Nut grass (E), Motha (H):
This small aromatic tuber is commonly found next to rivers. It loves damp conditions and is very good at treating them. When considering using mustaka think of its aromatic, drying, antispasmodic qualities for gynaecology and digestion.
Digestion It regulates disturbed digestion, diarrhoea, colic, flatulence, borborygmus and bloating. Its antispasmodic effects treat pain in the intestines. It also has a specific use for Candida albicans and parasites when used at a high dose. When used at a low dose mustaka balances vata, especially s´amana and apana vayu, and stimulates digestion without aggravating pitta or creating any heat problems. Gynaecology One of the best herbs for the menstrual cycle as it regulates pitta and the flow of vata in the apanaksetra (the abode of apana vayu in the lower abdomen). This helps apana vayu to descend. Interestingly, this gynaecological activity is scientifically confirmed as mustaka also contains a phyto-oestrogen substance (?-sitosterol) (Williamson 2002; also see Mills & Bone  for a very clear discussion of phyto-oestrogen activity), and so is relevant in all signs of high oestrogen; swollen breasts, pain, family history of breast cancer, short cycle. It has an affinity for the smooth muscle in the uterus and is a specific for PMS with bloating, pain, irritability, depression and a delayed onset. Its effect on rasa dhatu is also considered to be beneficial for purifying and nourishing breast milk. Liver As one of the main digestive stimulants for pitta it also has a special affinity for the liver and ran˜ jaka pitta. Its stimulating effect on the liver may help with the release of bile, metabolism of hormones, haemoglobin and fats. Its cooling effect on rakta dhatu can be of use in inflammatory skin problems such as eczema and pruritus. Fever It directly treats all the causes of fever; low agni, ama and excess pitta in the rasa dhatu. Its diaphoretic effect can be very useful for clearing ama and excess heat from the plasma and blood while also rectifying the digestive fire.