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COIX SEED: Food and Medicine (by Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon)

Coix seed is the common name for the Chinese medicinal material Coix lacryma-jobi seed.  The entire coix plant and its seed pod are commonly called Job’s Tears, which is the English equivalent of the Latin species name (lacryma = tears): the seed pod often has a tear drop appearance.  Linnaeus gave the botanical name in 1753, relying upon an existing popular reference for the tear shaped pods to the Book of Job (e.g., Job said: “before God my eyes drop tears”); it has also been called St. Mary’s tears.   World-wide, this plant is best known for those pods (pericarps), which have a hole naturally occurring at each end, making them a useful source of beads for stringing.  One popular application is making rosaries,...

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