This plant was planted by my neighbour next to my Bunga Kantan. Initially I wanted to clear it, thinking it was weed. Then, my neighbour quickly came to me and told me it was one type of herbal plant used as a great detoxing supplements and consumed as a herbal drink. She later showed me its health benefits as illustrated in a Chinese Herbs magazine. The Chinese name of this plant is 马草, literally translated as “horse grass”.
She said this plant was once very popular and widely sought after in Taiwan. It was even made into commercial skin caring juice, with advertisement claiming its effect in treating acne problems.
Later, I did some research and discovered the English common name for this plant was Napier Grass. Scientifically its species is Pennisetum and it belongs to Poaceae family. You can find more information on this page.
According to the Chinese wiki, this plant is rich in vitamin C and is claimed to contain the anti-oxidant and even the anti-cancer effects. It is good for treating swelling and easing stomach-ache. After knowing the goodness of the plant, instead of disposing it, I helped her to water the plants regularly.
The normal way to consume the plant is to blend the leaves and extract its juice to drink fresh without heating to prevent oxidization. It is also not advised to blend at higher than 900 rpm or above 50 ℃, as it will destroy its chlorophyll and vitamins.
However, instead of blending into juice which may taste a bit too raw to us, another way to consume it is to boil the grass along with its stalks and added with rock sugar to make into delicious herbal drink! The taste of the drink is very much similar to drinking Bamboo Sugar Cane, really tasty!
Beer anyone?No, this is the Chinese Herbal Napier Grass drink,
If you happen to find this plant growing wildly somewhere, do try to take some back and try out. It is such a great refreshing and cooling drink especially if you have symptoms of a “heaty” body such as sore throat and acne. Every now and then, I will pluck some to make herbal beverages for my family.