Musta: Cyperus rotundus Uses, Research, Side Effects

Musta – Cyperus rotundus improves lactation, relieves fever, burning sensation, excessive thirst. Commonly known as nut grass, it is also used in treating diarrhea, dyspepsia, herpes and more.
Botanical Name- Cyperus rotundus Linn.

Names in different languages: 
Hindi Name- Motha, नागार्मोथा– nagarmotha
English Name- Nut grass, Purple nutsedge, Nutsedge, Java Grass
Kannada Name – Tunge Gadde
Telugu Name – Tunga Mustalu, తున్గాముస్తలు
Tamil Name – Muthakach, கோரி  கிழங்கு – korai kilangu
Arabic name – So Ad Kufi
Farsi name – Mushke Jami
Malayalam name- മുത്തങ്ങ – muthanga


Sanskrit synonyms:
Krodeshta, Hima, Varida, Gundra, Gangeya, Ghana, Megha, Raja Kaseruka
Abda, Ambhoda,  Ambudhara, Jalada, Jalavaha – grows in moist places
Sugandhi – having good fragrans
varidnamakam- “ambhodaha, ghanaha, varid” – originated from water
Gangeyi – grows in the banks of Holy river Ganga
Granthila – “granthirupa” – Nodular tubers
mustakam- muste sanghate jayate iti – grows in bushes
sughandhi – “shobhagandhayukta” – tubers are aromatic.
kacchota -katccheshu jalaprayabhumishu jayate iti  – grows in aquatic and subaquatic region.
kuruvinda- ” kurun vidanti “Available in Kuru pradesh
krodeshta- “krodanam varahanamishta priya ” – It is liked by pigs.
Gangeyi – “gangayastatavartipradesheshu bhava ” – found near ganga tat.
prachya- “prachi bhava” _ commonly found in eastern regions

Cyperus rotundus

Classical categorization
Lekhaniya – Group of herbs useful in obesity treatment
Trishna Nigrahana – Thirst satiating group of herbs
Kandughna – Group of herbs relieving itching
Stanya Shodhana – Breast milk cleansing and detoxifying group of herbs
Susruta- Mustadi, Vachadi
Vagbhata- Mustadi, Vachadi
Kaiyadeva Nighantu –
Trikarsha –
Ativisha, Shunti and Musta
Chaturbhadra – Ativisha, Shunti, Musta and Guduchi
Sarvaushadhi – Jatamansi, Mura, Shati, Musta, Haridra (Nisha), Ela, Kushta, Champaka, Varanga (Ela), Nata, Shaileya
Sugandhamalaka – Sarvaushadhi + Amalaki


Different varieties
Following types are mentioned in different contexts in Ayurvedic text books –
Musta (Nagaramusta) – Cyperus scariosus
Bhadra Musta – Cyperus rotundus
Kshudra Musta – kasheruka  Sciprus grossus  – Water chestnut
Kaivarta or Jala Musta- Cyperus  esculentus (Earth almond) – grows in moist areas.
Distribution- Grows in rice fields, low lands, water logged areas across India.

Mustaka Dry tuber

Cyperus rotundus Chemical Constituents-
Cineol(+) copadiene, Copaene, Cyperol, Cyperolone, a- Cyperone,(+) epoxyguaiene, isocyperol, isokobusone, Kodusone, Mustakone, Patchilene, (+) rotundone, a- & b- selinene, Sugenol, b- sitosterol etc.
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna VIjnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)

Nut grass

Nut grass  medicinal Properties
Rasa (taste) – Tikta (bitter), Katu (pungent), Kashaya (astringent)
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (lightness), Rooksha (dryness)
Vipaka- Katu – Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion
Veerya- Sheeta – Cold potency
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Pitta
Part Use- Tuber
Dosages- powder 3-6 g: decoction 50-100 ml in divided doses per day.

Nut grass benefits

Musta – Cyperus rotundus benefits:
 मुस्तं साङ्ग्राहिकदीपनीयपाचनीयानाम् | Charaka Sutrasthana 25
Of all the herbs useful as absorbant, digestive and carminative, Musta is the best.
मुस्तापर्पाटकं ज्वरे । (A.Hr. Su) – Musta and Parkataka are the best herbs to relieve fever.
Grahi – absorbent, useful in diarrhea, IBS
Deepana – improves digestion strength
Pachana – Digestive, relieves Ama Dosha
Trushnahara – Relieves thirst
Aruchihara – useful in relieving anorexia
Krumi Vinashini, Jantughna – Relieves worm infestation, useful in infected wounds
Raktajit – useful in blood disorders
Pittajwarahara –Relieves fever with burning sensation and gastritis
Jwaratisarahara – relieves fever associated with diarrhea

Nut grass for post partum care: 
It helps to improve breast milk production and also relieves milk duct clogs. If the baby has mild fever or diarrhea, a water decoction of this herb is made and administered to the mother.  Read more about after-delivery care of mother.
External application is done on breasts to improve lactation. It also relieves pain, inflammation and itching.
Musta as a dusting powder:
Charaka explained Musta as one among Avachurnana dravya, along with herbs like Kushta, Vidanga, Lodhra, Sarjarasa etc. The body of the patient is smeared with sesame oil. Then the body is dusted with the above powder mix. Dusting process is called Avachurnana.
It relieves Kitibha –  ringworm, Kandu – pruritus, Pama – keloids, Vicharchika – Eczema. Reference: (Charaka Sutrasthana 5th chapter)

Jalamusta – Cyperus  esculentus (Earth almond) Benefits and usage:
Synonyms: Jala Musta, Daashapura, Vaneya, Paripelava, Shaivala, Jalaja,
Taste: Tikta, Katu, Kashaya – Bitter, pungent and astringent in taste.
Kantida – improves skin tone and complexion
Medhya – improves intelligence
Vatahara – useful in treating disorders of Vata Dosha imbalance  such as neuralgia, paralysis, constipation, bloating, etc
Visarpahara – useful in herpes
Kanduhara – useful in relieving pruritis (excessive itching)
Kushtahara – useful in skin diseases
Vishahara – Anti toxic
Musta is used as a substitute for camphor.
It is useful in urinary tract infections, dysuria and vaginal white discharge.

Research on Cyperus rotundus:
Antimicrobial investigation
Anti-platelet effects
Physico-chemical and phyto-chemical studies

Side effects of Javagrass
There are no known side effects with this medicine. However, people with constipation may find the symptoms worsen with this medicine.
It is safe to use in children and during lactation. Consult your doctor for its usage during pregnancy.

How to take?
For an adult – A tablespoon of Musta powder is added with 2 cups of water, boiled and reduced to half a cup, filtered and administered within 8 hours of preparation. – This is Musta Kashaya (water decoction).

Ayurvedic medicines with Mustaka ingredient:
Musta Karanjadi kashayam – Used in treating ‘Ama’, indigestion and diarrhea
Mustharishtam – used in digestive complaints like diarrhoea, indigestion, etc.
Navaka Guggulu – used for weight loss treatment and Rheumatoid arthritis.
Panchatiktarishta – antipyretic and blood purifier.

Nagarmotha for Takradhara
Takradhara is a traditional Ayurvedic treatment used for the treatment of psoriasis, hypertension etc. Here, medicated buttermilk is poured over a particular body part for specified amount of time.
To prepare the medicated buttermilk (Takra), Nagar Motha is used, as below.


  • 2 Prastha quantity (128 tola – 1536 grams approximately) of cow’s milk is mixed with 8 prastha quantity (512 tola – 6144 grams approximately) of water and 2 pala (8 tola – 96 grams approximately) of Musta Churna (powder of Cyperus rotundus) are added.
  • The contents are heated on moderate fire until all the water evaporates and only milk is left over.
  • After the milk gets cooled, a small quantity of curd is added and the milk is curdled
  • To this, Amalaki Kwatha (decoction prepared from coarse powder of amla) is added in a quantity of 1 prastha (64 tola – 768 grams) and churned well so as to prepare buttermilk
  • The resultant mixture is used for Takra Dhara
  • Read more about methodology and benefits of Takradhara treatment


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  1. V. USEFUL

  2. I have heard nagarmotha is useful for intestinal and localised yeast/candida infections. Is this true? What other ayurvedic herbs are effective in treating intestinal and vaginal candida/yeast infections?

  3. What is the difference between nagarmotha and Java grass?

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