Saccharum munja – Shara Uses, Research, Medicines, Side Effects

Shara – Saccharum munja is a herb mentioned in Ayurveda for the treatment of blood impurity, excessive burning sensation, thirst, burning urination and improving the breast milk in lactating women. 

Latin name – Saccharum munja Roxb.
Family – Graminae
This is a Perennial grass found all over India. It is described along with another bigger variety as munja and bhadra munja.

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name – Sarapat, Munja, Kanda
English name – Pin Red grass
Bengali name – Sher
Gujarati name – Tirkans
Marathi name – Tirkaande
Punjabi name  – Munja, Sarkanda
Tamil name – Munjipal
Telugu name  – Mujugaddi
Urdu name  – Munju sarkande

Sanskrit synonyms

Sanskrit Synonyms of Shara:
Shar, Banh – The leaf is sharp like an arrow
Munja, Vipuya, Ikshvaku, Sthoola Darbha, Pitamaha, Shara, Bana, Ikshu Kanda, Itkata, Sayaka, Kshura, Ishu Kanda, Sumekhala, Ikshura, Kshurika Patra, Vishikha,


Morphology of Saccharum munja:
Shara is a shrub growing along the river sides in the plains of India resembling sugarcane plant. It is a variety of thick grass having a thick stem growing to a height of 10 – 12 feet with nodules. The leaves are long and sharp growing to a length of 3 – 4 feet and 1 – 2 feet wide. The flowers are found in clusters and are seen immediately after the rainy season. The wilder variety of shara is called as Badra munja.

Properties, part used, dosage

Medicinal Properties of Pin Red Grass:
Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet), Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light), Snigdha (Slimy)
Vipaka – Madhura (Undergoes sweet taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (Cold)
Karma (Actions) – Tridoshahara (reduces all the vitiated doshas )

Part used – Root
Dosage –
Decoction – 50 to 100 ml

Chemical composition

The grass contains (oven – dry basis): cellulose 58. 2%, lignin 20.5%, pentosoms 23.7% and ash 2 – 3%.

Uses of Shara

  • Cold infusion prepared from the root of shara is given in a dose of 40 – 50 ml to treat burning sensation of the body, thirst and burning urination during summer season.
  • Decoction of the root of Saccharum munja is given in a dose of 50 – 80 ml to treat piles, burning sensation of the eyes due to exposure of sunlight, during fever etc.
  • Root of shara is boiled in milk and given in a dose of 50 ml to improve the breast milk in lactating women and to improve the sperm count in males.
  • In condition of leucorrhea, the decoction of the root of shara is boiled in rice gruel water and given as part of treatment.
  • The stem and leaves are died and used commercially to manufacture basket, rope etc.
  • The drug Sara is moothravirachaneeya belonging to pentad group of diuretic a drugs (panchathranamoola) the roots of drug are given internally in moothrakricha, moothrasmari, pitholvanasmari etc
  • It is also used in leucorrhoea (dradhura), sthanyakshya, sukra dhourbala, daha, rakta ptta, arrsas, visarpa, rakta vikara, thrishna, raktha dhushti ganya vikara, and rakta sodhana
  • It is a useful rasayana and vageekarana. It is used in kasa, pittagakasa, and akshiroga.
    Besides panchathrunamula formulations (yoga kalpana) the roots (saramula) are employed as ingredient of some other compounds such as Brahma-rasayana, brahmi kundika, sukumara khratha, and enrdodaka rasayana and thrana panchamoola khrutha

Sanskrit verse

Traditional description, Indications

Traditional description:
Kashaya – astringent
Madhura – sweet
Anushna – not very hot
Vrushya – aphrodisiac, improves vigor

If administered daily, it is
Balya – improves strength and immunity
Veeryakara – improves quality and quantity of sperm and semen  

Indicated in:
Akshiroga – eye disorders
Asra – blood disorders such as abscess, skin disorders, bleeding disorders such as menorrhagia, nasal bleeding etc.
Daha –  burning sensation, as in gastritis, neuropathy, burning sensation in eyes etc
Trushna – excessive thirst
Vastishoola – urinary bladder pain, dysuria
Visarpa – herpes
Kapharoga – diseases of Kapha imbalance
Bhranti – dizziness, insanity
Mada – intoxication

Adverse effect

There is no adverse effect known or reported after the normal use of Shara.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines containing Shara:
Trinapanchamoola kwath: It is a decoction, used in the treatment of difficulty and pain during urination, burning urination.


Research articles related to Saccharum munja:
Anti – microbial activity: The present study deals with the evaluation of antibacterial and antifungal activities of the hydro alcoholic extract of the drugs both individually and in combination. The drugs of Trinpanchmool showed promising antimicrobial activity against different microorganisms. Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria were more sensitive than the fungal strains. The drugs in combination are more active than the individual extracts against maximum micro – organisms tested.

Classical categorization

Bhavaprakasha – Guduchyadi varga
Dhanvantari Nighantu – karaveeradi varga
Kaiyyadeva Nighantu – Oushadhi varga
Raja Nighantu – Shalmalyadi varga

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Saccharum
Species: S. munja

Author:  Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: [email protected]
Click to consult Dr Prashanth BK

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