The lalang grass is a pest or weed to the indigenous people.
When the Foochows first arrived in Sibu they saw a huge jungle with big trees and after burning their newly acquired land they had to fight against this fast growing weed on their newly burnt soil if they did not work hard and fast enough. So it left a very strong mark on their minds that it was a fight against them.
When the Foochows said "huong" they would mean that their land had been left untaken care of. Huong Chou or grass of huong would refer to lalang.
Even to us , the third generation Foochow and Sarawak born, we would still say the same thing and have images of abandonment, derelict, uncared for, and wasteland whenever we think of lalang.
Lalang can thus be seen easily in cemeteries which have not been cared for , rice fields which have not been worked on for many years and even houses which have been left unattended.
It is a weed that is hard to get rid of because it propagates very well and it can grow just anywhere, very often unexpectedly.
Lalang is often used to bathe babies to ward off evil spirits. During confinement period grandmothers would go out to the fields to find some lalang to take home to bathe their new grandchildren or even to place some lalang leaves on the doorway.
Another aunty swore that whenever she put seven leaves of lalang under her hat whenever she went to the graveyards of her beloved she would be protected.
If you happen to walk in the early morning alone for your daily routine, put seven lalang leaves in your pocket and no harm will come to you. The Foochows reckon that the lalang is very Piah Reh (ward off eveil spirits) and so it is very useful that way.
I am not sure if you can believe in this sort of age old aunty stories. But it is very interesting to me and there is no harm putting some leaves in your pocket. But be careful the leaves can cut our skin easily. Very sharp.
Today scientists have attempted to extract medicine out of its roots in particular.
Please read the following with care.
Basic Botanical Data and Identification of Lalang Grass Rhizome:
source : http://www.mdidea.com
Origin of Lalang Grass Rhizome:
The root of Imperata cylindrica var. major (Nees) C. E. Hubb., a perennial herb, of the Gramineae family. The white segmented root of the plant is rich in water and the juice is sweet.
Produced in most areas of China, cogongrass root is harvested in spring and autumn. Wash the root clean, dry in the sun, remove fibrous roots and membranous leaf sheaths and cut into lengths for use when raw or after being parched.
Applications of Lalang Grass Rhizome:
1. To treat bleeding syndromes due to invasion of pathogenic heat into the blood:
This food-herb can clear heat from the lung, stomach and urinary-bladder channels and remove heat from the blood to stop bleeding, so it is used for bleeding syndromes due to invasion of pathogenic heat into the blood, such as hemoptysis (expectoration of blood from some part of the respiratory tract), hematemesis (vomiting blood), epistaxis (nosebleed), hematuria (blood in urine), etc.
It can be used alone or in combination with other blood-cooling hemostats.
2. To treat strangury (slow and painful spasmodic discharge of urine drop by drop) caused by pathogenic heat, edema, etc.:
a) Strangury caused by pathogenic heat:
It is used in combination with fiveleaf akebia stem (Caulis Akebiae), talcum, etc., e.g., Maogen Yin in the book "General Collection for Holy Relief".
b) Edema and dysuria:
It is used together with Asiatic plantain seed (Semen Plantaginis), etc.
This food-herb can also be used for the treatment of excessive thirst due to pathogenic warmth or heat, vomiting due to stomach-heat, coughing due to lung-heat, jaundice due to damp-heat, etc.
Dosage and Administration:
Dosage: 9~30grams for grade type;30~60 grams for fresh type.
15-30 g., decoct for oral administration.
The dose of the fresh food-herb should be doubled; it is better for use and can be blended into juice for drinking. This food-herb is mostly used when raw but can also be used after being parched to arrest bleeding.