Katigbi is a plant growing
1 to 2 meters high. Stem is erect, branched and stout. Leaves are 10 to 40
centimeters long, 2.5 to 4 centimeters wide, with a broad and cordate base. Spikes are
6 to 10 centimeters long, erect, and peduncled. Male spikelets are about 8 millimeters long. Fruits are capsules, enclosing the
female flowers. Grains are hard, bony, white or nearly black,
shining, ovoid, about 8 millimeters long.
- Common throughout the Philippines in settled areas, at low and medium altitudes, in most or all islands and provinces.
- Native of the Old World.
- Now pantropic.
• Adlai contains 21.27% moisture, 6.09% ash, 9.11% protein, 0.45% fat, 0.412% crude fiber, and 77.16% carbohydrates.
• The grain contains a protein, prolamin, with a high percentage
of leucine, tyrosine, glutamic acid, and basic amino acids arginine,
histidine, and lysine. Protein is called coicin.
• Extracts have yielded coixenolides, attributed antitumor activity.
• Study isolated 6 benzoxazinoids from the roots of CL
• Study evaluating seed phytonutrients yielded: (1) a total vitamin E content of 37.38 mg/kg, two major components were y-tocopherol and y-tocotrienol. (2) squalene 31.23 to 55.00 mg/kg. (3) six fatty acids, the major ones were oleic and linoleic acids.
• Grain starch
• Fruit considered antiinflammatory, antipyretic, antiseptic,
antitumor, antispasmodic, hypoglycemic, hypotensive, vermifuge.
• Seeds considered to be nutritious, cooling, diuretic, demulcent, depurative, antihelmintic, antirheumatic, pectoral, tonic.
• Root of plant considered an excellent anthelmintic.
Edibility / Culinary
- Chief value of the plant is the edibility of the fruit. Grains
are nutritious, with a higher content of protein compared to rice.
- Tea from the parched seeds.
- Coffee from the roasted seeds.
- Beer and wine from fermented grains.
- In the Philippines, decoction of the root has been used for gonorrhea.
Roots also used as vermifuge for
- Starch from the grain used as tonic and as restorative in convalescence.
- Tea from boiled seeds drunk for treatment of warts. Also used for
lung abscesses, appendicitis, rheumatoid arthritis, dysuria.
- Seeds are prescribed for blenorrhagia.
- In India, roots used for menstrual disorders.
- In Liberia, juice from the stem used as drops for eye irritation due
- Decoction and tincture of seeds are emollient in catarrhal affections, in bronchitis, and inflammatory conditions of the urinary tract.
- Seeds have been used as anti-inflammatory medicine.
- In Mexico, decoction or infusion of leaves used for diabetes.
- In Japan and China, spirit from seeds used for rheumatic affections.
- In China, used for cancer treatment (30-60
gm of coix, with glutinous rice as gruel, daily, year round. Also
used for dysfunctions of the endocrine system.
- In Chinese traditional medicine, considered nutritious, demulcent, cooling, pectoral, and anthelmintic. Used for spleen invigoration, diarrhea, oliguria, edema, beriberi, appendicitis and warts. Also, used as food for the dyspeptic. Coix seed has been used in the preparations used in the treatment of tumors.
- In Europe, tincture or decoction of seed use for catarrhal afflictions of the air passages.
- In Vietnam stems are used in some diabetic recipes.
- In Japan, used for warts.
- Ornaments: The berries as strung as beads for rosaries and decorative for curtains,
bags, trays, necklaces, etc.
- Stems used for matting.
Components isolated from the Chinese herbal medicine Coix lachryma-jobi
showed antitumor activity attributed to the acidic fraction which
was composed of four free fatty acids: palmitic, stearic, oleic and
linoleic acids. (2)
• Antiinflammatory / Seeds: Results showed the methanol seed extract of seeds
of CL showed antiinflammatory properties which may involved the inhibition
of NO and O2 production by activated macrophages. (4)
• Antiinflammatory / Roots: Study
on the antiinflammatory activities of six benzoxazinoids from roots
of Coix lachryma-jobi var. Ma-yuen showed the free hydroxyl group
in the benzoxazinone skeleton involved in the expression of inhibitory
• Progesterone Production Inhibition: Study suggested decrease of progesterone production via mechanisms
involving the inhibition of cAMP pathway, enzyme activities and protein
expressions in rat granulosa cells. (5)
• Cytotoxicity / Anti-Viral: In a study of its in vivo effects on healthy volunteers, showed the Coix seeds increase peripheral cytotoxic lymphocytes and may be effective to viral infection through enhancement of cytotoxic activity. (8)
• Macrophage Biostatic Activity: Results of study of water extract of seeds suggest that some components other than the non-proteinous and defatted components in Coix lachryma seeds may contribute to activate macrophages through induction of NO for the biostatic activity. (9)
• Osteoporosis Prevention: Results of study of the water extract of adlay seed suggest it may be capable of reversing the osteoporotic status in rats and may be a helpful healthy food for osteoporosis prevention. (10)
• Abortifacient / Embryotoxicity: Results indicate the water extracts of adlay seeds are capable of inducing embryotoxicity and enhancing uterine contractility during pregnancy, possibly through the enhanced activities of PKC-alpha, ERK1/2 and COX-2. (11)
• Hypoglycemic Effect / ß-sitosterol and Stigmasterol: Study on STZ-induced hyperglycemia in mice, the chloroform fraction of an ethanol extract significantly reduced blood glucose as well as gluconeogenic enzyme activities. Two compounds isolated, ß-sitosterol and stigmasterol, have been reported as hypoglycemic. (14)
• Hypocholesterolemic / Antioxidant: Study of polyphenol extracts on high cholesterol diet fed rats showed an effective reduction of TC, LDL cholesterol, and oxidative stress marker, MDA (malondialdehyde). There was also an increase in HDL-C and antioxidant capacity. (15)
• Anticancer / Breast and Skin: Coix lachryma and Asparagus cochinchinensis showed breast and and skin anticancer activity. Coix lachryma ethanol extract yielded terpenoids, steroids, and phenolics; For Coix lachryma, the methylene chloride extract showed the most activity. (16)
• Gastroprotective / Anticancer / Antiulcer: Study of extracts of bran and endosperm showed antiproliferative activity, with inhibitory effects, especially by caffeic and chlorogenic acids, on a gastric cancer cell line. Study also showed an antiulcer activity in an indomethacin-induced gastric lesion model. (17)
• Anti-Obesity / Neuroendocrine Modulation: Study in high-fat diet induced obesity in rats, results showed adlay seen water extract may regulate neuroendocrine activity in the brain, causing reduction in body fat mass, body weight, serum leptin level and immune activities of NPY (neuropeptide Y) and LR (leptin receptor). Adlay presents as a potential for therapies targeting obesity. (18)
• Coix Seeds / Kanglaite Injection (KLT) Preparation / Anticancer and Immunomodulating: A review on the pharmacological actions of Coix seed and its preparation Kanglaite Injection reports antitumor and immunomodulating actions. (20)
• Antimutagenic Components / Cancer Chemopreventive: Study yielded six compounds exhibiting great antimutagenic activity: p-hydroxybenzaldehyde, vanillin, syringaldehyde, trans-coniferylaldehyde, sinapaldehyde, and coixol. Two exhibited potent scavenging of DPPH radicals. Among the six, trans-coniferylaldehyde may be a highly promising agent for cancer chemoprevention. (21)
• Anti-Allergic / Inhibition of Chemical Mediator Release: Study evaluated the anti-allergic effects of adlay bran on rat basophilic leukemia (RBL)-2H3cells. Results showed adlay bran extract reduced the release of histamines and cytokines and suppressed production of Akt. The anti-allergic effect was through its effect on signal transduction in RBL-2H3 cells. (22)
• Fructooligosaccharide / Antioxidant: Fructooligosaccharide (FOS), a prebiotic was extracted from the grain of Coix lachryma-jobi Lin. The FOS-containing extract exhibited antioxidant activity by DPPH free radical scavenging assay comparable to vitamin with a slight lipid peroxidation inhibition activity. Results suggest a potential for use as antioxidant in food and cosmetic products. (23)