Locally common by the name Karuka Pullu or Durva Grass, Cynodon dactylon is a type of grass from the family Poaceae. It has a wide range of distribution in India from the valleys of Kashmir to Kerala in the south.
Based on the color of the stem, there are two varieties of Karuka. One is white while the other is blue.
Plant Type: Perennial Grass
Scientific name: Cynodon dactylon
Height: 5 to 10 cm
Main uses: As a medicinal herb, for making lawns
English: Bermuda Grass
Sanskrit: Durva, Anantha, Shataparvika
This herb thrives in the ground by spreading its dense root networks. Like the Indian Pennywort, Karuka has leaves originating upwards from the stem nodes while the roots grow downward.
The blade-like leaves are 5 cm long with the flowers light green in color.
When spread in lawns or courtyards, it looks like a beautiful green carpet.
Distribution & Habitat
Cynodon dactylon grows well in tropical climates. It thrives on different types of soils ranging from moist to semi-arid. It spreads very fast and has extensive rhizomes. Due to this, it is also listed as one of the worst weeds [The world’s worst weeds. Distribution and biology – Leroy G. Holme].
Medicinal Uses of Karuka Pullu
Although an agricultural weed in many places, Karuka or Durva possess several valuable medicinal properties. Many of the tribes in India use it to cure a wide variety of ailments.
- The plant contains several chemical compounds like flavonoids and steroids. Its ash
containcalcium. phosphorus, magnesium, sodium & potassium. The plant contains up to 10.47% protein also [Oushadhasasyangal – Dr. S.Neshamony].
- According to research about chemical constituents, the herb exhibits anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic and analgesic properties. Moreover, the Mullu Kuruma tribes of Wayanad in Kerala have been using it to treat inflammations.
- It is diuretic.
- It may help to control bleeding from wounds
. Apartfrom these, Cynodon dactylon is effective against diarrhea and diabetes.
In many religions, this grass is sacred. In Hinduism, it is used for Ganapathi Homam.