GIANT REED, Arundo donax


Latin name: Arundo donax

English name: Giant reed, Wild cane, Arundo, Spanish cane, Carrizo

Sanskrit name: Nala

Medicinal parts used: Seeds, Leaves and Roots

Arundo donax is a tall perennial cane growing in damp soils, either fresh or moderately saline. It is native to eastern Asia but has been widely planted and naturalized in the temperate and subtropical regions of both hemispheres, especially in the Mediterranean, California and the Caribbean. It forms dense stands on disturbed sites, sand dunes, in wetlands and riparian habitats.

Generally growing to 6m, in ideal conditions it can exceed 10 m, with hollow stems 2-3 cm diameter. The leaves are alternate, 30-60 cm long and 2-6 cm broad with a tapered tip, grey-green, and have a hairy tuft at the base.

Therapeutic use

  • In folk medicine, the rhizome or rootstock is used for dropsy.
  • Boiled in wine with honey, the root or rhizome has been used for cancer.
  • This or other species of Arundo is also reported to be used for condylomata and indurations of the breast.
  • The root infusion is regarded as antigalactagogue, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emollient, hypertensive, hypotensive, and sudorific.

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