The name 'quack' is a variation of the German 'quecke', which means 'to live', referring to the persistent nature of this weed.
Native Americans used the rhizomes of quackgrass as a diuretic. Rhizomes are high in minerals and vitamin B1, and can be dried and ground for flour.
In Tanzania, quackgrass has been used to prevent arrow poisoning by placing moistened plant material on the wound.
A methanol extract made from quackgrass has been used to control mosquito larvae.