Rusa Grass (Cymbopogon martinii) Uses, Medicines, Research

Rohisha- Cymbopogon martinii is an Ayurvedic plant used for the treatment of joint pain, respiratory diseases, anorexia, intestinal worms, skin diseases and diarrhea. 

Latin name- Cymbopogon martinii Roxb.
Family- Gramineae (Yava kula)

Vernacular names

Rosha Grass – Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Rusa ghas, Rosha Ghas
English name- Rusa grass, Palmarosa grass, Rosha Grass
Bengali name- Aghiyaga ghas
Gujarati name- Romsado
Marathi name- Rohish
Tamil name- Kavathampillu


Morphology of Cymbopogon martinii:
Rohisha is a small herb growing to a height of 2-3 m and is found all over the temperate climate of India. The stem is smooth, pale white and has leaves emerging from it. The leaves are pleasant smelling, about 7-8 inch long and 1 inch wide and pointed at the tip. Flowers are covered by the leaves and are seen during the winter season. 2 varieties of plant are considered i.e. Motiya and Sofia.

Properties, part used, dosage

Medicinal properties of Rohisha:
Rasa (Taste) – Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light), Ruksha (Dry), Teekshna (Hot)
Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Kaphavata shamaka (reduces vitiated Kapha and vata dosha)

Part used- Stem, Leaf, Flower
Decoction- 50 to 80 ml
Essential Oil- 1 to 3 drops

Chemical composition

Chemical composition of Cymbopogon martinii:
The essential oil obtained from the motia variety is rich in geraniol (80–90%). The oil is known as Palmarosa. Sofia variety yields an oil with lesser geraniol. It is known as Ginger grass Oil. Apart from this the plant yields Linalol, Geranyl acetate, Geranyl formate, Carvone etc.

Uses of Rohisha

  • The decoction from the plant Rohisha is given in a dose of 50-60 ml to treat intestinal worms and diarrhea.
  • The paste of the leaf and stem of Cymbopogon martini is applied over the area affected with scabies, discoloration of the skin.
  • The oil extract of Cymbopogon martini is mixed with hot water and used for hot steam inhalation in conditions of asthma and common cold.
  • The plant is boiled in cow milk and given as a drink in a dose of 40-50 ml to improve breast milk in lactating women.
  • The decoction of Rohisha is given in a dose of 50-60 ml as blood purifier and to improve the strength of cardiac muscles.
  • The paste of the plant is applied over the joints affected with pain and inflammation as part of treatment.
  • Cold infusion of Cymbopogon martini is given in a dose of 50 ml to treat fever and anorexia.

Sanskrit verse


Traditional indications: 
Raktapitta –Bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, heavy periods, etc
Kandu – itching, pruritus
Hrudroga – cardiac disorders
Krumi – worm infestation
Kasa – cough, cold
Jvara – fever
Shwasa – asthma and chronic respiratory disorders
Shoola – abdominal colic pain
Ajeerna – indigestion
Aruchi – anorexia
Kantha Vyadhi – throat disorders, hoarseness of voice
Balagraha – psychiatric disorders in children

Adverse effect

No adverse effect is known after the use of Rohisha

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 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 Palmarosa grass:
Mahapanchagavya ghrita: It is used as medicine and also in preparatory procedure called snehakarma for the treatment of fever, epilepsy, fistula, inflammation, piles, liver diseases, anemia, cough and psychiatric conditions.

Dhanvantara ghrita: It is used as medicine and in procedure called snehakarma for the treatment of edema, abscess, hemorrhoids, anemia, toxic conditions, diabetes, diabetic carbuncle, Gout, spleen related diseases, skin and psychotic diseases


Research articles related to Cymbopogon martinii:
Anti- bacterial activity: The present study was designed to judge the in vitro antibacterial activity and comparision of Ocimum basilicum and Cymbopogon martinii. The antibacterial activity was studied in three different concentrations (10μl, 15μl, 20μl) were tested against Streptococcus faecalis and Staphylococcus aureus. The highest concentration of 20μl exhibits more Antibacterial activity and Cymbopgon martini shows more antibacterial activity than Ocimum basilicum in all three concentrations by using Well diffusion method.

Anti- oxidant activity: The present study deals with the in vitro study of antioxidant activity of essential oil from Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini) of family gramineae. The in vitro study of antioxidant activity of Palmarosa essential oil has been done by using DPPH assay, Nitrogen oxide assay, reducing power assay, carotene bleaching assay and FRAP method. IC50 values observed for DPPH and NO assay were 0.125 mg/mL and 12.5 μg/mL, respectively.In beta carotene bleaching method, the oil showed 93.15% bleaching for the first hour and it increased to 51.1% in second hour. There was a constant increase in the reducing activities with the increase in concentrations in both reducing activity and FRAP methods. In all the methods BHT and Gallic acid were kept as standards. The results clearly indicate that Palmarosa essential oil is effective in scavanging free radicals and has the potential to be a powerful antioxidant.

Classical categorization

Classical categorization of Rohisha (Dhyamaka)
Charaka samhita- Sthanyajanana – lactation inducing group of herbs
Bhavaprakasha- Guduchyadi varga
Dhanvantari Nighantu- Guduchyadi varga
Kaiyyadeva Nighantu- Oushadhi varga
Raja Nighantu- Shalmalyadi varga

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Cymbopogon
Species: C. martinii

Sanskrit synonyms

Sanskrit Synonyms of Rohisha (Katruna):
Dhoopa Gandhika, Sougandhika- Grass has pleasant smell
Kattrina, Devajagdha
Shabala, Puti, Bhutika, Dhyamaka, Mudgala, Paura, Shyamaka, Davadagdha, Devadagdha, Binduchira, Baram, Bhutida, Devadandaka, Devajagdha, Vyamapaura, Mudgala

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

Sthanika Karma (Systemic Action)

External Application – It has analgesic action. External application of the paste is indicated in Skin disorders, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alopecia etc.

Internal administration-

Digestive System – Improve taste, Carminative, Facilitate normal movement of doshas, Antihelminthic in nature. Indicated in anorexia, Loss of appetite, Indigestion, Dysentery, Diarrhea, Helminthiasis, Abdominal colic etc.

Circulatory System – Cardiac stimulant and Blood purifier. Indicated in Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Respiratory system – Expels out vitiated kapha dosha. Indicated in cough, Asthma, Rhinitis etc.
Reproductive system – Increases breast milk production.
Excretory system – Increase urine output. indicated in Dysuria
Tapakrama – Antipyretic
Tvak – Increases sweat production and is indicated n skin disorders

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