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Hard Rush

Image of Hard Rush
HermannSchachner, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hard Rush (Juncus inflexus)

Juncus inflexus, is a perennial plant native to Central Europe that can be found in wet soils, such as salt marches, ditches, and wet meadows (Adamus et al., 2001; El-Shamy et al., 2015; Tóth et al., 2016) . Several plants from the Juncus species are used in traditional medicine as sedatives and to treat different health disorders, such as insomnia (El-Shamy et al., 2015). J. inflexus is known to have antibacterial properties, and one study shows the potential of the plant to be used for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (Tóth et al., 2016). One study indicates that J. inflexus may inhibit enzymes connected to the onset of neurological disorders, such as dementia (Rodrigues et al., 2017) and that J. inflexus may be useful in delaying the progression of some cancers (Tóth et al., 2016).

Historical Use

The rare herbal, Kreuterbuch, Kuntstliche Conterfeytunge Der Baume, Stauden, Hecken, Kreuter, Getreyde, Gewurte, authored by Adam Lonicer and published in 1587 contains a description of Juncus and its uses:
“Binken/Schmelen/or Binkenhelmer/ in Greek Schoino.In Latin Iuncus or Scirpus. Dioscorides tells that there are three kinds / namely the big pond rush / the needle rush / and the black rush. It is the smooth rush seen most frequently. It has a smooth stalk / without any outgrowths or knots / such that men use them to fasten or bind / and indeed will weave baskets and other such works from it.
Power and Effect
The pulp of the Binkenhelmen / or stem is used in a pot or container.
The mixture is boiled in wine/ and is drunk for stomach ache and diarrhea.
This herb boiled in wine and drunk is good for not-so-bad poison and jaundice. It is also employed for cattle and hounds.”

Excerpt from Kreuterbuch, Kuntstliche Conterfeytunge Der Baume, Stauden, Hecken, Kreuter, Getreyde, Gewurte, authored by Adam Lonicer and published in 1587. This book is available in the John R. Martin Rare Book Room in Hardin Library

This excerpt, from A nievve herbal, produced in 1578 by Rembert Dodoens, describes the virtues of the Juncus species and warns, “to be taken in [too] great a [quantity], it [causes headache].”  

Latest Research

  • Fungal Planet description sheets: 1284-1382
    by P W Crous on September 11, 2023 at 10:00 am

    Novel species of fungi described in this study include those from various countries as follows: Antartica, Cladosporium austrolitorale from coastal sea sand. Australia, Austroboletus yourkae on soil, Crepidotus innuopurpureus on dead wood, Curvularia stenotaphri from roots and leaves of Stenotaphrum secundatum and Thecaphora stajsicii from capsules of Oxalis radicosa. Belgium, Paraxerochrysium coryli (incl. Paraxerochrysium gen. nov.) from Corylus avellana. Brazil, Calvatia nordestina on soil,…

  • New and Interesting Fungi. 5
    by P W Crous on February 15, 2023 at 11:00 am

    Nine new genera, 17 new species, nine new combinations, seven epitypes, three lectotypes, one neotype, and 14 interesting new host and / or geographical records are introduced in this study. New genera: Neobarrmaelia (based on Neobarrmaelia hyphaenes), Neobryochiton (based on Neobryochiton narthecii), Neocamarographium (based on Neocamarographium carpini), Nothocladosporium (based on Nothocladosporium syzygii), Nothopseudocercospora (based on Nothopseudocercospora dictamni), Paracamarographium…

  • Chromosome-scale genome assemblies and annotations for Poales species Carex cristatella, Carex scoparia, Juncus effusus, and Juncus inflexus
    by Jose Planta on August 17, 2022 at 10:00 am

    The majority of sequenced genomes in the monocots are from species belonging to Poaceae, which include many commercially important crops. Here, we expand the number of sequenced genomes from the monocots to include the genomes of 4 related cyperids: Carex cristatella and Carex scoparia from Cyperaceae and Juncus effusus and Juncus inflexus from Juncaceae. The high-quality, chromosome-scale genome sequences from these 4 cyperids were assembled by combining whole-genome shotgun sequencing of…

  • Investigation of natural phenanthrenes and the antiproliferative potential of juncusol in cervical cancer cell lines
    by Ching-Ying Kuo on April 22, 2019 at 10:00 am

    CONCLUSION: These results suggest that juncusol is a potent antiproliferative agent against HPV-18 related cervical cancer and may be considered as a lead compound for the development of innovative anticancer agents.

  • Characterization of the Response of Ornamental Graminoids to Attempted Infection by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum
    by Michelle A Grabowski on January 4, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Sclerotinia sclerotiorum causes Sclerotinia stem rot (SSR) (also called white mold), resulting in stem rot and death of many common herbaceous ornamental plant species. Resistant plants would be useful to manage SSR; however, the host range of S. sclerotiorum is unclear. The goal of this study was to determine how the ornamental graminoids Pennisetum glaucum, Setaria italica, Juncus inflexus, Carex flagellifera, Isolepis cernua, and Acorus gramineus respond to inoculation with S. sclerotiorum….


Adamus, P., Danielson, T., & Gonyaw, A. (2001). Indicators for Monitoring Biological Integrity of Inland, Freshwater Wetlands: A survey of North American Technical Literature (1990-2000). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds. 

El-Shamy, A. I., Abdel-Razek, A. F., & Nassar, M. I. (2015). Phytochemical review of Juncus L. genus (Fam. Juncaceae). Arabian Journal of Chemistry, 8(5), 614–623. 

Rodrigues, M. J., Gangadhar, K. N., Zengin, G., Mollica, A., Varela, J., Barreira, L., & Custódio, L. (2017). Juncaceae species as sources of innovative bioactive compounds for the food industry: In vitro antioxidant activity, neuroprotective properties and in silico studies. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 107, 590–596. 

Tóth, B., Liktor-Busa, E., Kúsz, N., Szappanos, Á., Mándi, A., Kurtán, T., Urbán, E., Hohmann, J., Chang, F.-R., & Vasas, A. (2016). Phenanthrenes from Juncus inflexus with Antimicrobial Activity against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Journal of Natural Products, 79(11), 2814–2823.