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Coix lacryma-jobi - L.                
                 
Common Name Job's Tears
Family Poaceae or Gramineae
Synonyms
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Wet places in grassland in the foothills of the Himalayas[146, 158]. Open sunny places to elevations of 2000 metrs in Nepal[272].
Range E. Asia - E. India.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Half Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Coix lacryma-jobi is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9. It is in leaf 10-May It is in flower from Jul to October, and the seeds ripen from Sep to November. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.

USDA hardiness zone : 8-11


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Coix lacryma-jobi Job


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coix_lacryma-jobi_Blanco1.188-cropped.jpg
Coix lacryma-jobi Job
http://www.biolib.de/
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses: Coffee;  Tea.

Seed - cooked. A pleasant mild flavour, it can be used in soups and broths[269].. It can be ground into a flour and used to make bread or used in any of the ways that rice is used[1, 2, 57, 100, 183]. The pounded flour is sometimes mixed with water like barley for barley water[269]. The pounded kernel is also made into a sweet dish by frying and coating with sugar[269]. It is also husked and eaten out of hand like a peanut[269]. The seed contains about 52% starch, 18% protein, 7% fat[114, 174]. It is higher in protein and fat than rice but low in minerals[114]. This is a potentially very useful grain, it has a higher protein to carbohydrate ratio than any other cereal[57], though the hard seedcoat makes extraction of the flour rather difficult. A tea can be made from the parched seeds[46, 61, 105, 183], whilst beers and wines are made from the fermented grain[269]. A coffee is made from the roasted seed[183]. (This report refers to the ssp. ma-yuen)
Composition                                         
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Fresh weight)
  • 380 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 11.2%
  • Protein: 15.4g; Fat: 6.2g; Carbohydrate: 65.3g; Fibre: 0.8g; Ash: 1.9g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 25mg; Phosphorus: 435mg; Iron: 5mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.28mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.19mg; Niacin: 4.3mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes:
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anodyne;  Anthelmintic;  Antiinflammatory;  Antipyretic;  Antirheumatic;  Antispasmodic;  Cancer;  Diuretic;  Hypoglycaemic;  Pectoral;  Refrigerant;  
Sedative;  Tonic;  Warts.

The fruits are anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, hypoglycaemic, hypotensive, sedative and vermifuge[218, 238]. The fruits are used in folk remedies for abdominal tumours, oesophageal, gastrointestinal, and lung cancers, various tumours, as well as excrescences, warts, and whitlows. This folk reputation is all the more interesting when reading that one of the active constituents of the plant, coixenolide, has antitumor activity[269]. The seed, with the husk removed, is antirheumatic, diuretic, pectoral, refrigerant and tonic[176, 218, 240]. A tea from the boiled seeds is drunk as part of a treatment to cure warts[116, 174]. It is also used in the treatment of lung abscess, lobar pneumonia, appendicitis, rheumatoid arthritis, beriberi, diarrhoea, oedema and difficult urination[147, 176]. The plant has been used in the treatment of cancer[218]. The roots have been used in the treatment of menstrual disorders[240]. A decoction of the root has been used as an anthelmintic[272]. The fruit is harvested when ripe in the autumn and the husks are removed before using fresh, roasted or fermented[238].
Other Uses
Beads;  Weaving.

The seeds are used as decorative beads[1, 61, 100, 171, 272]. The stems are used to make matting[158].
Cultivation details                                         
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[162]. Best grown in an open sunny border[1, 162]. Prefers a little shelter from the wind. Job's Tears is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 61 to 429cm, an average annual temperature of 9.6 to 27.8°C and a pH in the range of 4.5 to 8.4[269]. Weed to some, necklace to others, staff-of-life to others, job's tear is a very useful and productive grass increasingly viewed as a potential energy source[269]. Before corn (Zea mays) became popular in Southern Asia, Job's tears was rather widely cultivated as a cereal in India[158, 269]. It is a potentially very useful grain having a higher protein to carbohydrate ratio than any other cereal[57]. The seed has a very tough shell however making it rather difficult to extract the grain. The ssp. ma-yuen. (Roman.)Stapf. is grown for its edible seed and medicinal virtues in China, the seedcoat is said to be soft and easily removed[57, 183]. This form is widely used in macrobiotic diets and cuisine[183]. The ssp. stenocarpa is used for beads[57]. Whilst usually grown as an annual, the plant is perennial in essentially frost-free areas[269]. Plants have survived temperatures down to about -35°c[160]. (This report needs verifying, it seems rather dubious[K].) Plants have often overwintered when growing in a polyhouse with us, they have then gone on to produce another crop of seed in their second year[K]. We have not as yet (1995) tried growing them on for a third year in a polyhouse[K].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - pre-soak for 2 hours in warm water and sow February/March in a greenhouse[164]. The seed usually germinates in 3 - 4 weeks at 25°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. Grow them on in cool conditions and plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts[1, 164]. Seed can also be sown in situ in May[1] though it would be unlikely to ripen its seed in an average British summer. In a suitable climate, it takes about 4 - 5 months from seed to produce new seed[269]. Division of root offshoots[272]. This is probably best done in the spring as plants come into fresh growth[272].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[57]Schery. R. W. Plants for Man.
Fairly readable but not very comprehensive. Deals with plants from around the world.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[100]Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide.
An excellent and well illustrated pocket guide for those with very large pockets. Also gives some details on plant uses.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[114]Chakravarty. H. L. The Plant Wealth of Iraq.
It is surprising how many of these plants can be grown in Britain. A very readable book on the useful plants of Iraq.
[116]Brooklyn Botanic Garden Oriental Herbs and Vegetables, Vol 39 No. 2.
A small booklet packed with information.
[146]Gamble. J. S. A Manual of Indian Timbers.
Written last century, but still a classic, giving a lot of information on the uses and habitats of Indian trees. Not for the casual reader.
[147]? A Barefoot Doctors Manual.
A very readable herbal from China, combining some modern methods with traditional chinese methods.
[158]Gupta. B. L. Forest Flora of Chakrata, Dehra Dun and Saharanpur.
A good flora for the middle Himalayan forests, sparsly illustrated. Not really for the casual reader.
[160]Natural Food Institute, Wonder Crops. 1987.
Fascinating reading, this is an annual publication. Some reports do seem somewhat exaggerated though.
[162]Grounds. R. Ornamental Grasses.
Cultivation details of many of the grasses and bamboos. Well illustrated.
[164]Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 4.
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Yuccas, one on Sagebrush (Artemesia spp) and another on Chaerophyllum bulbosum.
[171]Hill. A. F. Economic Botany.
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some a bit of detail about the plants it does cover.
[174]Kariyone. T. Atlas of Medicinal Plants.
A good Japanese herbal.
[176]Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas.
An excellent Chinese herbal giving information on over 500 species. Rather technical and probably best suited to the more accomplished user of herbs.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[240]Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
[269]Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of plants.
[272]Manandhar. N. P. Plants and People of Nepal
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Thu Apr 20 14:21:27 2000
This is a comment about your page. In 3 hours of searching the web, yours was the first to give the Chinese name(s) of this plant. For this I am extremely grateful. I I Jen and Yi Yi Ren are alternative readings of the same Chinese name and "Yokuinin" is the Japanese mispronunciation of that name. Please use this information if it is of any use to you.
Elizabeth H.
DUBREUIL Mon Nov 21 2005
i am looking for seeds of coix lacryma jobi var stenocarpa for using them for reparing clothes from Laos on witch they are used as embroidered decoration. Where can I find this type of seeds ? Merci Louis Dubreuil
Elizabeth H.
richard miller Wed Apr 26 2006
jobs tears are also helpful for babies teething
Elizabeth H.
Andrew Martin Mon Jan 22 2007
Coix lacryma-jobi has been proven to be the one of the most efficient plants for removal of heavy metal pollutants from water yet discovered (ref Professor Wu, Zhenbin et al, Research Center of Water Environmental Engineering Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, 2006)
Elizabeth H.
Linda Fri Mar 9 2007
I am looking for a couple of the Job's Tear plants, cannot seem to find them.
Elizabeth H.
Ken Fern, Plants for a Future Sat Mar 10 2007
This plant is usually grown from seed. A good source of this is Chiltern's Seeds at http://www.edirectory.co.uk/chilternseeds/.
Elizabeth H.
Allen Goodson Wed Oct 11 2006

SeedsHawaii Job's Tears seed for sale

Elizabeth H.
Albert Schmaedick Mon Aug 13 2007
Thank you so much for the valuable information. I am an American expat living in a Hil Tribe village in North Thailand.I represent a farmer's coop which is considering growing Jobe's tears as a cash crop. So wemay be asking you to list us as a cultivar in the near future. For now we are looking for a good source of seed to plant. Please let us know if you have any new information. We also have a web page which I will list below to be linked. The vilage people take tourists on herb walks and have a home stay program which gives people an experience of life in the village.

Lisu Home Stay and Crafts School Herb walks to identify traditional wild edible and medicinal plants used by the Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand. Also a home stay and crafts school in a Lisu Hill Tribe village.

Elizabeth H.
Tom Sat Dec 1 2007
At what depth do you plant the seeds, when you are growing Job's Tears from seed? This is not mentioned in the cultivation section.
Elizabeth H.
Ken Fern, Plants for a Future Fri Dec 28 2007
The seed is best sown about 1cm below soil level.
Elizabeth H.
Albert Tue Feb 5 2008
We now have Coix lacryma-jobi seeds for sale. You can order 100 seeds to 100 Kgs. Email paiinthai@yahoo.com for details and see www.lisuhilltribe.com

Lisu HillTribe HomeStay and Crafts School Our program is located in a Lisu Tribal village in the mountainous Northern region of Thailand. We offer a cultural immersion opportunity to live with a Lisu family and learn there traditional farming and crafts skills. The Lisu are fond of sharing their knowledge of wild medicinal and edible plants. They are migrants from Tibet and originally they lived a semi-nomadic lifestyle as hunters and gatherers. They are a friendly and generous, fun-loving people with an ancient culture and much wisdom to share.

Elizabeth H.
mrs duane jaixen(susie) Mon Mar 31 2008
I belong to a group making Rosaaries. Read about this gentleman making them out of jobs tears and wondered where to get the seeds. I live in the north east corner of Texas and wondered if it is possible to grow them here/ Would appreciate any information about this. thank you Susie Jaixen po box 173Hooks, Texas 75561/0173
Polina S.
Jul 1 2011 12:00AM
Be careful!!! medicinal or not, this plant is a huge pest in tropical climates. on behalf of every farmer that had to pull job's tears by hand - think, and don't spread noxious weeds just because they look pretty.
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