Other Names of Coix: Job's-tears, Adlay Millet, Yi Yi Ren, Chinese Pearl Barley, Soft-shelled Job's Tears, Coix ma-yuen, Lagrimas de Job, Coix Lachrymal, Coix lacryma-jobi, Yi Hato-mugi

Useful Parts of the Plant: Seeds, root

Coix or Job's tears are a type of branched grass with broad leaves. Found in India, Pakistan, China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, it is well known for its health benefits. Coix seeds are shaped like tears and are found in different colors such as purple, white, brown and yellow. The seeds and root of the plant are used for medicinal purposes to cure various ailments such as arthritis, high cholesterol, warts and hay fever. Coix is one of the most popular food herbs used to treat stiffness and pain in the joints.

Nutritional information and Properties of Coix

Coix seeds, like most cereal grains, are rich in nutrients and provide many health benefits. Coix seeds are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. It has approximately the same quantity of B-complex vitamins and calories as brown rice which is 360 to 380kcal in every 100grams. However it contains a much higher level of iron and calcium and almost double the quantity of protein. Coix also contains thiamin, lysine, arginine and adenoisine.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses of Coix

Coix is commonly used as a therapeutic herbal remedy. It can also be used in cooking. Coix contains high levels of essential fatty acids which help to combat viral infections and relieve inflammation. The many health benefits of coix include:

  • After the husks of coix seeds are removed, they are used to treat ailments of the lungs, large intestines, spleen and stomach. The seeds are sweet and mild in flavor.
  • Traditional natural medicines make use of coix to encourage the passage of water in the body. It is diuretic in nature and promotes proper flow of urine. It also helps in treating swelling due to water retention.
  • Herbal practitioners use coix to alleviate digestion problems, abdominal bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
  • Many prescriptions use coix to relieve arthritis and rheumatism.
  • Chinese medicine commonly uses coix to treat diseases of the lung, abscesses in the lungs and appendicitis.
  • Medicines made with coix help to draw fluids away from the skin and thus help to relieve swelling and inflammation caused by mastitis. Coix is also helpful in encouraging lactation in women.
  • Some studies have found that coix is effective in treating infection beneath the nails. It is known to stimulate the immune system and help in getting rid of the contaminated cells.
  • Coix seeds are antiseptic and anti-inflammatory in nature and thus help in treating fevers. The seeds are also known to reduce spasms, control blood sugar levels and serve as a mild, natural sedative.
  • The root of the coix plant is used to treat menstrual problems.
  • Boiled coix seeds can be also be used to make a tea which is beneficial in curing warts. The tea also helps to nourish and moisturize the skin. The seeds may be ground with honey to make a smooth paste which can be used to treat problem areas on the skin such as redness and blemishes.
  • One study showed that coix seeds may help to prevent osteoporosis.
  • Coix is easy to incorporate into foods. It can be mixed with rice, wild yam and other herbs to make a beneficial porridge.

Other Uses

Coix seeds are used in some cultures as beads to make jewelry. The seeds have hard shells which can be polished easily. They also have a hole in the center which makes them ideal for beading purposes.