Couch Grass is powerfully diuretic and has a soothing, anti-inflammatory healing effect on the lining of the bladder. It is rich in mucilage, volatile oils and polysaccharides which are considered the active ingredients of this herb. The sugar compounds which are released on contact with water in the body soothe the mucosa throughout the body – especially in the urinary tract.
One of these compounds is triticin, a polysaccharide related to inulin which makes up around 8 percent of the herb. It is this compound that makes it a good remedy for mild cystitis. When certain sugar compounds are released into the urinary tract, the bacteria that cause cystitis are attracted to these compounds, causing them to release their hold in the urethra. As long as lots of water is drunk alongside the herb, this can help to flush the disease-causing bacteria out of the urinary tract.
As a diuretic, Couch Grass assists the kidneys in clearing out waste, salt and excess water by increasing urine production. This also inhibits microbial growth in the urinary system.
Couch Grass is an expectorant herb that helps to alleviate irritating coughs, bronchitis and laryngitis. Its soothing effect on the mucosa in the chest make it effective in clearing catarrhal congestion. It can also be used as a gargle to provide relief from sore throats, laryngitis and tonsillitis.
The rich silica content has a healing effect on the lungs, making this herb useful after chest infections.
When animals seek out grasses to ease digestive problems, their top choice is always Couch Grass. The rich mucilage content of the rhizome provides digestive benefits to humans too. Most mucilage is not broken down by the human digestive system, it absorbs toxins from the bowel and gives bulk to stools, which in turn can lower bowel transit time.
Mucilage also protects against ingested toxins and bacteria, helps to regulate intestinal flora, relaxes and soothes via the endodermal lining of the gut and protects against gastric acidity.
Couch Grass rhizome contains inositol – a compound that prevents the accumulation of fat and cholesterol in the liver. Studies have found that inositol can help to prevent fatty liver disease, especially if used in conjunction with choline.
Folklore and history
Used in herbal medicine since the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans, Couch Grass was traditionally used as a diuretic and to expel gravel from the bladder.
Its sweet tasting root has also been used as a coffee substitute, and to make meal and mixed with wheat flour in times of scarcity.
17th century herbalist Culpeper had this to say about it in his tome The Complete Herbal, “the most medicinal of all the quick grasses. The roots of it act powerfully by urine; they should be dried and powdered, for the decoction by water is too strong for tender stomachs, therefore should be sparingly used when given that way to children to destroy the worms. The way of use is to bruise the roots, and having well boiled them in white wine, drink the decoction; it is opening, not purging, very safe: it is a remedy against all diseases coming of stopping, and such are half those that are incident to the body of man; and although a gardener be of another opinion, yet a physician holds half an acre of them to be worth five acres of carrots twice told over".
Considered by gardeners as an annoying weed, Couch Grass has long been valued by herbalists for its mucilage rich rhizome. It has been used for thousands of years to treat water retention, bladder issues, kidney infections and kidney stones, sore throats and to clear congestion.
This is the grass that domestic dogs and cats seek out as medicine, with animals instinctively knowing which plants and grasses are naturally beneficial to them. It is also known as “Dog Grass” for this very reason.
Couch Grass Tincture
Can be added to water or fruit juice and taken when required.
Traditionally Taken: 2-3ml taken 2-3 times per day, or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner.
Couch Grass contains carbohydrates (10%) (including triticin (3-8%) (a polysaccharide related to inulin), inositol, mannitol, and mucilage (10%)), volatile oil (0.01-0.05%), agropyrene, flavonoids (tricin), cyanogenic glycosides, saponins, vanilloside (vanillin monoglucoside) (very small amounts), vanillin, and phenolcarboxylic acids (silicic acid; and silicates)
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please consult your healthcare practitioner before using Couch Grass preparations.