Olga Y. Heinichen; María L. Kennedy; Miguel A. Campuzano; Derlis A. Ibarrola / Rev. bras. farmacogn. vol.22 no.6 Curitiba Nov./Dec. 2012 Epub Sep 20, 2012 / http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-695X2012005000112

(5) Kyllinga brevifolia Rottb., Cyperaceae / Common names / Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk / PIER

(6) HEPATOPROTECTIVE EFFECTS OF KYLLINGA BREVIFOLIA ON CARBON TETRACHLORIDE INDUCED LIVER DAMAGE IN RATS / Bhattasri Sree Charan / International Journal of Pharmacology Research / 1(1), 2011, 16-20.

– Kyllinga leaves are glossier than turfgrass leaves. Also, they have a distinctive “minty sweet” scent when leaves are mowed or crushed.

Parts utilized
· Whole plant.
· Collect year round, wash under the sun.

– Prepared drug minty tasting and neutral-natured.
– Decongestant, antipyretic, antiinflammatory, analgesic, antimalarial.

· In Paraguay folk medicine, rhizomes used as a refreshing drink.

· Colds with fever; when taken internally, has a perspiring (sudorific) effect.
· Whooping cough, bronchitis, swelling pain in the throat, malaria.
· Snake bites, furuncles, sprains: Apply poultice of pounded fresh leaves.
· Skin pruritus: Decoction may be used as an external wash.
· In India, used for dysentery – ten fresh tubers made into paste and consumed with rice; once daily for three days.
· Used for liver disease.
· Malays used the rhizome for poulticing sore legs.
· In Paraguay folk medicine, used as digestive, diuretic, sedative, tonic, antispasmodic, and sudorific.

Pugo-pugo3Flowers at YMCA Keanae, Maui - Credit: Forest & Kim Starr - Plants of Hawaii - Image licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, permitting sharing and adaptation with attribution.

Study Findings
• CNS Depressant Activity / Sedative Effect: Study of crude hydro-alcoholic rhizome extract of Kyllinga brevifolia on mice showed increase gastrointestinal transit, decrease spontaneous locomotor activity, piloerection, passitivity, catatonia and stereotyped behavior. It also showed a significant dose-dependent increase in hypnotic effect induced by pento-barbital. Results explain it traditional use to alleviate stress and as a sedative agent.
• Flavonoids / Antiviral: Study yielded two known flavonoids glycosides and a new quercetin. triglycoside, a compound that showed moderate antiviral activity.
• Anxiolytic / Sedative: Study of crude hydro-alcoholic extract and fractions of rhizome showed a weak sedative and interesting anxiolytic-like effect in mice and suggests a potential for use in women.
• Hepatoprotective: Study evaluated a methanolic extract of whole plant of K. brevifolia in male Wistar albino rats showed significant protection against CCl4-induced hepatocellular injury.