The medicinally used part is the rootstock, which is dug out in early spring before the leaves begin to sprout. The use of Couch Grass as a medicinal plant goes back to antiquity. Dioscurides and Pliny reported that it had a healing effect on the urinary tract.
A tea made from the dried root has blood-cleansing action, that is it activates the metabolic activities and elimination processes. Couch Grass thus has diuretic action, helps to remove waste products from the body and to clear blemished skin. Tiredness and feelings of being run-down disappear. Because of its cleansing, eliminating properties it is used in bronchial disorders, metabolic complaints, rheumatism, gout, catarrh of the lower urinary tract and catarrh of the upper airways.
Its disinfecting and purifying action led to the traditional custom of burning Couch Grass as incense in order to prevent skin problems and epidemics and keep away disease-bringing demons.