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Agropyron (Elymus) repens

Agropyron (Elymus) repens                                

Common name: Couch Grass

Family: Poaceae

Part Used: Rhizome, seeds & root.

Constituents: 

  • Saponins
  • Carbohydrates & Polysaccharides (including Inulin, Triticin, Inositol, Mannitol) & Mucilage
  • Coumarins
  • Flavonoids (rutin, hyperoside & baicaleine)
  • Iridoids
  • Phenocarboxylic acids (chlorogenic and p-hydroxycinnamic acids)
  • Vitamins (Vitamins C & Beta-carotene) & Minerals (Iron & Potassium)
  • Tannins

Medicinal Actions:

  • Anti-lithic
  • Anti-microbial
  • Demulcent
  • Diuretic
  • Expectorant

 

Medical uses: 

  • In genitourinary conditions to exert a soothing, diuretic influence, increasing the flow of urine without stimulating actual renal secretion. Used whenever urine has a high specific gravity and irritation of the mucosa of the bladder or kidneys (e.g. hematuria and cystitis, nephrolithiasis and pyelonephritis). Indicated in dysuria with interrupted urination in drops produced by spasmodic muscular contraction of the urethra and bladder. Other non-urinary indications include gout and chronic rheumatism, and as soothing expectorant to reduce the irritation of dry, non-productive coughs.

Pharmacology:

  • Saponin & potassium content both theorized to induce urinary flow by increasing the osmotic pressure within the glomerular tubules. Small sugars present are poorly absorbed from the gut and may also account for gentle diuretic effects.
  • Mucilage and polysaccharides have soothing and demulcent effects.

Pharmacy:

  • Decoction: 1 tbsp/cup, simmer 5 min, 1-2 cups TID.
  • Tincture: (1:1, 25%), 3-6 ml QD, 40 ml weekly max.
  • Dried rhizome: 4-8 g TID.

Toxicity:

  • Generally well tolerated and no side effects have been reported.

Contraindications:

  • Oral administration of infusion has demonstrated a decrease in citraturia when combined with a high carbohydrate diet, and an increase in calcuria and decrease in magnesiuria when combined with a standard diet.
  • Theoretical concern when used in edema from heart failure or kidney insufficiency due to inadequate excretion of salt from diuretic effects.

Interactions:

  • Theoretical hypokalemia with long term use alongside K+ depleting diuretics.

References:

  • Find a complete list of references for this monograph as well as images and a review of its evidence based applications in Dr. Marciano’s Herbal Textbook.
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