Kingdom : Plantae
Family : Poaceae
Genus : Cynodon
Species : C. dactylon
Scientific Name : Cynodon dactylon
Durva grows wild, throughout India and is commonly cultivated as lawns, for decorative purpose. It is a perennial creeping grass, rooting at every node, forming matted tufts. The leaves, variable in length from 1-10 cm , 0.5-1 cm broad, tapering towards the apex. The flowers green or brinjal-coloured, in terminal spikes, 2 to 8 in number. The fruit grains are tiny and grayish in colour.
The Sanskrit word durva literally means that which is cut or eaten by the animals. It is the most sacred plant of India next to tulasi. The plants sacred to Sankara, Ganesa and Visnu are vilva, durva and tulasi, which alleviate vata, pitta and kapha dosas, respectively. Hindus worship the God Ganesa with the leaves durva religiously. This plant has been recognixed for its cooling, haemostatic, diuretic, depurative and tonic properties since ancient times, cited in Dhanvantari, Kaiyadeva and Raja Nighantus. Ayurvedic texts mention two types of durva viz. white and green . Whereas, Nighantus mention the third type, ganda durva, which is entirely a different plant. It is categorized as samsamana – pacifies pitta
Chemical Constituents :
The plant contains crude proteins, carbohydrates and mineral constituents, oxides of magnesium, phosphorous, calcium , sodium and potassium. The whole plant affords sitosterol and carotene. Other compounds like vitamin C, cartone, palmitic acid, triterpenoides, alkaloids ergonovine and ergonovinine etc. are reported. The alcoholic extract of the whole plant shows antiviral activity against vaccinia virus.
Durva is astringent and sweet in taste , sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency . It alleviates kapha and pitta dosas. It possesses light and oily attributes. It is used in skin diseases, blood disorders, thirst and burning sensation in the body.
The whole plant of durva is used for medicinal purpose, externally as well as internally. Durva being haemostatic, refrigerant, healer and beneficial for skin complexion, it is extremely beneficial, externally in wounds, haemorrhages, burning sensation and dispigmentations of the skin. The paste of leaves or their medicated oil is applied in traumatic wounds and piles, with great benefit. In catarrhal conditions of the eyes, the fresh fuice of the plants is instilled into eyes. The same fuice, effectively controls the nasal bleeding , when used as nasal drops. The paste of the plant is applied on forehead in headache due to vitiation of pitta dosa. The burning sensation in the skin disorders like urticaria, erysipelas is effectively relieved with the application of its paste.
Internally durva is used in various diseases. The plant is beneficial in the treatment of epilepsy and hysteria and in conditions associated with pain, due to vitation of vata dosa. As a potent styptic, it effectively arrests the bleeding in dysentery, piles, haematuria, epistaxis, menorrhagia, diarrhea, raktapitta etc. It checks the uterine bleeding, strengthens the uterus, averts the abortion and augments the foetal growth. The plant juice given along with rice water and rock candy, curbs the vomiting. Duva is useful as a general tonic as well as an aphrodisiac. Maharsi Caraka has mentioned the white variety of durva to be extremely beneficial as galactogogue. Susruta has cited both, the white and black varieties of durva, to augment the complexion of the skin. Durva also works well as anti-toxin (visaghna).