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durva - Cynodon dactylon Pers.

durva :

Flowering plants Bermuda Grass is a grass native to north Africa, Asia and Australia and southern Europe. The name "Bermuda Grass" derives from its abundance as an invasive species on Bermuda; it does not occur naturally there. In Ayurveda, pungent, bitter, fragrant, heating anthelmintic, antipyretic. 


Durva grass (arugampul) is probably familiar to those who worship Lord Ganesha. This sacred grass is used in the worship of many deities but is especially used when praying to Lord Ganesha.

Legend has it that the demon Analasura caused havoc in the 3 worlds and emitted fire from his eyes. The Gods prayed to Lord Ganesha and asked him to save them from Analasura. In the battlefield, Analasura attacked Lord Ganesha with fireballs. Lord Ganesha assumed his vishwaroopam and ate the demon in a single swallow.

Having eaten Analasura, Lord Ganesha’s body started to increase in heat and he became very uncomfortable. First the moon came to help Lord Ganesha and stood on his head. This was not enough to quench the heat emitted by Analasura. Then Lord Vishnu gave Lord Ganesha his sacred lotus to hold. Even this was not enough. Then Lord Shiva lent Lord Ganesha his snake and tied it around his belly to help release the excess heat. Even this did not help.

Finally a few Maha Rishis came to Lord Ganesha’s rescue with 21 sets of Durva Grass and placed it together on his head. The Durva Grass was able to do what the Moon, Vishnu’s sacred Lotus and Shiva’s sacred Cobra were not able to achieve together – it brought down the excess heat generated by the demon Analasura from Lord Ganesha’s body.

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Streptophyta
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Cynodon
Species: Cynodon dactylon

Allied species:

Cynodon pedicellatus Caro
Cynodon polevansii Stent
Cynodon portoricensis Willd. ex Steud. nom. inval.
Cynodon repens Dulac nom. illeg.
Cynodon sarmentosus Gray nom. illeg.
Cynodon scabrifolius Caro
Cynodon stellatus Willd.
Cynodon tenuis Trin.
Cynodon umbellatus (Lam.) Caro


Sanskrit: Niladurva, saddala, ananta • Bhargavi, Doorwa, Granthi, Sveta.
English: Bermuda grass , Bahama grass; couch grass; devil grass; dogs tooth grass; quick grass; star grass
Hindi: दूब Doob, Dobri
Urdu: Doob
Telugu: Ghericha, gerichagaddi
Bengali: দুর্বা Durba
Marathi: garikehullu, balli garike, ambate hullu
Oriya: dubbo ghas
Gujarathi: Drow
Tamil: Arugampillu, Arukampillu, muyalpul •
Malayalam: Karuka-oulli, Karuk, Karukappullu
Kannada: garikehullu, balli garike, ambate hullu
Punjabi: Dub, Kabbar, Talla.
Sindhi: khabbal; talla
Arabic: nageel
Spanish: grama Bermuda; grama común; grama de Espana; gramilla; pasto bermuda; zacate de gallina
Mexican: agrasia
Assamese: Dubari
Japanese: gyogishiba
Chinese: 狗牙根
French: chiendent; chiendent dactyle; gros chiendent; herbes-des-Bermudes; pied de poule
German: Echte-Hundsahn; Finger-Hundsahn
Burma: mye-sa-myet; mye-za-gyi
Nepal: Motie molulu, Dubo.
Persian: Marg.
Sinhalese: aruham-pul; buha
Greek: agriada


Cynodon dactylon var. aridus J.R. Harlan & de Wet – Bermudagrass  
Cynodon dactylon var. biflorus Merino  
Cynodon dactylon var. dactylon (L.) Pers. – Bermudagrass  
Cynodon dactylon var. longiglumis Caro & E.A. Sánchez  
Cynodon dactylon var. pilosus Caro & E.A. Sánchez  

Raja Nighantu has classified Durva into
  1. Neela durva
  2. Shweta durva 
  3. Maalaa durva 
  4. Gandaali durva 


Durva is a Sanskrit word that means, which is cut or eaten by the animals. It is the most sacred plant of India next to tulsi. Hindus worship the God Ganesha with the leaves durva religiously.
The word Durva can be broken into 2 parts – Duhu + avam and the words can be translated to mean “ that which brings that which is far away, closer”.


Synonyms in Ayurveda: durva, granthi, sveta, bhargavi, ananta, golomi

  1. Namaskarya  - worth bowing down 
  2. Shataparva - the root has many branches 
  3. Shatavalli - the plant has hundreds of branch like structures 
  4. Harita- green in colour 
  5. Bhutahantri - useful against demons,  microbes 

Rasa: Kashaya Madhura
Guna: Laghu
Veerya: Sheetha
Vipaka: Maduram
Karma: Kaphapittasamaka

Studies have shown antidiabetic, hypolipidemic, antimicrobial, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, antiproliferative, chemopreventive, antiulcer, phytoremediative, immunomodulatory, wound healing, anti-emetic, bronchodilatory, antidiarrheal, neuroprotective properties.


Originally from tropical Africa and Asia, Bermuda grass has been introduced to all tropical and subtropical regions of the world and has been found to survive as far north as at 50°N in Europe and at elevations up to 4,000 metres in the Himalayas. It grows best where mean daily temperatures are above 24°c. Temperatures of -2 to -3°c usually kill the leaves and stems back to the ground, but the rhizomes survive these temperatures and regrowth is rapid when the weather warms up. It is generally found in the tropics in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 600 - 1,800mm
Requires a sunny position. Tolerant of a wide range of soils, including those of low-fertility. A deep-rooted and drought-tolerant plant that grows best in a well-drained, dry to moist soil, though it can also tolerate long periods of flooding. Tolerant of a broad soil pH range, but grows best with a soil pH above 5.5.
A fast-growing plant that spreads rapidly to form a dense mat of growth. It is difficult to eradicate and can become a serious weed in cultivated land, affecting crops such as maize, cotton, sugar cane, vineyards and plantation crops. It is listed as a noxious weed.
The plant can be grown to form a dense lawn that tolerates foot traffic well and also excludes many common weeds It is much grown in golf courses in subtropics and tropics, being used both on the fairways and tee areas
After fire, new shoots and leaves sprout quickly as they are nourished by ample underground reserves


Seed -


Planting is best done in wet weather to ensure quick sprouting. It gives a complete ground cover in 4-8 weeks when sprigged 30-45 cm apart (Huxley, 1992).


Contains starch and cynodin, a substance similar to asparagin.
- Plant yields crude proteins, mineral constituents, oxides of magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, and potassium.
- Whole plant yields sitosterol and carotene, vitamin C, cartone, palmitic acid, triterpenoids, alkaloids, ergonovine, and ergonovinine.
- Phytochemical screening of aqueous extract yielded flavonoids and glycosides. 
- Methanolic extract yielded flavanoids, phenolic compounds, tannins, and phytosterols. 


Important formulations 
1. Patoladi Churna 
2. Manasamitra vatakam
3. Durvadi taila 

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Whole plant, ,


Juice of plant  - 10 -20 ml
Decoction  - 40 - 50 ml

Commercial value:

it is listed as one of the most “serious” agricultural and environmental weeds in the world (Holm et al., 1977).
Cynodon dactylon can be used for erosion control. It is very easy to plant it in the garden as a lawn grass and even for farm pastures. While it does not produce much bulk, its feeding value is high and it grows fast. In traditional medicine it is used for indigestion and the treatment of wounds. However, it not recommended for planting as it is so difficult to eradicate. Its uses cannot compensate for this plants overall negative impacts.


Root -Fibrous, cylindrical, upto 4 mm thick, minute hair-like roots arise from the main roots; cream coloured.

Stem -Slender, prostrate, upto 1.0 mm thick, jointed, leafy, very smooth, yellowish green in colour.

Leaf – 2 to 10 cm long and 1.25 to 3 mm wide, narrowly linear or lanceolate, finely acute more or less glaucous, soft, smooth, usually conspicuously distichous in the barren shoots and at the base of the stems; sheath light, glabrous or sometimes bearded, ligule a very fine ciliate rim.


Root – Mature root shows epiblema or piliferous layer composed of a single layer of thin-walled, radially elongated to cubical cells; hypodermis composed of 1 or 2 layered, thin-walled, tangentially elongated to irregular shaped cells; cortex differentiated into two zones,. 1 or 2 layers of smaller, thin-walled, polygonal, lignified sclerenchymatous and 4 to 6 layers of larger thin-walled, elongated parenchymatous cells; endodermis quite distinct, single layered, thick-walled, tangentially elongated cells; pericycle 1 or 2 layers composed of thin-walled sclerenchymatous cells; vascular bundles consisting of xylem and phloem, arranged in a ring on different radials; xylem exarch, having usual elements; centre occupied by wide pith, composed of oval to rounded thick-walled parenchymatous cells containing numerous simple, round to oval or angular starch grains measuring 4 to 16 n in dia., and compound starch grains having 2 to 4 components

Stem – Oval in outline with a little depression on one side, shows a cuticularised epidermis single layered, having lignified walls; hypodermis 1 or 2 layers, sclerenchymatous; cortex composed of 3 to 5 layers of round to oval thin walled parenchymatous cells; endodermis not distinct; pericycle present in the form of continuous ring of 2 to 5 layers of sclerenchymatous fibres; vascular bundle collateral, closed and scattered throughout the ground mass of parenchyma, each surrounded by sclerenchymatous sheath; vessels simple, spiral, scalariform, and annular; medullary rays not distinct; fibres short, thick walled, having narrow lumen and pointed tips; starch grains simple and compound having 2 to 4 components, present in cortex and ground tissue, simple grains measuring 4 to 16 n in dia.

Leaf – Lamina shows nearly square to oval epidermis having irregularly cutinised outer wall, bulliform cells present on the dorsal side which are grouped together and lie at the bottom of a well defined groove in between the veins; these are thin walled and lack chlorophyll, extend deep into the mesophyll; mesophyll not differentiated into palisade and spongy parenchyma; row of vascular bundles nearly alike, except that the median bundle is larger; bundle sheath single, and consists of thin-walled more or less isodiametric parenchyma cells containing chloroplast; mesophyll tissue broken by 1 or 2 thin-walled colourless cells which extend from bundle sheath to the thin walled parenchymatous band of stereome near upper and lower epidermis

Geographical distribution:

Originally from Africa and S. Asia, it is widely naturalized in the temperate to tropical zones of Europe, Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas.


Commonly found in open grasslands, rice paddies, waste places, at low and medium altitudes. 
- Bermuda grass is extensively used in urban and suburban lawns. In the rural areas, collected for supplementary feed for horses and carabaos.

Plant conservation:

C4 grass included in the Global Compendium of Weeds (Randall, 2012) and 

General Use:

The paste of the durva plant is prepared and applied over fresh wounds and ulcers to control bleeding and quicken the process of healing.
In conjunctivitis, the fresh juice from the plant Cynodon dactylon is used as eye drops to reduce the reddishness, burning sensation and treat the condition.
Fresh juice of durva is given in a dose of 15-20 ml in conditions of epileptic seizures and psycho- somatic disorders.

Therapeutic Uses:

Durva is used internally for treating epilepsy, hysteria, bleeding in dysentery, piles, haematuria, epistaxis, menorrhagia, diarrhea, raktapitta, syphilis, urinary tract infection and many other diseases.

Systemic Use:

Durva is useful in gynaecological problems related to uterus. It strengthen uterus and stops abnormal uterine bleeding. It is also useful in minimising risks of miscarriage and supports normal feotal growth. The decoction of Durva plant is given in the treatment of the kidney stones.


External medicinal use of Durva
Durva or doob grass is haemostatic, refrigerant, healer, and antibacterial. It can be made into paste and applied on skin for treating skin problems and improving complexion. Doob is beneficial in treating skin cuts, wounds, abrasions and similar skin problems. Leaf paste application on wounds, cuts, haemorrhoids helps in better healing. Few drops of doob juice is put in nostril to stop nasal bleeding or Nakseer. For headaches, leaf paste is applied on forehead.


Studies have shown antidiabetic, hypolipidemic, antimicrobial, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, antiproliferative, chemopreventive, antiulcer, phytoremediative, immunomodulatory, wound healing, anti-emetic, bronchodilatory, antidiarrheal, neuroprotective properties.

Clinical trials:

1. EVALUATION OF HAEMOSTATIC EFFECT OF CYNODON DACTYLON PERS IN ALBINO RATS / Leela Hugar, Ramesh H / Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences 2014; Vol. 3, Issue 11, March 17; Page: 2711-2713 / DOI: 10.14260/jemds/2014/2197

2. Secondary metabolites of Cynodon dactylon as an antagonist to angiotensin II type1 receptor: Novel in silico drug targeting approach for diabetic retinopathy / RK Jananie, V Priya, K Vijayalakshmi / Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics (2012) Vol 3, Issue 1: pp 20-25.

3. Antibacterial and Anticancer Activity of Silver Nanoparticles Synthesized from Cynodon dactylon Leaf Extract / S. Supraja* and P. Arumugam / Journal of Academia and Industrial Research (JAIR), Volume 3, Issue 12 May 2015



2. Bioaccumulation Potential of Cynodon dactylon Linn. in Crude Oil Contaminated Soil. / Idris Olawale Raimi*, Augustine Onwuegbukiwe Isichei / Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation 12: 87–98, 2015 

3. Negative Inotropic and Chronotropic Effects of Phenolic Fraction from Cynodon dactylon (linn) on Isolated Perfused Frog Heart / M. M. Shabi*, C. David Raj, C. Sasikala, K. Gayathri, and J. Joseph / J. Sci. Res. 4 (3), 657-663 (2012) 

4. Green Synthesis Of Silver Nanoparticles From Cynodon Dactylon Leaf Extract / Supraja S*, Mohammed Ali S, Chakravarthy N, Jayaprakash Priya A, Sagadevan E, Kasinathan M.K , Sindhu S, Arumugam P / International Journal of ChemTech Research, Vol.5, No.1, pp 271-277, Jan-Mar 2013


but overdose of it may sometimes lead to problems like; paraesthesia oral, rash, skin burning sensation.
Need to be carefully used in Vata dominant conditions.
No adverse effect is known or reported after the use of Durva.

Toxicity studies:

Dhruva grass doesnt really have any side effects,
The lypholized pollen extract in 0.3, 1.3mg/kg i.p. in mice produced slight tremor lasting for 15 mins., 1 hr and 2 hrs respectively. In 1000mg dose it produced tremors, convulsion, general weakness leading to death

Use in other system of medicine:

• Decoction of the entire plant used as diuretic.
• In India, crushed leaves used as styptic in minor wounds to stop bleeding. Also used for inflammatory conditions.
• Decoction of root used as diuretic in dropsy. and syphilis.
- In Sind, the roots are used as a substitute for sarsaparilla. 
• Infusion of root to stop bleeding from piles.
• Juice of plant applied to fresh cuts and wounds.
• Paste of plant applied to forehead in headaches.
• Used internally for epilepsy, hysteria, bleeding in dysentery, hemorrhoids, hematuria, menorrhagia, syphilis, prostatitis.
• Used for toothaches.
• Mixed with clove (Syzygium aromaticum) used as anthelmintic.
• Folk remedy for cancer, epilepsy, cough, dysentery, warts, snakebites.
• In Morocco, used in treatment of kidney stones.
- Landscape:Bermuda grass is extensively used in urban and suburban lawns. 
- Feed: In the rural areas, collected for supplementary feed for horses and carabaos. Reported to be highly nutritional for cattle.
- Homeopathy: Used for wound healing. 


Charaka refers to Durva grass as one of the 10 great complexion promoters. Ayurvedic texts refer to Durva grass as “Sahasra virya” denoting its multi fold strengths and versatility in use. It is considered complexion enhancing, astringent, moisturizing, demulcent and cooling for the skin. Durva is also considered very good for the eyes and is therefore regarded as a good ophthalmic drug.

Photos of durva -

KEY WORDS: durva Scientific name: Cynodon dactylon Pers.

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