Job’s Tears

Job’s Tears is the grain of the grass-like plant, Coix lacryma-jobi also known as adlay, adlay millet, coix seed, tear grass. The wild variety of the species, Coix lacryma-jobi var. lacryma-jobi, produces the hard shelled grain used for making beads for jewelry and prayer beads while the cultivated variety, Coix lacryma-jobi var. ma-yuen, produces a smaller, softer grain and is grown as a grain crop, sold commercially as Chinese pearl barley. This plant is not, however, closely related to barley. There are additional local varieties found throughout Asia.


History and Folklore

Archaeologists have also found Job’s Tears in Indian sites from 1000 BC. Neolithic pottery found in China suggests that Job’s Tears was used for brewing beer as early as 3000 BC[1]

The hard white kernels of Job’s Tears have been used for jewelry and other objects. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have historically used them for decoration and Job’s tears are occasionally called “Indian Corn Beads”. 

The common name Job’s tears references the tears shed by Job, a Biblical figure who was tortured by the Devil on a bet with God to see if he’d stay loyal. 

Growing Job’s Tears

Some modern horticultural nurseries sell Job’s tears as an ornamental grass. It can also be grown quite easily from seed. Job’s tears is an attractive plant that can reach 4 to 6 feet tall and will perennialize in areas where there is no frost (it is considered hardy at zone 9). It may be grown as an annual in other areas. If you have four to five months of good growing weather, the ripe seeds may be gathered in autumn to replant in the spring. Broadcast the seeds in moist soil and keep it moist until the young plants are established. The plant prefers dryer conditions when the seed heads are maturing. 

Using Job’s Tears for Magick

Job’s tears are used for luck and health. Wear a string of Job’s tear beads around your neck to ward off sore throats and tooth pain. Carry three Job’s tears on your person, or add them to a mojo bag, for general luck. To gain your heart’s desire, carry 7 Job’s tears on your person for 7 days. Tell them every day what you are working toward. On the 7th day, take them to a river or other running water and toss them in one at a time while reciting Psalm 23. Then walk away and don’t look back.

Job’s tears correspond to the Earth element and the planet Venus.

Healing with Job’s Tears

The root and grain of Job’s tears is used in Eastern medical traditions for a variety of conditions. Research supports its use to help reduce high cholesterol levels. Human studies suggest that the fiber in the grain may inhibit the absorption of excess cholesterol. Some research using animal subjects and cells suggests that Job’s tears might inhibit the growth of cancer and might be useful against bacterial and parasitic infections (sp Toxoplasmosis). No human studies have been done in this area as of yet, however. There is some evidence to suggest that Job’s tears grains may reduce blood sugar and so it should be approached with caution for those for whom this may be an issue.

Job’s tears should not be used medicinally by pregnant women. Research in animals suggests that its use can damage an embryo and it can cause uterine contractions. 

In traditional medicine, Job’s tears is used for arthritis and to remove heat. 

Culinary Uses for Job’s Tears

Job’s tears kernals are cooked as a grain, like rice or porridge. They may also be powdered and added to tea as is traditional in Korea or the whole grains may be simmered as it is done in China. Job’s tears grains are also cooked into a sweet dessert soup in China and Vietnam. The grains are also used to make distilled liquors and brewed into beer throughout Asia. 

A gluten-free grain,  job’s tears can be ground into flour or used in grain-based side dishes. Experimentation is encouraged. 

Crafting Uses for Job’s Tears

The immature seeds of Job’s tears turn white when fully dry and can be used as beads for any crafty thing you’d like to use beads for. They are beautiful for jewelry as well as prayer beads. 

Learn More Online

Job’s Tears On the Wikipedia

Job’s Tears on WebMD

Job’s Tears Cultivation at Gardening Knowhow

Job’s Tears seeds are available at Baker’s Creek

You can purchase Job’s Tears and learn more about their magical use at

Explore this Topic: Ask a Question, Share Your Wisdom

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, Witchipedia by Dawn Black is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
%d bloggers like this: