Coix offers two-fold benefits - it can be used as a remedial herb as well as a food. It may be mentioned here that coix also has a rich content of essential fatty acids that relieve inflammation and encloses some antiviral effects. The seed of the plant, after the husks have been removed, is a very crucial element of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). These seeds are considered to possess a calm nature and have a sweet, but insipid flavor. In tradition Chinese medicine, the coix seed is prescribed to take care of internal damp-heat conditions as well as dampness, particularly maladies of the stomach, spleen, lungs and the large intestines. Traditional herbal medicine practitioners use coix to enhance passage of water through the body. In fact, the herb is used as a diuretic to promote the flow of urine as well as to cure edema (effusion of serous fluid into the interstices of cells in tissue spaces or into body cavities). In addition, the herb is also used to alleviate pain and contractions in the legs that are also swelled. Moreover, herbal practitioners also use coix to treat gastrointestinal conditions such as poor digestion, diarrhea and abdominal bloating. In addition, coix is often used in prescriptions that cure rheumatism as well as arthritis. According to traditional Chinese medicine, these conditions are believed to be caused by excess dampness. Herbalists from China also use coix to treat cancer, appendicitis, beriberi, lung disease, and lung abscesses. Coix is beneficial for specific health conditions and these are as follows:
Usually, when this herb is used for remedial purposes, the common daily dose is between 10 g and 30 g. In addition, herb can be consumed as a nourishing supplement and this way it is different from other herbs that are taken in limited doses.
Coix grains or seeds may be used as food as well as for remedial purposes for a prolonged period. In traditional Chinese medicine, coix has been used for hundreds of years without any adverse side effects. However, there are hints that if people consume huge amounts of coix as food, it may lead to dehydration. The coix cereal is available in groceries in Japan and is known as 'hatomugi'. As coix stimulates urination, pregnant women and people having urinary incontinence should use the herb with caution. In fact, traditional Chinese herbalists advise that the herb should not be used by women during pregnancy.