Izkhar (Cymbopogon jwarancusa) Information

Cymbopogon jwarancusa is medicinal plant belonging to grass family. It is found in temperate and tropical areas of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Iraq and many other countries. An essential oil with mint smell is present in the plant in low amount. In India, few common names used for this plant include Lamajja, Lamajjaka (Sanskrit), Vilaamichhan (Siddha) and Izkhar Makki (Urdu).

Cymbopogon jwarancusa is used in treatment of diseases of the blood, skin, burning sensations, leprosy, biliousness, thirst, vomiting, unconsciousness and fever. It is cooling, bitter, digestible, alexiteric, appetizer, stomachic and astringent. Externally, it is applied on applied to abdominal tumor.

In Unani, whole plant is known as Izkhar Makki, roots as Bekhe Izkar and flowers as Shagofa Izkher. The plant is used as an ingredient of many Unani medicines.

General Information

It is a tall grass, up to 1.8 m. high with aromatic roots. Leaves are flat up to 60 cm long and 5 mm broad, narrowly linear, filiform above and ending in a long capillary tip.

Description: Culm erect, about 1 m high, nodes often swollen (Fig 5). Leaf-sheath glabrous, more of less curled. Leaf-blade whitish, glabrous. Spathate panicle erect, 15-40 cm long. Raceme 13-22mm long; lowermost pedicel and lower raceme-base not swollen and not fused. But flat/rachisinternodes and pedicels densely pilose along the margins and the back. Sessile spikelet 4.5-5.5mm long, lower glume lanceolate, 0.8 mm wide, sharply keeled, shallowly concave on the backglabrous, nerveless or 1-2 nerved; awn 7-10 mm long. Pedicelled spikelet 6 mm long; lower glume lanceolate, 0.8-1 mm wide, 3-7 nerved.

Scientific Classification

The botanical name of plant is Cymbopogon jwarancusa. It belongs to plant genus Cymbopogon and family Poaceae / Gramineae. Many plants belonging to this family are used for commercial and medicinal uses. They are high in essential oil content.

The name of genus, Cymbopogon is derived from Greek word kymbe = hallow boat like-vessel and pogon = beard. It Species name is jwarancusa, which is probable derived from Sanskrit word jwar=fever and Cusa / Kusha= grass, or Ankusha=breaker as this grass traditionally used to treat fever. Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.

  • Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
  • Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
  • Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
  • Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
  • Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
  • Subclass: Commelinidae
  • Order: Cyperales
  • Family: Poaceae / Gramineae – Grass family
  • Genus: Cymbopogon Spreng. – Lemon grass
  • Species: Cymbopogon jwarancusa (Jones) Schult.


  • Andropogon jwarancusa Jones.
  • Andropogon himalayensis Gandoger

Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Whole plant, especially roots and shoots

Plant type: Grass, weed

Distribution: Outer hill zone of the Kumaon, Garhwal, Peshawar, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, Sind, Bihar

Duration: Perennial

Group: Monocot

Vernacular names / Synonyms

  1. Scientific name: Cymbopogon jwarancusa
  2. Sanskrit: Amrinala, Avadahaka, Avadataka, Dirghamula, Ishthakapathika, Jalashaya, Laghu, Lamajjaka, Laya, Nalada, Sevya, Shighra, Sunala, Sunila
  3. Hindi: Bur, Ghatyari, Ibharankusha, Karankusha, Khavi, Khawi, Khoi, Lamjak, Panni, San, Solara
  4. Bengal: Gandhavena, Ibharankusha, Karankusa
  5. Gujarati: Jalavalo, Khadajala, Pilovalo
  6. Arabic: Izkhir
  7. Persian: Gurgiyah
  8. Chinese: Mei guicao
  9. Japanese: Jamaroosa, Jamaroosagurasu.
  10. French: Herb de Citron, Citronnelle en herbe
  11. German: Zitronengras
  12. Ayurvedic: Jwarankush, Lamajja, Lamajjaka
  13. Siddha: Vilaamichhan
  14. Unani: Izkhar Makki (Plant), BekheIzkar (Root) and Shagofa Izkher (flower)

Constituents of Cymbopogon jwarancusa

Major constituent of the essential oil is piperitone, 65% others include borneol, cadinene, camphene, camphor,farnesene, geraniol, alpha-and beta-pinene. The antibacterial activity is attributed to piperitone.

Important Medicinal Properties

Cymbopogon jwarancusa is rich in medicinal properties. The understanding of these properties will help us to better utilize this herb. These also indicate the conditions in which we should avoid it. Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.

Antioxidant: Reduces damage due to oxygen, such as that caused by free radicals.

Anti-rheumatic: Counteracting rheumatism and rheumatoid disease.

Blood purifier: Detoxifies.

Bechic: Remedy for a cough.

Carminative: relieving flatulence.

Diuretic: Causing increased passing of urine.

Emmenagogue: Stimulates or increases menstrual flow.

Lithontriptic: Dissolving or destroying stone in the bladder or kidneys

Medicinal Uses of Cymbopogon jwarancusa

Cymbopogon jwarancusa / Izkhar is used in treatment of variety of diseases due to its antimicrobial, antioxidant, astringent, cooling, expectorant, digestive, carminative and blood purifying properties.

It is used to purify blood. It is used as tonic in dyspepsia, especially that of children, stimulant and diaphoretic. It is also used in treatment of gout, rheumatism and fever.

Unani Properties

Muqavvi Meda wa Ama (Gastric and intestine tonic): Tone up the gastric and intestine, improve the liver function by various ways

Hazim (Digestive): Help in digestion either by tone up gastric or by toning intestine

Unani Formulations

Arq-E-Amber: Used as a general tonic.

Arq Maullehem Mako Kasni wala: Having Mohallil Auram Shikam (Resolvant of inflammation of stomach) action and used in treatment of Liver and other abdominal disorders.

Dawaul Kurkum Sagheer: Having Muqavvi Gurda (Renal tonic), Muqavvi Masana (Urinary bladder tonic) and Muqavvi Jiger (Liver tonic) properties and used in treatment of liver and Spleen disorders.

Majun-E-Dabid-Ul-Ward / Majun Dabeedulvard: Having Mudirr-e-Baul (Diuretic), Mohallil-e-Waram (Antiinflammatory) properties and used in treatment of Waram-e-Jigar (Hepatitis), Waram-e-Meda (Gastritis), Waram-e-Rahem (Uteritis), Zof-e-Jigar (Weakness of liver) and Zof-e-Meda (Weakness of stomach).

Recommended Dose of plant

  1. The powder is taken in dose of 3-5 grams.
  2. This plant has emmenagogue action and therefore should not be used in pregnancy.
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