NaturHeals – Wild Weeds 1 - Durva - Cynodon Dactylon - Bermuda Grass
One Weed – Different Names
The scientific name of Durva is Cynodon Dactylon, and it belongs to the Poaceae family. Durva is the Sanskrit name of the plant, which means “cut or eaten by animals”. In English, it is most commonly known as Bermuda grass or Bahama grass. But it also has other names like kweek grass, conch grass, twitch grass, dog’s tooth grass, star grass, Indian doab, star grass, and quack grass. In Hindi and Urdu, it is known as durba, dur, dubra, and budla.
Ayurveda has been using Durva as a medicinal herb for several centuries. Apart from this, Durva has a special significance in the Indian culture as well. It is respected as the second holiest herb in Hindu religion. The grass is sacred to Lord Ganesha, the Elephant Head God. I have heard my sister Janki say many times that Durga Mataji’s Pooja ritual is incomplete without Durva and Prayers to Lord Ganesha cannot start without Durva.
Ideal Climate and Soil
Although originally found in the Savannahs of Africa, Durva or the Bahama grass grows abundantly in tropical and sub-tropical regions. The weed needs sun to thrive, while the cool climate during winter puts an end to its growth, turning it brown. As the weed needs moisture to grow rapidly, the best season to sow the seeds is during the wet or monsoon season. It can grow in heavy clay, medium loam, and light sandy soils. It can easily grow in saline, acidic, as well as alkaline soils. This is the reason this grass is seen across woodlands, pastures, and orchards. As Durva grows to create a dense mat of grass, it is preferred as turf grass for golf courses and alike.
The Durva grass is characterized by 20-Feet long runners and 1.3-feet erect stems. The leaves have rough edges and tapers towards the apex. They are flat and no more than 1-cm in breath. The leaves are green in colour with a purplish tinge at the ends. The fruits of the plant are tiny grains that appear greyish in colour. Its roots grow 47-50 inches deep into the soil.
Principal Constituents and Compounds
The entire Durva plant is used for medicinal purposes in traditional medicinal practices like Ayurveda, Chinese, Unani, and Homeopathy. To the credit of Bermuda or Durva Grass, the reason is that this weed is filled with healthy component such as carbohydrates, crude proteins, magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorous, flavonoids, alkaloids, glycosides, carotene, Vitamin C, triterpenoids, mineral constituents, β-sitosterol sol, palmitic acid, ergonovine, ergonovine, selenium vanillin, and friedelin are the main components of Durva or Bahama grass.
The medicinal benefits of Durva or cynodon dactylon are immense. It contains agropyrene, a volatile oil that contributes to its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Apart from this, Durva is anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral, antilithic, hypotensive, antibiotic, and even anti-cancer. It also acts an antioxidant, antiulcer, anti-arrhythmic, hepato-protective, cardio-protective, etc.
Traditional medicine uses Durva for treating a variety of ailments, including snakebites, headaches, epilepsy, dysentery, cough, calculus, measles, rubella, etc. Several skin disorders like scabies, itching, rashes, eczema, warts, leprosy, etc. can be cured with Durva. As it acts as a coolant and has antibacterial properties, it is also a great medicine for treating cuts, wounds, and bleeding.
Several studies, primarily conducted on rats, indicated that the Durva plant is beneficial in treating an array of diseases. One study showed that the herbal weed has antidiabetic properties. Moreover, it also helped in lowering cholesterol levels of the body, making it a potential treatment for hypertension.
Another study on albino rats showed that Durva or Bahama grass is effective in treating diarrhoea due to the presence of methanol in the plant. Moreover, the flavonoid in the plant makes it ideal for treating ulcers. Similarly, the hydroalcoholic extract of the plant showed improvement in cardiac functions, making it suitable for maintaining heart health. A study also pointed out the benefits of Durva plant as a CNS depressant.
Research on medicines made with Durva as an ingredient has shown results in treating health issues like allergic rhinitis, asthma, white spot syndrome virus, hay fever, mild allergies, etc. It also aids in inhibiting anthrax toxin activity. Apart from all these, Durva also helps in treating hair problems like baldness, greying, and dandruff. Eye issues like conjunctivitis and dental problems can also be treated with this weed.
Durva also acts as a blood purifier and is great for detoxification. Hence, it is an effective remedy for blood disorders, prostate enlargements, UTIs, and syphilitic problems. It helps in curing the problems like excessive thirst and burning sensation in the body. It also heals the body in case of issues like decreased urine secretion.
Apart from all these, Durva is a great remedy for numerous health issues that women suffer from. As it is effective in reducing all kinds of bleeding, it is used as a remedy for severe menstrual bleeding. It is also a great cure for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. Moreover, Durva has been used for preventing miscarriage as well as for promoting the growth and development of the foetus. It is also one of the herbs that is prescribed after childbirth, as it acts as galactagogue, which stimulates the production of breast milk.
As Durva has the potential of curing so many different health problems, it can be used both internally and externally. The Durva herb comes in the form of paste, powder, decoction, and juice.
- Crushed leaves, juice, and paste or ointment are used on fresh cuts and wounds, while decoction of the root is used as a diuretic. Infusion of the root is also used for pausing bleeding caused by piles.
- Consuming the decoction of Durva mixed with sugar is good for clearing the problem of urine retention.
- The paste of the plant is applied on the forehead for curing headache and on the lower abdomen to cure several vaginal bleedings. The paste made of Durva is used for treating all kinds of skin conditions.
- The combination of Durva juice and honey, consumed orally, is useful in curing menorrhagia, i.e., heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Drops of the freshly squeezed Durva juice is poured into the nose to cure epistaxis or nosebleeds.
- Fresh juice of the plant as eye drops can reduce the burning sensation and redness caused by conjunctivitis.
There is no doubt to the fact that Durva is one of the most invasive and aggressive weeds on earth. However, the benefits of the weed are higher than the damages it causes. The research done till now points out that this can be a safe alternative to the synthetic drugs that are available in the market today. The need of the hour is to evaluate the plant thoroughly and come up with new, potent, and cost-effective drugs that can cure such a wide array of diseases without causing any side effects.
It is also important to educate the farmers about the benefits of Durva, and how cultivating and harvesting it without the use of herbicides can benefit them and their fellow humans. Moreover, by not using herbicide to kill the weeds, they would be doing a huge service towards preserving the ecosystem.
Jaivik Farms urges farmers to go natural when it comes to weed control, as we are ready to buy all the herbal or medicinal weeds, including Durva, which have been grown on soil that has not been contaminated with the use of chemicals, herbicides, and pesticides. Our experts are also ready to support farmers to indulge in natural weed farming, including teaching the ways to cultivate and harvest the medicinal weeds.