Coix: An Underutilized Medicinal Food

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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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