Coix: An Underutilized Medicinal Food


Job’s tears, yi yi ren

“Let your medicine be your food and your food, your medicine.” The sovereign dictum of Hippocrates is aptly epitomized by the use of Coix (Coix lacrymi-jobi, also known as Job’s tears and yi yi ren) as the most common treatment for cancer in China.

Coix is a member of the Graminaceae family of which all grains are a member. In China and throughout Asia, this little known, non-glutenous grain obtained by removing the hard husk of the fruit is widely used both as a food and for medicine. As a food it is densely nutritious.

Per 100 grams, these seeds contain approximately:

  • 7 percent fat
  • 18 percent protein
  • 52 percent starch
  • protein – 15.4 g
  • dietary fiber – 3g
  • Ca – 25 mg
  • Fe – 5 mg
  • Vitamin B1 – 0.28 mg
  • Vitamin B2 – 0.19 mg
  • Niacin – 4.3 mg

Bioactive Constituents in Coix

The oil in coix (coixol) which is 5-7% of the dried seed is antispasmodic,…

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