Paragis went viral on social media sometime in 2017. The weed once perceived an eyesore in anyone’s garden is claimed to have curative powers. Despite its lack of official recognition from health authorities, peoples from different cultures have been using paragis as a home remedy for certain ailments.
A so-called ‘miracle weed’ said to have curative powers went viral on social media in 2017. Many became curious about it, including this writer. I was particularly curious because the weed is very familiar to me. In fact, I hated it so much because it’s an eyesore in our garden. It’s a xerophytic weed that grows almost everywhere. It can thrive even in areas where there is only a little bit of soil. Aside from my garden, of course, it grows on the side of the roads or even on cracks of pavements. You can also find it along river banks and in any settled areas.
My curiosity led me to do some research about this prolific weed. When an elderly neighbor saw me uprooting some of it from a roadside, he asked, “who is sick?” Was I surprised by his question? When I told him about what I read in social media, he was quick to tell me that “paragis is an effective cure for fever and many other health conditions.” He further informed me that it has been a home remedy for many people, especially in rural areas since of old.
Yes, the name of the ‘miracle weed’ is Paragis.
And this is what I gathered from my research. The weed is particularly abundant in warm countries, like in the regions of Asia and Africa. Although there is evidence of some of its varieties growing somewhere in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, South and Central America.
Paragis is an erect, tufted, and glabrous grass with long and tapered leaves. It can grow between 10 centimeters and 1 meter in height. Personally, I used to hate this grass growing in our backyard garden. It’s simply an eyesore among our vegetables and crops. Besides, it’s quick to reproduce due to its numerous spikelets on top that contain several seeds.
Properties and health benefits of paragis
Weed as it may, but paragis is found to be antihelmintic, diuretic, diaphoretic, and febrifuge. Studies particularly show that it contains these important properties:
● Pancreatic lipase inhibitory
And, just a bit of trivia: the grain of paragis is a famine food in India and some parts of Africa.
There have been several propositions regarding paragis’ scientific name, one of the accepted ones is Eleusine indica. It’s commonly called goosegrass or wire grass in English. But the weed is also known by many different names, depending on the local dialects or country where it grows.
Having mentioned the properties of paragis, studies further reveal that the weed offers a lot of health benefits to mankind. Many users also testified to its efficacy in preventing or treating numerous diseases. In the Philippines, many rural folks use paragis to relieve some discomforts. But the country’s Department of Health (DOH) does not officially recognize it as a medicinal plant. DOH insists that exhaustive research and testing should be made before it can be declared safe to use.
Aside from Filipinos, local peoples of Malaysia, Indonesia, Africa, and other countries have also been using paragis to cure certain health conditions.
Unless specified otherwise, paragis is prepared as a tea. Users boil a bunch of the weed in one liter of water for 10-15 minutes. They drink it hot, lukewarm, or cold, depending on personal choice.
● Arthritis, wounds, and parasites. A poultice consisting of a handful of paragis leaves mixed with scraped coconut can effectively relieve arthritis and stop bleeding wounds.
And since paragis has strong laxative properties, a glass or two of the tea removes worms and other parasites in your body.
● Bladder disorder
● Cancer. The antioxidant and antibacterial properties of paragis prevent cancer cells from developing in the body. It was found that extracts of wire grass and D. aegyptium (another variety of the grass) performed selective inhibitory growth on human lung cancer and cervical cancer cells.
● Cystitis, urinary tract infection (UTI), and other urinary problems
● Dandruff. A mixture of minced paragis leaves (including its stems) and coconut oil can be used as a shampoo to eradicate dandruff.
● Diabetes and high blood pressure. Drinking paragis tea regularly can free you from diabetes problems. The boiled leaves and stem helps balance and lower your risk of hypertension. This is what they do in Myanmar. In Nigeria, they drink the tea to treat malaria, too.
● Dislocation of bones and lumbago
● Gallstone problem
● Infertility in women
● Kidney problems. The diuretic property of paragis increases the amount of water in your body, flushing out toxins and expelling the salt content through urine.
● Liver problems
● Ovarian cyst and myoma. Drink a boiled paragis tea in the morning and before bedtime to dissolve ovarian cyst and myoma.
● Respiratory problems. Many herbal practitioners drink paragis tea to cure asthma, colds, cough, flu, and fever.
In the olden times, goosegrass was used by mariners to cure scurvy since the weed is seen to be rich in Vitamin C.
And, may I also add my personal experience of paragis tea. Although I don’t complain of any serious health condition, I tried drinking paragis - and loving it - since I talked with that elderly neighbor. Again, it was curiosity that led me to drink it. And, indeed, I experienced these two things in myself after drinking the tea.
- I perspire a lot. Soon after drinking a glass of the tea, I’d start to perspire even if I’m not doing any high impact exercise. I believe it’s the antioxidant properties working inside my body. I also felt light.
- I fart a lot. This may not be considered a negative effect, but I felt it embarrassing to be farting often. On the other hand, I guess paragis tea has the property to expel gas. It must be a good remedy for flatulence.
How do different cultures use paragis?
● Aetas, an indigenous people in the mountainous parts of the Philippines: they burn the dried leaves and stems of paragis to drive away hematophagous insects.
● The Bangladeshis mix paragis roots with other herbal plants to cure a prolapsed uterus.
● Cambodia: the locals use paragis tea to relieve fever and liver condition.
● The Malays, an ethnic group of Austronesian peoples, make a juice out of the paragis leaves and give it to mothers after childbirth to help remove the placenta.
● In Malaysia, the locals boil the roots for asthma treatment.
● In Myanmar, the paragis leaves are used to treat hypertension.
● Sinhalese, the native group of Sri Lanka: they believe that the weed is effective for sprains and dislocation. They make a poultice of the entire weed, scraped coconut and a piece of Curcuma domestica and apply it on the painful areas.
● Sumatra, Indonesia: Paragis tea is believed to be an effective anthelmintic.
● Bakwiris, an ethnic group in southwestern Cameroon: they use the infusion of the whole weed to treat hemoptysis. Other Cameroonian folks use it to cure diarrhea, dysentery, epilepsy, and intestinal occlusion. Infertile women also drink paragis tea to reverse their condition.
● Nigeria: a decoction of leaves is a home remedy for diabetes and malaria.
● Colombia: A paragis tea is used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, and convulsions.
● In the coastal region of Guyana, South America: A boiled goosegrass makes a good tonic drink. It’s also used to relieve abdominal muscle strain and bladder disorder. They also poultice wounds with it.
● Venezuela: a decoction of paragis seeds is given to infants suffering from black jaundice.
It’s true that a comprehensive study and testing is yet to be done on paragis in order for it to be accepted in mainstream medicine. And it may even take decades before it can be recognized. But, isn’t it that every other medicine available in the market is derived from herbs and plants? Besides, if no cattle or other animals ever died from feeding on paragis, so it’s not likely that humans would die from it, either.