COIX LACHRYMA-JOBI Linn.
Coix lachryma Linn.
Coix agrestis Lour.
Coix exaltata Jacq.
Local names: Abukai (Iv.); adlai (Bis.); agagai (Iv.); agda (Ig.); aglai (C. Bis.); alimudias (P. Bis.); apagi (Ig.); atakai (Ilk., Bon.); balantakan (Pamp.); barubaioko (Bik.); bintikai (Bik.); bitogan (Bag.); dalai (Sub.); damau (C. Bis.); glias (Sub.); kalabugau (Buk.); kambot (Ting.); katayan (Ig.); katigbi (C. Bis.); kibaoung (If.); koldasan (Bik.); kudlasan (Tag.); lamudias (P. Bis.); lias (Sub.); paias (P. Bis., Bag.); palias (P. Bis.); pintaka (C. Bis.); tidbi (S. L., Bis.); tigbi (Bik., Tag.); tiguas (Sul.); tikaian (Bon.); job’s tears (Eng.).
The adlai is common throughout the Philippines in the settled areas, at low and medium altitudes, in most or all islands and provinces. It is a native of the old World and is now pantropic in distribution.
The stem is erect, branched, rather coarse, and stout, and 1 to 2 meters high. The leaves are 10 to 40 centimeters long, 2.5 to 4 centimeters wide, with the base broad and cordate. The spikes are 6 to 10 centimeters long, erect and peduncled. The male spikelets are about 8 millimeters long. The capsules (fruits), enclosing the female flowers and the grains, are hard, bony, white or nearly black, shining, ovoid, about 8 millimeters long.
The chief value of adlai lies in the edibility of the fruit. The berries are also strung as beads, used as rosaries, made into curtains, trays, bags etc.
According to Santos and Adriano adlai contains 21.27 percent of moisture, 6.09 percent ash, 9.11 percent protein, 0.45 percent fat, 0.412 percent crude fiber and 77.16 percent carbohydrates. The analysis shows that adlai is a very nutritious grain and that it has a considerably higher content of protein than rice. Hattori and Shigeru studied the alcohol soluble protein, prolamin, of Coix lachryma, and the results indicate that this prolamin contains a relatively high percentage of leucine, and tyrosin, glutamic acid, and the basic amino-acids, arginine, histidine and lysine. They call this protein coisin.
In the Philippines the root in decoction is used to cure gonorrhea. Guerrero considers the starch from the grains as a tonic, which is restorative in convalescence. Burkill states that the chinese regard it as food for dyspeptics. It could be given reasonably to those suffering from dysentery. Ridley says that a decoction of the root is given as a vermifuge to children. He also suggests a possible action of the hard shell as a diuretic. Chopra and Kirtikar and Basu add that the root is used in India for menstrual disorders. Dalziel reports that in Liberia the juice from the stem is squeezed into the eye to relieve irritation due to injury. Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk record that a tincture or decoction of the seed is used in Europe for catarrhal affections of the air passages. Christy adds that spirit made from the seed is prescribed by the Japanese and the Chinese for rheumatic affections. Bocquillon-Limousin state that the decoction and the tincture are emollient in catarrhal affections, in bronchitis and inflammatory conditions of the urinary organs and that they have a diuretic, depurative and cooling effect. Stuart mentions that the seeds are considered by the Chinese to be nutritious, demulcent, cooling, pectoral and anthelmintic and to be especially useful in urinary affections, probably of the bladder. The root of the plant is said to be an excellent anthelmintic. Regnault mentions that the seeds are prescribed against blennorrhagia.