Make an online Consultation »  
munja - Saccharum arundinaceum, Erianthus arundinaceum Retz.

munja :

munja - Saccharum arundinaceum, Erianthus arundinaceum Retz. Saccharum arundinaceum, commonly known as hardy sugar cane, is a grass native to India in South Asia.

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Saccharum
Species: Saccharum arundinaceum


Sanskrit: Munjah
English: devil sugarcane, reedy sugarcane
Telugu: Adavicheruku
Tamil: நாணல் − nāṇal.
Malayalam: Mekhapullu,Ambottal,Amadarbha,Munjapullu,Naim-kana
Kannada: Kadukabba
Assamese: মেগেলা কুঁহিয়াৰ − meghela kuhiyaar
Japanese: Yoshi suzuki
Chinese: 斑茅 ban mao
Sinhalese: Rambuk


In the Assamese language it is known as মেগেলা কুঁহিয়াৰ − meghela kuhiyaar, with the word kuhiyaar meaning sugarcane.


Synonyms in Ayurveda: munja, kshura, sthula darbha, banahva, brahma mekhala

Charuka, Shara, Munja, Ekshuraka
Rasa: Madhura Tikta
Guna: Laghu Ruksha
Veerya: Ushna
Vipaka: Maduram
Karma: Kaphapittasamaka

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India recommends the use of the root in dysuria, giddiness and vertigo.


A plant of the subtropics to tropics, it can also succeed in warm temperate areas
Plants can withstand periodic inundation
A vigorous plant, it can spread and become invasive




Flowering and fruiting: December-April


The stem is a good source of furfural (yield 5.67%, dry basis). It yields 19.5% (on dry weight) of reducing sugars when digested with sulphuric acid; glucose, xylose, galactose and rhamnose have been identified in the hydrolysate which contains 34.5% fermentable sugars. (It can be used as a potential source of alcohol.)

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Root, Stem, ,


  1. Root- 20-50 g for decoction 
  2. 6-10 g powder 

Commercial value:

Often planted as a hedge around betel pepper gardens
It is frequently planted in lines or dividing hedges, especially in low-lying localities subject to periodic inundation


Shrubby perennials; culms solid, to 4 m tall or more, lower nodes 2 cm thick; leaf-sheaths overlapping, glabrous and smooth, fairly tight, as much as 40 cm long; blades generally 2-ranked, long and broad, up to 100 cm x 2.5-5 cm, gradually narrowed to the base, broadest below the middle and tapering into a long, acuminate, fairly smooth point, the midrib prominent, whitish; ligule a shallow membranous rim, bordered by dense stiff hairs. Inflorescence terminal panicle, 30-80 x 15 cm, the branches glabrous except the finer ones which may bear spreading silky hairs like those on the spikelets, forming successive whorls along the axis, each branch a raceme which breaks up into units consisting of a joint and its sessile spikelets together with the pedicels of the pedicelled spikelet, the ripe pedicelled spikelet falling away entire. Sessile spikelet from a short, common, short- haired callus, with the joint and pedicel which both carry long hairs; lower glume 2-nerved, the margins infolded along the nerves, narrowly ovate-attenuate, the nerves continued to the tip, scaberulous on the back of the nerves and carrying in addition long fine hairs, 2.8 mm long + hairs 5.4 mm long; upper glume hyaline, narrowly boat-shaped, 3-nerved, the midnerve forming the keel and a fine point, with scaberulae on the back of the keel and an occasional long hair, 2.6 mm long; lower lemma 2.6 mm long, 1-nerved, delicately hyaline, narrowly boat-shaped, 3-nerved, the midnerve forming the keel and a fine point, with scaberulous on the back of the keel and an occasional long hair, 2.6 mm long; lower lemma 2.6 mm long, 1-nerved, delicately hyaline, narrowly linear-acuminate, the margins fringed above; palea nil; upper lemma similar to the lower but more ponted, 2.6 mm long; palea a fimbriate, delicately hyaline scale, 1.2 mm long. Anthers purple, 1.2 mm long. Stigmata 2, plumose, purple. Pedicelled spikelet similar, but both glumes more heavily bearded and the lower glume only 1-nerved.

Geographical distribution:

E. Asia - southern China, Japan, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia.


Hill slopes, riversides, dry stream beds, often on sandy soils

General Use:

The leaf sheathes are a source of fibre, known as Munj fibre
Strong and elastic, it has the wonderful power of enduring moisture without decaying
 It is used for making cloth, cordage, ropes, mats etc
The mats are reported to be proof against white ants, but are hard on shoe-leather, harsh to the foot and fatiguing when walked on for any length of time

Therapeutic Uses:

In Kerala, Saccharum arundinaceumRetz. is used as Shara for dysuria, diseases due to vitiated blood, erysipelas, leucorrhoea and piles. 


Refrigerant. Useful in burning sensation, thirst, dyscrasia, erysipelas and urinary complaints.

Clinical trials:

Saccharum arundinaceum Retz., Obs. Bot. 4: 14. 1786; Hook. f., Fl. Brit. India 7: 119. 1896; Gamble, Fl. Pres. Madras 1709(1185). 1934; Sunil & Sivadasan, Fl. Alappuzha Dist. 888. 2009. Erianthus arundinaceum (Retz.) Jesw., Suikerind. Ned.-Ind. 33: 399. 1925.

Toxicity studies:

None known

Use in other system of medicine:

The youngest leaves are eaten as vegetable and in salads


Sweetcane is a vigorous perennial grass forming large clumps of culms 1 - 6 metres tall and 1 - 2cm in diameter
The plant is extensively used in India where it supplies food, fibre, materials for thatching, basket making etc. It is also used as a hedge around betel pepper gardens. The plant is also used medicinally

Photos of munja - ,

KEY WORDS: Saccharum arundinaceum, Erianthus arundinaceum Retz, munja

Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter  

Kotakkal Ayurveda - Mother land of modern ayurveda