Rice Heritage

Medicinal Uses of Rice

Although not scientifically proven effective, rice is believed by some to have medicinal properties.

In the Philippines, rice polishings—the bran (tiki-tiki)—is extracted and used as an excellent source of Vitamin B to prevent and cure beri-beri.

In Malaysia, The Medicinal Book of Malayan Medicine prescribes boiling the rice "greens" as an eye lotion and for use with acute inflammation of the inner body tissues. The book also recommends applying a mixture of dried, powdered rice on certain skin ailments.

In Cambodia, the hulls (husk) of mature rice plants are considered useful for treating dysentery. The hulls of a three-month old rice plant are thought to be diuretic.

In China, dried sprouted rice grains were once imported from Malaysia and used as an external medicine to aid in digestion, give tone to muscles, and expel gas from the stomach and intestines.

The Chinese believe rice strengthens the spleen, as well as "weak stomach," increases appetite, and cures indigestion.

In India, rice water (a decoction of rice) is prescribed by the Pharmacopoeia of India as an ointment to counteract inflamed surface.

Source: Hermes G. Gutierrez, An Illustrated Manual of Philippine Materia Medica, Vol. 1, pp. 162-164.