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Cynodon Dactylon

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Background & General Info

Cynodon dactylon is a perennial stoloniferous grass widely found throughout temperate and subtropical regions across the globe, especially on seacoasts, field margins, irrigated grounds, cultivated lawns, roadsides, and dry places. [1][2] It is commonly referred to as Bahama grass, Bermuda grass, common couch, or devil’s grass in English and “gou ya gen” in Chinese and rapidly spreads through its long creeping runners or stolons in frequently disturbed open areas, creating a thick tuft on the ground’s surface. [2] Noted for being the most extensively used lawn grass in warm countries, Cynodon dactylon is also a well-known pasture grass and medicinal herb and is extremely variable, readily hybridizing with other species of the genus Cynodon. [3]


Rooting at its nodes, Cynodon dactylon possesses slender scaly rhizomes and long, quickly growing creeping runners or stolons that reach a length of approximately 20 meters. [2][3] The whitish roots are tough and almost woody with smooth fibers. [4] Its linear, narrow leaves are flat and glabrous but sometimes can be folded or convolute, with subacute apex and leaf sheaths bearded at mouth. [3] The leaves taper to a sharp point and are ribbed with smooth sheath and hairy stipules. [4] Blooming from August to September, purplish flowers emerge in two close alternative rows, with the inflorescences on slender culms comprising around 2–12 spikes that are arranged in a star-like pattern at the apex of stem. [2][4] These 2.5–10-cm-long awnless spikes consist of several flat spikelets, located in two rows on one side of a spike. [2] The linear-lanceolate glumes are often purplish and are usually more than half as long as the floret. [3]

History & Traditional Use

Fresh juice is expressed from Bermuda grass, which is traditionally used to relieve hemuturesis, vomiting, chronic diarrhea and dysentery, and catarrhal ophthalmia and is applied to cuts and wounds to check bleeding. [1] According to Ayurvedic traditional system of medicine, Cynodon dactylon belongs to a class of rejuvenating herbs called rasayana, which are generally used to prevent and treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s because of their strong antioxidant activity. [5] Also known as Durva, the Hindus value Cynodon dactylon as a sacred herb that is used in religious rites. [6] The plant is additionally a folk remedy for anasarca (extreme generalized edema), calculi (stones), cancer, carbuncles, cough, hypertension, snakebites, gout, and rheumatic pain. [4]

General Herbal Uses

A decoction is produced from Cynodon dactylon roots, which is used to treat vesical calculus (bladder stones), irritation of urinary organs, and secondary syphilis and to stop bleeding from piles. [5] The plant’s juice is an astringent that can be applied externally to fresh cuts and wounds. [7] Among Cynodon dactylon’s properties demonstrated by previous studies include antidiabetic, antioxidant, immunological, antiallergic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, analgesic, anticancer, diuretic, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, and insecticidal effects, as well as activities on central nervous, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and dermatological systems. [2]

Constituents/Active Components

According to phytochemical analysis, Cynodon dactylon is a rich source of biologically active compounds, including flavonoids, alkaloids, glycosides, terpenoids, triterpenoid steroids, saponins, tannins, resins, phytosterols, reducing sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, volatile oils, and fixed oils. [2] Quantitative estimation of phytoconstituents carried by Jolly and Narayanan (2000) indicated a glycoside content reaching 12.2 %, whereas those of tannins, alkaloids, resins, free reducing sugars, and total reducing sugars were found to be 6.3%, 0.1%, 1.0%, 10%, and 12%, respectively. [6] Shabi et al. (2010) compared the chemical compositions of Cynodon dactylon’s phenolic fraction and hydroalcoholic extract using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Twenty-two compounds were identified from the phenolic fraction (0.6% yield), with hydroquinone (69.49%), levoglucosenone (2.72%), and furfural (6.0%) having been noted as the most abundant constituents. On the other hand, 20 compounds also characterized the hydroalcoholic extract, with hexadecanoic acid, ethyl ester (17.49%), linolenic acid, ethyl ester (11.28%), and d-mannose (11.48%) being the chief ones. [4] Preliminary phytochemical analysis of Cynodon dactylon ethanol extract carried out by Kaleeswaran, Ilavenil, and Ravikumar indicated a composition consisting of phenols, quinines, and tannin, whereas identification through GC/MS revealed phytochemical components not mentioned in previous studies, including tricosane (22.05 %), 1,2-propanediol (20.30%), and 3-benzyloxy-1, 2-diacetyl (12.62%). [8]

Medicinal/Scientific Research


Auddy et al. (2003) investigated the free radical scavenging and antioxidant activity of three Indian medicinal plants both in vitro and ex vivo. In the ABTS assay, the ethanol extract of Cynodon dactylon demonstrated antioxidant activity, with an IC50 value of 78.62 μg/mL. The IC50 value of water infusion of Cynodon dactylon as regards its relative antioxidant capacity reached 273.64 μg/mL. Cynodon dactylon water infusion also inhibited lipid peroxidation in rat brain homogenate, attaining an IC50 value of 608.31 μg/mL. [5] A 2008 study by Pal et al. also determined the in vitro antioxidant activity of Cynodon dactylon aerial parts, especially their ethyl acetate extract. [7]


Albert-Baskar and Ignacimuthu (2012) evidenced the anticancer and chemopreventive activity of methanol extract of Cynodon dactylon in rats. As evaluated using MTT assay and DPPH assay, the extract was observed to exert antiproliferative and antioxidative effects, respectively, even at its lower concentrations. More importantly, it was shown that it triggers apoptotic cell death of COLO 320 DM cancer cells and elevates levels of antioxidant enzymes while decreasing the number of dysplastic crypts in the colon of albino rats, suggesting its ability to deter experimentally induced colon carcinogenesis. [9] Marappan and Subramaniyan (2012) also reported the antitumor activity and hepatoprotective properties of methanol extract derived from Cynodon dactylon leaves. Administration of the extract at a daily dose of 80 µg/kg inhibited the progression of Ehrlich ascites carcinoma 24 hours after its inoculation in Swiss albino mice and reverted the altered levels of hematological parameters and liver enzymes. [10]


The anti-inflammatory activity of Cynodon dactylon aqueous extract orally administered at doses of 200, 400, and 600 mg/kg had been reported by a 2011 research, which has been associated with the presence of flavonoids and glycosides. Specifically, the extract significantly diminished the formation of edema induced by carrageenan, serotonin, histamine, and dextran in rat paw and produced a maximum inhibition of 46.40% in dry weight cotton pellet formation at a dose of 600 mg/kg. [11]


Cynodon dactylon ethanol extract, which contains alkaloids, flavonoids, and glycosides based on phytochemical screening results, had been demonstrated to display significant antiarthritic activity against Freund’s complete adjuvant induced arthritis in rats. Treatment using the extract in rats at a dose of 400 mg/kg led to a noteworthy decrease in mean percentage change of injected and non-injected paw, ankle diameter, and clinical severity; a significant increase in body weight, and an amelioration of hemoglobin and red blood cell (RBC) levels. Furthermore, Cynodon dactylon ethanol extract prevented any increase in the levels of white blood cells, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein (CRP), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha and protected arthritic joints of the treated rats, improving bone lesions rather than cartilage lesions. [12]


Jarald, Joshi, and Jain (2008) confirmed the antidiabetic property of Cynodon dactylon. Its aqueous extract and nonpolysaccharide fraction were observed to display significant antihyperglycemic activity, with the latter inducing hypoglycemia in fasted normal rats. Diabetic rats treated with Cynodon dactylon aqueous extract and nonpolysaccharide fraction also presented an increase in levels of biochemical parameters, including glucose, urea, creatinine, serum cholesterol, serum triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, hemoglobin, and glycosylated hemoglobin. [13]


By employing disc diffusion method, a 2013 Malaysian study established the antimicrobial property of Cynodon dactylon crude extract from various solvents against common Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens such as Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Findings determined a broad-spectrum antimicrobial action for ethanol and ethyl acetate Cynodon dactylon extracts against all bacterial pathogens tested. Methanol and acetone extracts displayed inhibitory activity against Bacillus cereus and Bacillus subtilis, whereas chloroform extract demonstrated activity against Bacillus subtilis and Streptococcus pyogenes. On the other hand, diethyl ether extract had an antimicrobial effect on Streptococcus pyogenes only. [14] The ethanol extract of Cynodon dactylon at a concentration of 500 µg/mL was also found by Kaleeswaran, Ilavenil, and Ravikumar (2010) to exhibit antibacterial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, with Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Aeromonas hydrophila being the most susceptible. [8]

Analgesic And Anticonvulsant

Ethanol extract obtained from Cynodon dactylon aerial parts had been shown by Pal (2008) to exhibit painkilling effect in mice, as marked by not only a noteworthy decrease in their number of writhes and stretches brought on by 1.2% acetic acid solution but also a potentiation of analgesia induced by morphine and pethidine. At an intraperitoneal dose of 13 mg/kg and 25 mg/kg, the degree of protection conferred by Cynodon dactylon ethanol extract against writhes and stretches reached 57.61% and 68.25%, respectively. In comparison, analgesics such as acetyl salicylic acid (68 mg/kg), morphine sulfate (1.15 mg/kg), and paracetamol (68 mg/kg) provided 60.15%, 70.12%, and 61.43% protection, respectively. Moreover, the extract dose-dependently blocked the onset and incidence of pentylenetetrazole-induced convulsion in mice and overall caused a significant depression in their general behavioral profiles. Treatment with the extract considerably lengthened the sleeping time elicited by standard hypnotic drugs in mice, such as pentobarbital sodium, diazepam, and meprobamate, and reduced the spontaneous motility in tested mice. [15]

Garg and Paliwal (2011) also verified the anticonvulsant activity of Cynodon dactylon ethanol extract and its depressant action in the central nervous system. The ethanol extract inhibited the hind limb tonic extensions caused by maximal electroshock and protected treated mice against convulsions induced by pentylenetetrazole. Similar to the standard anticonvulsant phenytoin (25 mg/kg), the ethanol extract of Cynodon dactylon administered at doses of 400 and 600 mg/kg significantly diminished the onset and duration of convulsions. [16]


Gowda et al. (2009) presented their findings on the diuretic effect of aqueous extract of Cynodon dactylon root stalks. Oral administration of the said extract in experimental rats at doses of 100mg, 250mg, 500mg, and 750mg/kg body weight had been shown to result in significant diuresis. In particular, the total urine volume of the rats administered with 750mg/kg Cynodon dactylon aqueous extract reached a nearly fourfold quantity compared to the control group. An increase in the excretion of sodium, potassium, and chloride ions was also observed. [17]

Male Fertility

A 2011 study by Chidrawar et al. treated rats wherein infertility was induced through immobilization stress with methanol extract of Cynodon dactylon and found potential aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing property. This extract was observed to negate ill effects of stress on sexual function, sexual performance, fructose content, and sperm concentration and accessory sexual organs and body weight. Administration of Cynodon dactylon methanol extract at doses of 100, 200, and 500 mg/kg for 10 days significantly affected the total number of mounts and inter-intromission interval of treated rats in a dose-dependent manner. At its highest dose, the extract also markedly increased the latency of first mount and significantly improved the sexual performance by augmenting ejaculation latency. Latency of the first intromission was considerably diminished by Cynodon dactylon methanol extract at a dose of 500 mg/kg. [1]

Wound Healing

A 2003 study investigated the wound healing activity of durva ghrita, an herbal formulation comprising Cynodon dactylon and cow ghee, using male Wistar rats as incision and excision wound models. Results indicated a promotion of wound contraction and reduction of closure time attributed to this herbal formulation. Moreover, at a histopathological level, the treatment also stimulated the proliferation of epithelial tissues, angiogenesis, and fibrosis. [18]

Contraindications, Interactions, And Safety

The use of Bermuda grass is generally considered safe, although data regarding their specific contraindications and drug interactions are still limited. According to Bhangale and Acharya (2014), Cynodon dactylon ethanol extract orally taken at doses of 100, 200, and 400 mg/kg is safe and causes no mortality in experimental animals up to a dose of 5000 mg/kg. [12] In the study of Auddy et al. (2003), Cynodon dactylon infusion up to 1 mg/mL did not show any toxic effect on the viability of PC12 cell line, as screened through MTT test. [5] Similarly, in the study of Garg and Paliwal (2011), oral administration of aqueous extract of Cynodon dactylon was determined to be safe at all tested doses, producing no mortality up to a dose of 4000 mg/kg. [11]


[1] V. Chidrawar, H. Chitme, K. Patel, et al., "Effects of Cynodon dactylon on stress-induced infertility in male rats," Journal of Young Pharmacists, vol. 3, no. 1, p. 26–35, 2011.

[2] A. E. Al-Snafi, "Chemical constituents and pharmacological effects of Cynodon dactylon—a review," IOSR Journal Of Pharmacy, vol. 6, no. 7, p. 17–31, 2016.

[3] "Cynodon dactylon (Linnaeus) Persoon," Flora of China.

[4] M. Shabi, K. Gayathri, R. Venkatalakshmi and C. Sasikala, "Chemical Constituents of hydro alcoholic extract and phenolic fraction of Cynodon dactylon," International Journal of ChemTech Research, vol. 2, no. 1, p. 149–154, 2010.

[5] B. Auddy, M. Ferreira, F. Blasina, et al., "Screening of antioxidant activity of three Indian medicinal plants, traditionally used for the management of neurodegenerative diseases," Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 84, no. 2–3, p. 131–138, 2003.

[6] C. Jolly and P. Narayanan, "Pharmacognosy of aerial parts of Cynodon dactylon Pers. (Graminae)," Ancient Science of Life, vol. 19, no. 3–4, p. 123–129, 2000.

[7] D. Pal, M. Kumar, P. Chakraborty and S. Kumar, "Evaluation of the antioxidant activity of aerial parts of Cynodon dactylon," Asian Journal of Chemistry, vol. 20, no. 3, p. 2479–2481, 2008.

[8] B. Kaleeswaran, S. Ilavenil and S. Ravikumar, "Screening of phytochemical properties and antibacterial activity of Cynodon dactylon L.," International Journal of Current Research, vol. 3, p. 83–88, 2010.

[9] A. Albert-Baskar and S. Ignacimuthu, "Chemopreventive effect of Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. extract against DMH-induced colon carcinogenesis in experimental animals," Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology, vol. 62, no. 4, p. 423–431, 2010.

[10] S. Marappan and A. Subramaniyan, "Antitumor activity of methanolic extract of Cynodon dactylon leaves against Ehrlich ascites induced carcinoma in mice," Journal of Advanced Scientific Research, vol. 3, no. 1, p. 105–108, 2012. 268349838_Antitumor_activity_of_methanolic_extract_of_Cynodon_dactylon_leaves_against_Ehrlich_ascites_induced_carcinoma_in_mice

[11] V. K. Garg and S. K. Paliwal, "Anti-inflammatory activity of aqueous extract of Cynodon dactylon," International Journal of Pharmacology, vol. 7, no. 3, p. 370–375, 2011.

[12] J. Bhangale and S. Acharya, "Antiarthritic activity of Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.," Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 52, no. 3, p. 215–222, 2014.

[13] E. Jarald, S. Joshi and D. Jain, "Antidiabetic activity of aqueous extract and non polysaccharide fraction of Cynodon dactylon Pers.," Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 46, no. 9, p. 660–667, 2008.

[14] S. Abdullah, J. Gobilik and K. P. Chong, "In vitro antimicrobial activity of Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. (bermuda) against selected pathogens," in Developments in Sustainable Chemical and Bioprocess Technology, Boston, Springer, 2013, p. 227–237.

[15] D. Pal, "Evaluation of CNS activities of aerial parts of Cynodon dactylon pers. in mice," Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica Drug Research, vol. 65, no. 1, p. 37–43, 2008.

[16] V. K. Garg and S. K. Paliwal, "Anticonvulsant activity of ethanolic extract of Cynodon dactylon," Der Pharmacia Sinica, vol. 2, no. 2, p. 86–90, 2011.

[17] S. Gowda, et al., "Study on the diuretic activity of Cynodon dactylon root stalk extract in albino rats," Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology, vol. 2, no. 2, p. 338–340, 2009.

[18] M. Charde, S. Fulzele, et al., "Wound healing activity of Durva ghrita," Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, vol. 65, no. 5, pp. 482-485, 2003.

Article researched and created by Dan Albir for © 2018

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