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Bermuda grass makes a helpful tea

By Deborah Brandt / For Healthy U

Everyone knows what Bermuda grass looks like. It is a nice lawn grass, but likes to creep outside of where you want it to stay, into gardens, rock landscaping, even popping up in sidewalks and asphalt. It spreads by way of runners (rhizomes). These runners have nodes that put down new mats of grass. You can pull Bermuda runners up that can be several feet long.

We think of Bermuda grass as a noxious weed, but in Ayurveda medicine it is known as the second-most holy herb. Ayurveda is the ancient traditional medical system in India. In Sanskrit, its name is Durva. Medieval herbalists used it to treat inflamed bladders and water retention. The tea is historically used also for diabetes, high blood pressure and as an antiseptic. In India, it is considered safe in pregnancy, and often recommended as a tea to maintain good quality breastmilk.

The ancient Greeks and Romans used Bermuda grass for similar purposes. It is native to Asia. Nutritionally, it contains fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorus and potash.

To collect and prepare it, use only the "runners" with an inch or two of the above green part. Chop it up and dry in a dark dry space. Boil about a tablespoon of dried root in a cup or two of water for a few minutes; let it sit for a few more minutes, then strain. A couple cups of tea a day for a few days is the usual way to take it. Externally, chop the prepared runners and mash them in a little hot water, then apply to chronic irritated skin conditions as a paste. It is cooling to itchy, red and burning skin.

Be very sure you do not use genetically modified Bermuda grass. We have seen recently in the news how "Tifton 85" Bermuda grass has poisoned cattle. Genetically modified foods/plants are capable of unforeseen and serious consequences due to potentially dangerous genetic mutations. Plain old regular Bermuda grass has been used beneficially for centuries.

Some people like to "juice" it like wheatgrass. I have had no experience juicing the leaves, so can't recommend it one way or another. I find the tea particularly helpful for those people who are sensitive to too much sodium. If you are the type who has to watch your sodium intake or your blood pressure goes up and you can't pull your wedding ring off because your fingers are swollen, Bermuda grass may be right up your alley, or I should say, right in your backyard.

Along the same lines, some women who gain water weight pre-menstrually, or folks who puff up when changing elevation or when the weather changes may find the short term use of Bermuda grass relieves the symptoms. It does this because Bermuda grass helps your body flush sodium out through your kidneys — by the next day you should start passing the extra water, because water follows sodium.

Deborah Brandt is a clinical herbalist at From the Ground Up in Las Cruces.

From Las Cruces Sun News

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Replies to This Discussion

There are some interesting benefits mentioned, I wonder which of the varieties we tipically use in the Valley are genetically modified? TifWay, tifGrand , Midiron, Bobsod etc..

Tifton isn't actually GMO grass, it is a hybrid grass. I am interested in this though, although I'm wonder how it affects people with allergies. I know I am allergic to the pollen, not sure if the runners would bother me.


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