Uses and Benfits of Adlai Plant / Grass

I am quite fascinated with this grass. I never knew its name before.Ā  The fruits look like a mini shell with colors brown, black and usually grey. Every hard grain has a hole for inserting a thin piece of nylon string. We used to collect it for the purpose of making bracelets and necklaces.

The plant looks like a miniature version of corn. I usually see it near watery areas like rice field and near rivers. We regarded it as weed until I read the “Facts About Adlai” – a magazine published by the Department of Agriculture Region 4A (CALABARZON). The featured image is very similar to what we thought as weed.

adlai plant on magazine

The plant is commonly known as adlai, adlay, job’s tears or Coix lacryma-jobi L.Ā  The plant grain can be eaten the same manner as rice. Can be fried and coated with sugar. Use for soups and broths. For beers and wine making. For vinegar manufacture. For Job’s Tear tea – a thick drink made from adlai powder. For okroju – a liquor made of adlai and rice.

Grains are usually harvested after four to five months of sowing. Separated from stalks through threshing and , like rice, seeds are first sun dried before milling. It has at least 50% starch, 14 percent protein and six percent fat.

It is used as remedy for various tumors like the abdominal tumors, esophageal and gastrointestinal, as well as warts.

The plant can be used for treating abscess, anodyne, anthrax, appendicitis, arthritis, beri beri, bronchitis, catarrh, diabetes, dysentery, dysuria, edema, fever, goiter, halitosis, headache, hydrothorax, metroxenia, phthisis, pleurisy, pneumonia, puerperium, rheumatism, small-pox, splenitis, strangury, tenesmus and worms. Claims still needs scientific evidences.

Some studies indicated that adlai has anti-allergic, anti-mutagenic, hypolipemic and anti-diabetic effects.

It is also said to exhibit anti-cancer activity. In a study by Hung et al 2003, Adlai seeds were found to exert and antiproliferative effect on human lung cancer in vitro and in vivo and might also prevent the development of tobacco carcinogen-induced tumors. Its anti-cancer activity was further proven by the study of Lee et al 2008 who isolated five active compounds from adlai bran which inhibit cancer cells.

In traditional Chinese medicine, adlai hull extract is used to treat dysmenorrhea and was proven in a recent study that, indeed, is a feasible alternative therapeutic agent.

benefits courtesy of BAR Chronicles via Kabalikat Magazine of CALABARZON. image courtesy of kabalikat.


update as of may 26, 2011

Mom brought home adlai seedling. I was expecting a handful of grains. Sadly, all adlai plants are already dead. New plants are beginning to sprout.

adlai seedling

14 Replies to “Uses and Benfits of Adlai Plant / Grass”

  1. Good day, I am a student from the University of Rizal System. I am interested in adlai and i am thinking of using adlai for my thesis this year for my course BS Agriculture Major in Crop Science, and if you don’t mind, i would like to ask you if you know where did you get the adlai seedlings? Also if you have other studies that is related to adlai. Thank you very much and God Bless you. šŸ™‚

    1. Hi po. I have four adlai seeds that you still need to grow for 5 to 6 months. But I don’t really know where you can find grewn seedlings

      1. If you need it for thesis, then Department of Agriculture and nearby Universities are your best resource. Blog sites is usually not recognized is literature source…

    1. Hello Po šŸ™‚ san po pwedeng makabili ng Adlai Plant? Kailangan po kasi namin sa Thesis šŸ˜€ thank you po:)

  2. Hi! Good day,

    Ma’am/Sir, I’am a HRM student from University of Perpetual Help System Dalta in Las Pinas. I’m currently doing some developmental study about Adlai Grain and I’m very interested where can I buy some of the adlai products especially the Adlai Grain and Adlai Flour. Your site really help me a lot in my research in school. Hoping for your reply.
    Thank you! God bless.

  3. Ask bout seedling of Adlai san po ba maka secure interested po ako mag tanim please email me. Thanks po

    maraming salamat po,


    1. It can be used as animal feed and is being promoted by the Department of Agriculture for both animal and human consumption. As of date, there are limited studies about the plant, so telling whether it is good or not is hard.

  4. Good day!
    Madame/Sir, I’m a student from a University in Bukidnon. Im interested about what you have posted in this site and if you don’t mind, I just want to ask if you have some related studies in Adlai, specifically on its Morpho-Agronomic Characterization. I just need further information about this crop for my Thesis. I’ll be waiting for your reply. Thank you and God bless You.

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