Plant Profiler

Couch grass (Agropyron repens)


Couch grass (Agropyron repens) Image
Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms
Agropyron cristatum L., Agropyron desertorum, Agropyron elongatum, Agropyron intermedium, Agropyron mongolicum, Agropyron pectiniforme, Agropyron repens L. Beauv., Agropyron scabrifolium El Palmar INTA, Agropyron scabrifolium Seleccion Anguil, Agropyron smithii, Agropyron trachycaulum, Agropyron trichophorum, ayrik, chiendent, common couch, creeping quackgrass, crested wheatgrass, cutch, devil's grass, dog grass, durfa grass, echte quecke, Elymus repens, Elytrigia repens, grama, grama de las boticas, grama del norte, gramigna, gramigua, Gramineae (family), groesrod graminis rhizome, joula, kweek, najm, nejil, pied de poule, Poaceae (family), quackgrass, quick grass, quitch grass, Scotch quelch, Scotch grass, squaw wein, squaw wijn, triticum, Triticum repens L., twitch, twitchgrass, vigne squaw, wheat grass, witch grass.

Mechanism of Action

Pharmacology:

  • Constituents: The major constituent of couch grass is triticin (3% to 8%), a polysaccharide related to inulin (secondary source). Upon hydrolysis, triticin releases the following: fructose; mucilage (10%); saponins; sugar alcohols (mannitol, inositol, 2% to 3%); essential oil with polyacetylenes or carvone (0.01% to 0.05%); small amounts of vanilloside (vanillin monoglucoside), vanillin, and phenolcarboxylic acids; silicic acid; and silicates. Extraction of silicon-containing compounds from couch grass has been studied.1 Lectins found in the seedlings and leaves also may be present in the rhizome. However, the lectin content of the leaves varies from season to season. Other constituents found in couch grass include flavonoids such as tricin, agropyrene (volatile oil constituent, 95%), mucilage, thymol, menthol, iron, and other minerals. Albumin content in couch grass and other wheat related plants has been evaluated.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects: An ethanolic extract was found to exhibit only weak inhibition (14%) of carrageenan-induced inflammation in the paws of rats.2
  • Antimicrobial effects: Agropyren's essential oil and oxidation product have both been shown to be antibiotic. Because of this action, couch grass has been used as a remedy for treating urinary tract infections.
  • Demulcent effects: The polysaccharide of mucilage found in couch grass may help soothe inflammation and irritation. Therefore, it is useful in easing digestive muscle spasms and painful spasms in the bladder and urinary system; it helps with coughing by soothing the bronchial tension. This property also makes it useful as a laxative.
  • Diuretic effects: Secondary sources indicate that in rats and mice, couch grass was found to exhibit diuretic activities; these claims, however, have not been confirmed. The presence of mannitol, saponins, and vanillin is claimed to contribute to this effect.

Pharmacodynamics/Kinetics:

  • Insufficient available evidence.

References

  1. Paslawska, S. and Piekos, R. Studies on the optimum conditions of extraction of silicon species from plants with water. IV. Agropyron repens. Planta Med 1976;30:216-222.
  2. Mascolo, N. Biological screening of Italian medicinal plants for anti-inflammatory activity. Phytother Res 1987;1:28-29.




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