Millet (Su Mi)Millet (Su Mi)

Botanical Name: Pennisetum glaucum

Millet is a hardy, drought resistant grain that is full of nutrition and used medicinally in China and many other parts of the world, including Africa and India. As a meal, it is used to help build strength, prevent malnutrition, and ease nausea and morning sickness. It is a non-gluten whole grain.

Below is an overview of Millet (Su Mi), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Millet (Su Mi).

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Western Name: Millet

Also Known As: N/A

Organs/Systems: Digestion, Nutrition, Heart

Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Nervine, Tonic, Sedating, Antidiabetic, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory. Reduces the risk of type II diabetes, lowers cholesterol, treats asthma, gallstones, nausea, fatigue, calms and soothes, increases appetite, coronary artery disorder, weight loss, reduces risk of colon cancer, prevents celiac disease, slows muscle degradation.


Pin Yin: Su Mi

Also Known As: N/A

Meridians: Kidney, Spleen, Stomach

Key Eastern Actions & Medicinal Uses: Nourishes Yin: millet’s cooling property helps nourish Yin, insomnia, dry skin. Harmonizes the Spleen and Stomach/Tonifies the Spleen/Builds Blood: stimulates the appetite, improves digestion, stops vomiting, nausea, upset stomach or morning sickness, builds muscles, promotes strength, counters the effects of diabetes. Tonifies the Kidneys/Clears Heat/Removes Toxicity: vomiting, diarrhea, enhances immunity. Removes Dampness: promotes urination.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Millet is a grain that is tiny and round in shape. Most store bought varieties are already hulled. It is not a single plant species (as most other grains are), but rather comprises up to about 500 species of grass seeds worldwide, with pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum), the mostly widely cultivated. Millet can be white, grey, red, or yellow colored.

It is thought to be native to North Africa, specifically Ethiopia, and has been a staple crop in China, India, Greece, and Egypt for centuries. Millet requires little water and is highly drought resistant. It grows well in the arid and semi-arid regions of the world. It can also yield up to several crops per year.

Millet (Su Mi)Parts Most Frequently Used: Whole Grain

Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Salty, Cool

Caution: The excess consumption of millet, that can occur in countries where millet is a main source of dietary food, has been shown to lead in some cases to increases in cases of goiter and thyroid disorders. High levels of millet intake can inhibit iodine uptake and its utilization by the thyroid gland, leading in some cases to goiter, depression, or slow thinking. Regular consumption does not have this effect.

History/Folklore: Like oats, millet is a heart-healthy grain due to its high levels of magnesium which also helps to reduce the severity of asthma. The International Study on Allergy and Asthma in Childhood revealed a reduction of childhood asthma by 50% due to whole grains such as millet as well as a reduction in the frequency of migraine headaches.

The phosphorus in millet, besides being a key mineral in the making of bones, and a compound that is part of the ATP process in the body (ATP, Adenosine triphosphate, is the molecule involved in the production of energy used in every metabolic process that takes place in the body). Phosphorus also plays a role in the structure of every cell in the body.

A serving of 100 grams of millet contains 20% or more of protein, dietary fiber, several B vitamins, and numerous dietary minerals.

Millet is also rich in fiber helping to reduce the chance of gallstones as well as possibly help to prevent breast cancer.

The lignans, a phytonutrient found in millet and other whole grains, may help protect against breast and other hormone dependent cancers, as well as heart disease.

In China, it is recommended that the elderly eat a bowl of millet before going to bed in order to get a good night’s sleep. While sleeping they will also be digesting the important nutrients contained in the grain during the night that can than energize them for the next day. A favorite recipe is mixing cooked millet with chopped pumpkin seeds and honey.

Millet has been consumed in Ethiopia since prehistoric times. It is even mentioned in the Bible as an ingredient for unleavened bread. It is a food staple of many African countries. It is also eaten in India and many other Asian countries as well.

Archaeological evidence suggests that in China millet was cultivated as long ago as the Xia Dynasty (21st – 17th century BC). It has been found mainly along the Yellow River basin, northeast China, and in Inner Mongolia. It was also one of the first grains used to brew liquor.

In the Middle Ages before potatoes and corn were available, millet was the staple grain in Europe.

Millet can be creamed or served like rice. Most store bought varieties are already hulled, though traditional couscous made from cracked millet is also available. The majority of the world’s commercial millet is grown in India, China and Nigeria.

Millet is best stored in a cool, dry and dark place where it can be stored for up to several months. Like all grains it is best to rinse thoroughly before cooking to remove dirt and debris. To impart a nuttier flavor, roast the millet before boiling.

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Key Constituents:

31% Copper, 25% Phosphorus, 24% Manganese, 19% Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Fiber, Phenolics (Antioxidants), Lysine, Zinc, Selenium, Estrogen, Lignans, 11% Protein, Vitamin B (Folate, Niacin), B6, Vitamin E, Selenium, Tryptophan, Amino acids.

Did you know?

Happy Birds

Millet is often the main ingredient in bird seed and livestock fodder in Western Europe and North America.


Slow Progression of Atherosclerosis

Millet is helpful to postmenopausal women with CVD (cardiovascular disease) because it slows the progression of atherosclerosis.

Fun fact!


Millet is a gluten-free grain.


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ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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