Despite its many attributes English couch grass is much despised by Australian farmers and some gardeners who rue the day the plant was introduced from Europe. Although it's almost impossible to eradicate couch grass because of its very strong rhizomes that grip to the soil it is very beneficial in preventing soil erosion. Other useful purposes the plant has also come from the rhizomes that are rich in carbohydrates. They are used as a nutritious fodder for cattle and after being dried and ground have been used as a flour substitute in times of famine. When dried and roasted the rhizomes have also been used as a coffee substitute while an infusion made from the fresh rhizomes has been used in the treatment of urinary complaints and as a diuretic.
Long considered a very useful medicinal herb by herbalists the plant is still prescribed by them today. In fact H. P. Rasmussen, a herbalist in Australia's colonial days, recommended a decoction of the plant to be taken by those suffering from 'impure blood'. He described it as a blood purifier, one of the uses herbalists still use it for and find it extremely effective. It's also very effective for soothing, calming pain, and easing spasms in the urinary tract.
Also known as creeping dogstooth grass, quack grass, quick grass, rope twitch, and twitch, English couch grass can be found growing in pastures, cultivated fields, and waste land. It's common in southeastern and southwestern Australia.
Proprietor, author, and tutor of The Home Herbalist Online Course.