Crowfoot grass benefits and side effects

Know in one minute about Crowfoot

  • It is a nutritional-rich grain with health benefits.
  • Has carbohydrates, proteins, and amino acids.
  • Also contains alkaloids, saponins, tannins, flavonoids, terpenoids, steroids, fixed oils, and phenols.
  • Lower the risk of infections and protect the body against harmful molecules.
  • Slow down the growth of cancer cells and induce the death of cancer cells
  • Fight against bacteria, fungi, and viruses to protect the body from diseases.
  • Manage diabetes, and treat constipation and diarrhea.
  • Treat jaundice, immune deficiency, wounds, fever, biliary and urinary disease.

Introduction

Crowfoot (Dactyloctenium aegyptium) is a densely bunched grass belonging to the Poaceae family. It is a nutritional-rich grain, used traditionally as a famine food in Africa and given to women suffering from bellyache after childbirth.

This grass has a crowfoot name because its seed head looks like a crow’s foot. It has straight shoots with grass-like leaves and flowers that arise at the tip of the stems.

The whole plant of crowfoot treats gastrointestinal disorders, kidney diseases, ulcers, backache, and smallpox. It also has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antipyretic, and antimicrobial activity.

Common name

Crowfoot Grass, beach wiregrass, coast button grass, comb fringe grass, Duck grass, Durban crowfoot, Egyptian finger grass, Egyptian grass, finger comb grass, four-finger grass 

Geographical distribution

This grass is native to Africa, tropical Asia, and the Middle East but naturalized worldwide.

Nutritional value of crowfoot

A research study reported that the plant contained carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids alkaloids, saponins, tannins, flavonoids, terpenoids, steroids, fixed oils, and phenols (1)

Health benefits of crowfoot

1. Antioxidant properties

Crowfoot possesses phenols and flavonoid contents that g from damages caused by harmful molecules such as free radicals. Thus, intake of this grass lowers the risk of infections and improves health (2).

2. Slow down the progression of cancer

Bioactive compounds like cochlioquinone and anhydrocochlioquinone found in crowfoot inhibit the growth of cancer cells and induce the death of cancer cells. Thus, this grass fight against cancer like lung, colorectal, leukemic, and cervical cancer cells and inhibits their growth (3).

3. Antidiabetic properties

Crowfoot contains bioactive flavonoids that decrease blood glucose levels and increase insulin levels. Thus, intake of this plant decreases oxidative stress and brings down the severity of diabetes (4).

4. Good for the gut

It contains both spasmogenic and spasmolytic activity due to the presence of two components (cholinomimetic and calcium antagonistic). It helps to induce spasms and causes relaxation of gastrointestinal smooth muscles thus treating constipation and diarrhea (5).

5. Antimicrobial properties

Crowfoot grass is rich in antimicrobial components like flavonoids that inhibit the growth of various bacteria; fungi and viruses thus treating infection (6, 7).

6. Anti-fertility properties

The presence of saponins, flavonoids, tannins, and alkaloids in crowfoot grass possess anti-fertility activity.

A research study suggested that intake of this grass decreases the sperm count and reproductive organs’ weight. It also reduces serum hormonal levels and no. breeding rates thus crowfoot may useful for men to control birth (8).

7. Other properties

The leaves of crowfoot grass are crushed chewed raw or paste in water is applied topically (9). In some African tribes, seed extraction and decoctions are used orally after childbirth to relieve bellyache. Crowfoot can be used as a detoxifier and anti-allergic (10). It also treats jaundice, immune deficiency, wounds, fever, and biliary and urinary disease (11).

The side effect of crowfoot

The taste is unpleasant and consumption may cause internal disorders.

How to eat

Crowfoot grass has been used as a cereal substitute in periods of food scarcity. The grain can be cooked after milling into flour to make chapattis or halwa. It can be used after being boiled as porridge or brewed to make beer, or baked into cakes. The meal has a pleasant odor and can be easily digestible after cooking (12).