Arundo donax L.

DeFilipps, Robert A. & Krupnick, Gary A., 2018, The medicinal plants of Myanmar, PhytoKeys 102, pp. 1-341: 140-141

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scientific name

Arundo donax L.


Arundo donax L.  


Myanmar: alo-kyu, kyu, kyu-ma, mai-aw-awn (Shan), maiaw (Kachin). English: giant reed, nana cane, Spanish cane, switch cane.


Mediterranean region; also in tropical America. In Myanmar, found growing naturally all over up to 1 km altitude, most common in Bhamaw, Katha, Pyin-oo-lwin and Thayet areas.

Conservation status.

Least Concern [LC] ( IUCN 2017).


With cooling properties, as well as bitter, sweet and astringent tastes, this plant facilitates digestion, clears phlegm, repels bile, purifies blood, and diminishes “heat”. It relieves aches and pains in the heart, bladder and uterus, in addition to curing herpes, stimulating appetite, increasing sperm, purifying urine and strengthening breathing.

Leaf: When dried can be brewed with tea leaves and taken to stimulate appetite, promote virility, stop vomiting, remedy passing of blood, and relieve muscle aches, pains and stiffness. Root: Used as diuretic, for urine purification, gonorrhea, itchy skin, and menstrual flow stimulation; the root mass is boiled in water, and the resulting liquid is ingested. Adding the powder of the tiger cowry ( Cypraea tigris   ) to the liquid in which the root mass has been boiled and ingesting the mixture used to treat women for the red or white discharges of gonorrhea. Because this plant promotes urination, it is an ingredient in many diuretics. A mixture containing ten parts of the root mass, five parts tiger cowry, two parts rock salt, five parts hsin-hnamaung ( Heliotropium indicum   or Tournefortia roxburghii   ) and one part sting ray is made into balls the size of betel ( Piper betle   ) nuts, and dried in the sun as a treatment for kidney stones, bladder or urination pain, blood in the urine, incomplete urination in males, and dysentery in females. The mixture is taken once in the morning and once at night for symptom relief and to promote health.


The medicinal uses of this species in India are discussed in Jain and DeFilipps (1991). In Indo-China the rhizome serves as a lactifuge ( Perry 1980).

A reported chemical constituent of the species is the alkaloid gramine (donaxine). Research has indicated that this alkaloid causes weak parasympathomimetic action ( Perry 1980).


Nordal (1963), Agricultural Corporation (1980), Perry (1980), Forest Department (1999).