International Journal of Nutrition, Pharmacology, Neurological Diseases

: 2014  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23--27

The incredible benefits of Nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus)

Hashmat Imam1, Zarnigar1, Ghulamuddin Sofi2, Aziz Seikh2, Azad Lone3,  
1 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, National Institute of Unani Medicine, Kottigepalya, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Ilmul Advia, National Institute of Unani Medicine, Kottigepalya, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Moalajat, National Institute of Unani Medicine, Kottigepalya, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Hashmat Imam
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, National Institute of Unani Medicine, Kottigepalya, Magadi Main Road, Bengaluru - 560 091, Karnataka


Nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus), a cosmopolitan weed, is found in all tropical, subtropical and temperate regions of the world. In India, it is commonly known as Nagarmotha and it belongs to the family Cyperacea. The major chemical components of this herb are essential oils, flavonoids, terpenoids, sesquiterpenes, cyprotene, cyperene, aselinene, rotundene, valencene, cyperol, gurjunene, trans-calamenene, cadalene, cyperotundone, mustakone, isocyperol, acyperone, etc., Research studies have shown that it possesses various pharmacological activities such as diuretic, carminative, emmenagogue, anthelminthic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-dysenteric, antirheumatic activities. An extensive review of the ancient traditional literature and modern research revealed that the drug has numerous therapeutic actions, several of which have been established scientifically, which may help the researchers to set their minds for approaching the utility, efficacy and potency of nagarmotha.

How to cite this article:
Imam H, Zarnigar, Sofi G, Seikh A, Lone A. The incredible benefits of Nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus).Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis 2014;4:23-27

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Imam H, Zarnigar, Sofi G, Seikh A, Lone A. The incredible benefits of Nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus). Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Oct 19 ];4:23-27
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Nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus) commonly known as Nagarmotha is found throughout India. It belongs to the family Cyperacea. The genus name Cyperus is derived from Cypeiros, which was the ancient Greek name for the genus, rotundus is Latin word for round and refers to the tuber. [1] The family comprises about 104 genera and more than 5000 species world-wide, although number vary greatly due to differing taxonomic concepts of individual researchers. The largest genus is Carex with about 2000 species world-wide, followed by Cyperus with about 550 species. [2] It is a pestiferous perennial weed with dark green glabrous culms, arising from underground tubers. It is actually a field weed known in all the Southern States as nut grass. The plant produces rhizomes, tubers, basal bulbs and fibrous roots below ground and rosettes of leaves, scapes and umbels above ground. [3]

 Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: PlantaeSubkingdom: TracheobiontaSuper division: SpermatophytaDivision: MagnoliophytaClass: LiliopsidaSubclass: CommelinidaeOrder: Poales (Cyperales)Family: CyperacaeGenus: CyperusSpecies: Rotundus [4]

 Vernacular Names

Arabic: Soad, Soadekufi; Bangali: Nagarmotha; Burma: Vomonniu; Hindi: Nagarmotha; Malaya: Mushkezamin; Gujarat: Nagaramothaya; English: Nut grass; Sanskrit: Chakranksha, Charukesara; Urdu: Saad kufi. [3],[5]


Nagarmotha (C. rotundus) is a cosmopolitan weed found in all tropical, subtropical and temperate regions of the world. In India, it is common in open, disturbed habitats to an elevation of about 1800 m. [6]

 Botanical Description

It is a perennial slender herb, stem at base nodosely thickened and suddenly constricted into a wiry rhizome, sub solitary, triquetrous at top. Leaves long, often overlapping stem. Flowers borne in compound umbel, spikes loosely spicate of 3-8 spixelets. Seeds in the form of trigonous nuts, flowers and fruits almost throughout the year, but chiefly during rainy season. [7]


Phytochemical studies has shown that the major chemical components of this herb are essential oils, flavonoids, terpenoids, and mono sesquiterpenes. The plant contains the following chemical constituents; cyprotene, acopaene, cyperene, aselinene, rotundene, valencene, cyperol, gurjunene, trans-calamenene, dcadinene, gcalacorene, cadalene, amuurolene, gmuurolene, cyperotundone, mustakone, isocyperol, acyperone, [8] 4,11-selinnadien-3-one and 1,8-cineole. [9] The oil of C. rotundus was mainly composed of cyperol, α-cyperene, rotundine, α-cyperone, α-copaene, valerenal, myrtenol, β-pinene, α-pinene and α-Selinene, sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (Caryophyllene). [10],[11]

 Pharmacological Actions

Diuretic, carminative, emmenagogue, anthelminthic, stomachic, stimulant, analgesic, hypotensive, anti-inflammatory, antidysenteric, antirheumatic.[12]

 Therapeutic Uses

The essential oil (0.5-0.9%) from the tuber is used in perfumery, soap making and insect repellent cream. [13] Decoction of rhizome with stem bits of Tinospora cardifolia and dried ginger is given to treat malarial fever. Decoction of rhizome with leaves of Fuaria indica, Swertia chirayita, black pepper and ginger was used to treat typhoid fever. Rhizome juice is given in the dose of 25 ml thrice daily for 3 days to treat constipation. [14] The rhizomes are scraped and pounded with green ginger mixed with honey prescribed in dysentery, gastric and intestinal troubles. Fresh tubers are applied to the breast as a galactagogue. [5]

 Scientific Reports

Ovicidal and larvicidal activity

The ovicidal and larvicidal effect of essential oils extracted from the tubers of C. rotundus was studied on eggs and fourth instar larvae of Aedes albopictus. The eggs and larvae were exposed to serial concentration of the oils ranging from 5 to 150 ppm and kept under observation for 24 h. Both the oils showed remarkable ovicidal and larvicidal activities indicated by EC50 values of<5 ppm and LC50 and LC90 values of <20 ppm. The results obtained suggested that the essential oils of these Cyperus species can serve as a potential source of natural mosquitocidal agents. [15]

Insect repellency activity

Hexane extract of tuber of plant C. rotundus was screened under laboratory conditions for repellent activity against mosquito vector Anopheles culicifacies, Anopheles stephensi and Culex quinquefasciatus. The C. rotundus tuber extract was used to determine their effect on mosquito vector and comparison with the N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide. Result obtained from the laboratory experiment showed that the tuber extracts are more effective for repellency of the entire mosquito vector even at a low dose. [16]

Insecticidal activity

A study was conducted to test the phytochemical screening and insecticidal testing of C. rotundus. It is more effective than Carbamate and has almost the same efficacy as that of organophosphate. Result shows that C. rotundus ranked first because after 10 s, all the test animals (ants) died (10); Organophosphate ranked second with 9 ants dead after 10 s; and the last was Carbamate with seven dead after 12 s. [17]

Antimicrobial activity

The essential oil (0.2%) was extracted by hydrodistillation from the tubers of C. rotundus collected from Dehradun, Uttarakhand. The hydrodistilled oil of C. rotundus was subjected to GC-MS analysis. The oil was found to be effective against various bacterial and fungal strains viz. Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, Candida parapsilosis, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus fumigatus and Fusarium oxysporum in different concentrations. [11]

Antimutagenic and radical scavenging activity

This study evaluates mutagenic and antimutagenic effects of aqueous, total oligomers flavonoids (TOF), ethyl acetate and methanol extracts from aerial parts of C. rotundus with the Salmonella typhimurium assay system. The different extracts showed no mutagenicity when tested with Salmonella typhimurium strains TA98, TA100, TA1535 and TA1538 either with or without the S9 mix. On the other hand, our results showed that all extracts have antimutagenic activity against aflatoxin B1(AFB1) in TA100 and TA98 assay system and against sodium azide in TA100 and TA1535 assay system. TOF, ethyl acetate and methanol extracts exhibited the highest inhibition level of the Ames response induced by the indirect mutagen AFB1.Whereas, ethyl acetate and methanol extracts exhibited the highest level of protection towards the direct mutagen, sodium azide, induced response. In addition to antimutagenic activity, these extracts showed an important free radical scavenging activity toward the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl free radical. TOF, ethyl acetate and methanol extracts showed IC50 value of 15, 14 and 20 g/ml, respectively. [18]

Antimalarial activity

Activity guided investigation of C. rotundus tubers led to the isolation of patchoulenone, caryophyllene or-oxide, 10,12-peroxycalamenene and 4,7-dimethyl-l-tetralone. The antimalarial activities of these compounds are in the range of ECso 10-4-10-6 M, with the novel ndoperoxide sesquiterpene, 10,12-peroxycalamenene, exhibiting the strongest effect at ECso 2.33 × 10 6 M. [19]

Antispasmodic activity

An aqueous extract of rhizomes of C. rotundus (ACR) was tested for its anti-diarrheal and anti-spasmodic activity. Anti-diarrheal effect of ACR was evaluated in castor oil induced diarrhea in mice and antispasmodic effect was evaluated by charcoal meal test in mice at a dose of 125, 250, 500 mg/kg. The % inhibition of diarrhea was 30.36%, 37.90%, 45.45% and 92.45% for ACR 125, 250, 500 mg/kg (po) and loperamide 2 mg/kg dose (po) respectively. ACR 125, 250, 500 mg/kg (po) and atropine sulfate 2 mg/kg dose (po) produced 24.35%, 31.48%, 36.75% and 55.94% inhibition of intestinal transit respectively. These results were indicated that ACR produces its anti-diarrheal effect through decreasing intestinal secretions and anti-spasmodic effect by inhibiting the intestinal motility. [20]

Anticonvulsant and antioxidant activity

Regarding high incidence of epilepsy in human society and with respect to insufficient therapies, in the present study, anticonvulsant effect of C. rotundus extract was experimentally examined. A total of 60 male mice were randomly selected and divided into 6 groups; (1) control, (2) pentylentetrazole (PTZ)-kindled mice, (3) positive control group which received valproate (100 mg/kg) as anticonvulsant drug and (4-6) which received C. rotundus rhizome extract at three doses of 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg; i.p). All groups except for control group were kindled by 11 injections of PTZ (35 mg/kg; i.p) with an interval of 48 h. In the 12 th injection, all groups except for control group were tested for PTZ challenge dose (75 mg/kg). The exhibited phases of seizure (0-6) were observed and noted for 30 min after PTZ injection. At last, all brains of mice were removed and then malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and nitric oxide (NO) levels of brain tissues were determined. Data analysis showed that the hydroalcoholic extract of C. rotundus could reduce intensity and duration of seizure. Furthermore, the extract could increase the level of SOD and NO and decrease MDA level in mice brain. It is concluded that C. rotundus rhzome extract, probably through its antioxidant properties could have exerted a potent antiepileptic effect. [21]

Antibacterial activity

The Antibacterial activity of Cyperus oil was studied for various microorganisms (S. aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus vulgaris, Streptococcus pyogenes, E. coli and P. aeruginosa) using inhibition zone method (Aromatogram). The MIC and MBC for each microbe were estimated. The oil of C. rotundus was shown a remarkable activity against Gram-positive bacteria, less antibacterial activity was found against Gram-negative bacteria and no activity were observed with the oil against P. aeruginosa and P. vulgaris.[10]

Antiplatelet activity

C. rotundus, a well-known oriental traditional medicine, has been reported to exhibit wide spectrum activity in biological systems including the circulatory system, however, little information is available on its antiplatelet activity. This study was undertaken to investigate the antiplatelet effects of C. rotundus EtOH extract (CRE) and its constituent compounds. Materials and methods: The antiplatelet activities of CRE and its eight constituent compounds were evaluated by examining their effects on rat platelet aggregations in vitro and ex vivo and on mice tail bleeding times. Results: During the in vitro platelet aggregation study, CRE showed significant and concentration dependent inhibitory effects on collagen, thrombin and/or induced platelet aggregation. Of its eight components, (+)-nootkatone was found to have the most potent inhibitory effect on collagen, thrombin and AA-induced platelet aggregation. In addition, CRE-and (+)-nootkatone-treated mice exhibited significantly prolonged bleeding times. Furthermore, (+)-nootkatone had a significant inhibitory effect on rat platelet aggregation ex vivo. Conclusions: This study demonstrates the antiplatelet effects of CRE and its active component (+)-nootkatone and suggests that these agents might be of therapeutic benefit for the prevention of platelet-associated cardiovascular diseases. [22]

Lipid lowering activity

In the present study, hyperlipidaemia was induced by high fat diet as it is always useful for the assessment of agents that interfere with the absorption, degradation and excretion of cholesterol. Feeding with high fat diet caused significant (P < 0.05) increase in serum total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels with respect to the baseline value. Though on high fat diet feeding an increase in high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels were seen but they were not found to be statistically significant. In present study, treatment with the standards and different doses of extract exerted statistically significant (P < 0.05) reduction in serum TC, LDL, TG, HDL levels at the end of 15 days of intervention. [23]

Wound healing activity

The present study was aimed to evaluate the wound healing activity of extract of tuber parts of C. rotundus. An alcoholic extract of tuber parts of C. rotundus was examined for wound healing activity in the form of ointment in three types of wound models on rats: The excision, the incision and dead space wound model. The extract ointments showed considerable difference in response in all the above said wound models when comparable to those of a standard drug nitrofurazone ointment (0.2% w/w NFZ) in terms of wound contracting ability, wound closure time and tensile strength. [24]


Nagarmotha (C. rotundus) is a perennial plant and is one of the most invasive weeds known, having spread out to a world-wide distribution in tropical and temperate regions. The plant is mentioned in the ancient ayurvedic medicine Charaka Samhita. Ayurvedic physicians uses the plant, known as musta or musta moola churna, for treating fevers, digestive system disorders, dysmenorrhea and other maladies. Modern alternative medicine recommends using the plant to treat nausea, fever and inflammation; for pain reduction; for muscle relaxation and many other disorders.


The authors are gratefully acknowledged the immense help received from the scholars whose articles are cited and included in references of this manuscript. The authors are also grateful to authors/editors/publishers of all those articles, journals and books from where the literature for this article has been reviewed and discussed.


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