16 Health Benefits Of Nut Grass Or Musta (Cyperus rotundus)

Health benefits of musta include improved digestion and weight loss.

Nut grass, musta, or Cyperus rotundus is often dismissed by the untrained eye as a pesky weed. But the small, aromatic tuber of this perennial herb is a potent ayurvedic and traditional medicine remedy. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, antimicrobial abilities, and more, this herbal powerhouse may actually hold the key to many diseases and health niggles you’re dealing with. Here’s what you need to know!

1. Sorts Out Digestive Ailments

According to ayurveda, musta can help increase digestive fire or rev up that digestive system of yours. It can also help digest any undigested material left in your body. Which is why it is used to treat indigestion and even obesity.1 It is also prescribed to treat dysentery, irritable bowel syndrome, and indigestion.2 Other digestive problems like colic, flatulence, nausea, and vomiting are also eased by this remedy.3 Animal studies confirm its anti-emetic effect, which helps reduce the intensity and frequency of vomiting.4


For diarrhea, take a decoction of musta made by boiling/heating the powdered herb in warm water. Have it with a little honey. This remedy has even been used successfully to treat childhood diarrhea, though dosage and safety should be suggested by an ayurvedic practitioner.5 6

Extracts from the plant have shown significant antidiarrheal activity in animal studies.7 While it didn’t kill the diarrhea-causing Escherichia coli in one study, it did limit toxin production and inhibit the ability of bacteria. It may also help reduce how often you have episodes of diarrhea.8


2. Tackles Obesity And Cuts Fat Levels

The ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita categorizes musta under the “lekhaniya and medohara gana,” that is remedies that are believed to counter obesity and high cholesterol, helping expel excess fat and kapha from the body. Studies confirm this effect of the herb. As one animal study found, the extract stimulated the breakdown of fats in the fat tissue. Obese rats, when given musta extracts, showed a significant reduction in weight gain even though food intake was not reduced. It also stimulated fat breakdown in the body. The remedy had no toxic effects.9

Studies on human test subjects have also been promising. In one study, obese test subjects were given capsules containing 450 mg of the tuber powder extracts twice daily for 3 months. They showed a reduction in weight and also saw a dip in cholesterol and triglyceride levels.10 In another study, the subjects were asked to take 3 gm of musta churna thrice a day with lukewarm water for 3 months alongside a diet and exercise regimen. There was a significant reduction in both body mass index (BMI) as well as hip-waist ratio. And it was higher here than in another group who also followed the diet and exercise regimen but did not take musta churna. The musta group also reported that they felt a reduction in excessive hunger, thirst, and tiredness.


Dry massage with musta powder (udvartana) is recommended in ayurveda for cutting subcutaneous fat deposition.11

Musta’s ability to metabolize fat and expel it from the body may be responsible for its anti-obesity activity. It is also able to chelate or remove heavy metals and toxins found in existing fat cells, thus detoxifying the body. Polyphenols and ascorbic acid in it help cut oxidative stress associated with obesity as well, helping fend off other metabolic disorders like heart disease and diabetes.12


3. Fights Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract pathogens responsible for causing urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be kept in check with Cyperus rotundus. Folk medicine has been using it for this purpose for a long while now and studies back this up now. Researchers found that the extract did show antibacterial activity against these pathogens.13 The rhizome powder also has diuretic properties which help you pass more urine.14 This, in turn, can help flush the toxins from your body.

4. Eases Menstrual Problems

If you are suffering from amenorrhea or a lack of menstrual periods altogether or scanty periods, this is a herbal remedy that may help.15 Musta is an emmenagogue, helping stimulate menstrual flow in women.16 Studies on supplements that combine musta with other herbs to treat menstrual problems have also highlighted its role in treating anemia as well as easing any general weakness you might experience as a result of a menstrual disorder.17


5. Works As A Galactagogue

A decoction of musta roots is given to nursing mothers to purify and improve the quality of breast milk. A paste of the fresh tubers is also applied on the breast to boost lactation.18

Ayurveda recommends musta to nursing moms for boosting lactation. Animal studies confirm this effect. In one study, when musta extracts were administered to mother rats , it helped increase the quantity of milk produced. The protein and carb content of the mammary tissues were also higher and there was a significant weight gain among the pups when compared to the control group which was not given musta. The herb also had no side effects and was deemed a toxicologically safe remedy by the researchers.


6. Regulates Blood Pressure

Musta has hemodynamic properties that help optimize blood flow and stimulate respiration. Researchers also confirmed its hypotensive effect, showing that alcoholic extract of musta can bring about a persistent yet gradual reduction in blood pressure.19

7. Slows Aging And Counters Dementia

The antioxidant potential of nut grass makes it a potential remedy for a host of problems we are plagued by today including cancer, hypertension, as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. In particular, the free radical-scavenging property of antioxidants in plants like nut grass is being explored for slowing aging and related neurodegeneration.20 One study on animals found that it could help counter the learning impairment associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and may even improve cognitive problems that result from it.21


8. Fights Off a Range Of Infections

Musta has shown antimicrobial activity against numerous pathogens including strains of Salmonella, Staphylococcus, candida, and E. coli, which are responsible for digestive, skin, urinary tract, fungal, and other infections.22 Traditional medicine also uses it to treat worm infestations or infections, including by tapeworms.23

9. Relieves Allergic Coughs And Other Respiratory Problems

Musta extracts are used in medications for coughs and bronchial asthma.24 Its anti-allergic properties have been seen in lab tests and animal studies.25

Musta has an antipyretic effect. If you have a fever, the remedy could help bring down your temperature by promoting sweating.26

10. Has Benefits For Skin And Hair

Nut grass paste is used topically to treat skin problems like eczema and scabies. It also helps ease itchiness you might experience at the site.27 In addition, the extract is used in formulations designed to help with pigmentation of both hair and skin. It is used in some suntan gels as well.28

Studies have also demonstrated its depilatory ability to remove light or white axillary (underarm hair), offering an effective alternative to laser hair removal treatments. It also helped remove unwanted dark colored axillary hair in test subjects. A regimen involving topical use of 0.25 ml of Cyperus rotundus oil twice a day for 6 months was followed in one study and brought about a significant reduction in hair growth.29

11. Helps With Wound Healing

The remedy could also work as a salve that heals wounds. One study tested the use of musta ointment and found that it was more effective than a standard topical antibiotic ointment at reducing wound closure time, helping the wound contract, and improving the tensile strength of the wound site. Among other things, this ointment may help reduce tissue swelling, inflammation, and oozing of tissue fluids. These, in turn, may help a wound heal better.30

12. Eases Conjunctivitis Symptoms

Pink eye or conjunctivitis is an inflammatory condition of the eye that can be itchy and uncomfortable, leaving your eyes watery and red. Studies using extracts of nut grass have found that this remedy can help ease associated inflammation from this eye problem in human test subjects.31

13. Helps Manage Diabetes

Cyperus rotundus is used in the dietary management of metabolic disorders like diabetes. The plant extract inhibits enzymes (α-amylase and α-glucosidase) that help with carbohydrate digestion. This could make the rhizome extract a potential antihyperglycemic agent which can prevent your blood sugar from spiking if you have diabetes.32 An animal study found that hyperglycemic test animals saw a drop in their blood sugar levels after taking the extract of nut grass. Researchers suggested that this was due to the antioxidant activity of the herbal remedy.33

14. Tackles Epilepsy And Reduces Seizures

Musta also has antispastic and sedative effects. Animal studies show it can help relax the muscles of the body and act as a gentle tranquilizer.34

Epileptic seizures can be hard to cope with and tend to interfere with normal life. If this is something you or someone around you is living with, musta could help. Traditional ayurvedic medicine uses musta for this ailment. Its anticonvulsant activity has also been demonstrated in animal studies. The extract reduced both the intensity and the duration of a seizure in test subjects. Its antioxidant properties might be responsible for this antiepileptic effect.35

15. Eases Rheumatoid Arthritis And Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Musta also possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic properties.36 Animal studies show that the herb extract inhibits the production of nitric oxide and superoxide, two mediators that play a critical part in the development of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. By interfering with or modulating inflammation in the body, musta helps you better manage your condition.37

When it is combined with another anti-inflammatory herbal remedy ashwagandha, these results may be amplified. In one study, patients were given 500 mg capsules containing equal amounts of both these herbal remedies for 3 months thrice a day. It reduced the need for test subjects to take an analgesic to manage pain, indicating an improvement in symptoms and relief from the remedy. Clinical studies have found that this combination can help not only those with rheumatoid arthritis but also with osteoarthritis.38

16. Has Cancer-Fighting Potential

Human studies on musta show that it is safe for use even for long-term therapy and don’t have any major side effects.39

Cyperus rotundus may also have potential in the battle against cancer. Research, although in early stages, is proving promising, with researchers finding that the rhizome extract displays anticancer activity against multiple cancer cell lines. What’s more, it also protects non-cancerous normal cells.40