Taxonomic Data:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Poales
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Genus: Coix
  • Species: C. lacryma-jobi

Description: Job’s Tears, scientifically known as Coix lacryma-jobi, is a tall grain-bearing tropical plant native to Southeast Asia. The plant gets its unique name from the tear-shaped beads that form within its fruit, which have been used for centuries in jewelry, crafts, and traditional medicine.

Medicinal Uses and Recent Research: Job’s Tears is not just a pretty plant; it’s packed with health benefits. Traditionally, it’s been used to treat various ailments, from digestive issues to arthritis. Recent scientific studies have delved deeper into its potential:

Traditional Medicinal Uses of Job’s Tears:

  1. Digestive Health: In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Job’s Tears seeds are often prescribed to strengthen the spleen and promote diuresis, which can help alleviate symptoms of edema and reduce water retention. They are also believed to help with digestive issues, such as diarrhea and dysentery.
  2. Anti-inflammatory Properties: The seeds have been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis due to their anti-inflammatory properties. They are believed to help reduce swelling and pain.
  3. Skin Conditions: Job’s Tears have been used in the form of poultices or decoctions to treat various skin conditions, including warts, eczema, and acne. The plant is believed to have cooling properties that can soothe irritated skin.
  4. Respiratory Health: In some cultures, Job’s Tears are used to treat respiratory conditions, including bronchitis and asthma. The seeds are believed to help clear mucus and phlegm from the respiratory tract.
  5. Anti-cancer Properties: While more research is needed, some traditional medicine practitioners believe that Job’s Tears can help inhibit the growth of cancer cells, particularly in cases of abdominal tumors.
  6. Tonic for Women’s Health: The seeds have been used as a tonic to address menstrual irregularities and alleviate symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). They are also believed to help in postpartum recovery.
  7. Beads as Pain Relievers: Interestingly, the hard outer shells of the seeds, often used as beads in jewelry, have been heated and applied to areas of pain or inflammation as a form of heat therapy.

Job’s Tears Skin Soothing Decoction

Purpose: This decoction is believed to have cooling properties that can soothe irritated skin and treat conditions like eczema and acne.


  • 1 cup Job’s Tears
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup fresh aloe vera gel
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)


  1. In a pot, combine the Job’s Tears and water.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about an hour until the liquid is reduced by half.
  3. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  4. Once cooled, add the fresh aloe vera gel to the decoction and mix well. If desired, add honey for added soothing properties and a touch of sweetness.
  5. Store the mixture in a clean bottle or container.
  6. To use, apply the decoction directly to the affected skin areas using a clean cotton ball. Let it sit for about 20 minutes, then rinse off with cool water. Use this treatment daily for best results.

It’s essential to note that while Job’s Tears have been used traditionally for various ailments, scientific research is still ongoing to validate many of these claims. As always, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before using Job’s Tears or any other herbal remedies for therapeutic purposes.


Culinary Uses: Job’s Tears seeds are edible and have a soft, chewy texture when cooked. They can be used in soups, salads, and even brewed as a tea. In many Asian cultures, they’re a staple in traditional dishes.

1. Job’s Tears and Vegetable Soup


  • 1 cup Job’s Tears, soaked overnight
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent.
  2. Add the carrots and zucchini to the pot and stir for a few minutes.
  3. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the soaked Job’s Tears and bay leaf to the pot. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 40 minutes or until the Job’s Tears are tender.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley or cilantro.

2. Job’s Tears Salad with Lemon-Herb Dressing


  • 1 cup Job’s Tears, cooked and cooled
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional for a vegan version)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

For the Dressing:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, combine the cooked Job’s Tears, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red bell pepper, feta cheese (if using), basil, and mint.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to combine.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Growing Conditions: Job’s Tears prefers a tropical climate with well-draining soil. It thrives in full sunlight but can tolerate partial shade. The plant is relatively hardy and can resist most pests and diseases.

Harvesting Job’s Tears Seeds:

  1. Timing: The best time to harvest Job’s Tears seeds is when the husks have turned from green to a straw or brown color, indicating maturity. This typically occurs in late summer to early fall.
  2. Choose the Right Seed Pods: Look for seed pods that are fully matured. They should be dry and have a hard texture. The seeds inside should be hard and shiny. Avoid pods that are still green or soft, as the seeds inside might not be fully developed.
  3. Harvesting: Using garden scissors or shears, snip off the mature seed pods from the plant. Collect them in a basket or container.
  4. Drying: Spread the harvested seed pods in a single layer on a flat surface, preferably in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Allow them to dry for several days. This step ensures that any remaining moisture evaporates, which is crucial for seed storage.
  5. Extracting the Seeds: Once the seed pods are completely dry, you can begin extracting the seeds. Break open the pods to reveal the hard, bead-like seeds inside.
  6. Cleaning: Remove any chaff or debris from the seeds. You can do this by gently blowing on the seeds or using a fine-mesh sieve.
  7. Storage: Store the cleaned seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Properly stored Job’s Tears seeds can remain viable for several years.


  1. Shen G, Girdthai T, Liu ZY, et al. Principal component and morphological diversity analysis of Job’s-tears (Coix lacryma-jobi L.). Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research. 2020;79(1):131-141. Link
  2. Theuns, H. G., Theuns, H. L., & Lousberg, R. J. J. C. (1986). Search for new natural sources of morphinans. Research Scientist, Organic Chemical Laboratory, State University of Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  3. Changjian W. Effect of By-product of Job’s Tears on Growth Performance in Rabbit and Pig. Taishun Prefectural Bureau of Agriculture. 2013.

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