Pharmacy Maximenu


                Medicinal  Grains 
 

CEREALS/

MILLETS

BOTANICAL NAME-FAMILY

Tamil

Malayalam

Hindi

Telugu

Sanskrit

Marathi

fiber

Bajara

Pearl millet

Pennisetum-typhoidcum - Graminae

Pennisetum americanum

cumbu

cumbu

Bajra

sajja

Varjari

Bajiri

 

 Millet is thought to be one of the first grains cultivated by man. The first recorded comments regarding millet date back to 5,500 BC in China. Millet could have been domesticated hundreds or even thousands of years before this in Africa where it still grows wild throughout the continent.

The millet seed is a small, round, ivory colored seed about 20 mm in diameter. There are 6,000 varieties of millet grown around the world. The variety sold in North America for human consumption is called "Pearl Millet". It has a rather alkaline pH which makes it a really easy grain to digest. Used mainly as bird feed, millet has a rather bland flavor.

The Hunzas, who live in a remote area of the Himalayan foothills and are known for their excellent health and longevity also enjoy millet as a staple in their diet.

Millet is used in various cultures in many diverse ways: The Hunza’s use millet as a cereal, in soups, and for making a dense, whole grain bread called chapatti.

In India flat thin cakes called roti are often made from millet flour and used as the basis for meals.

In Eastern Europe, millet is used in porridge and kasha, or is fermented into a beverage and in Africa it is used to make bread, as baby food, and as uji, a thin gruel used as breakfast porridge. It is also used as a stuffing ingredient for cabbage rolls in some countries.

Millet is tasty, with a mildly sweet, nut-like flavor and contains a myriad of beneficial nutrients. It is nearly 15% protein, contains high amounts of fiber, B-complex vitamins including niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin, the essential amino acid methionine, lecithin, and some vitamin E. It is particularly high in the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. Millet contains more calories than wheat, probably because of it’s higher oil content of 4.2% which is 50% polyunsaturated.

Millet is highly nutritious, non-glutinous and like buckwheat and quinoa, is not an acid forming food so is soothing and easy to digest. In fact, it is considered to be one of the least allergenic and most digestible grains available and it is a warming grain so will help to heat the body in cold or rainy seasons and climates. Millet is a gluten free grain and is the only grain that retains it’s alkaline properties after being cooked which is ideal for people with wheat allergies. With a texture much like brown rice, millet can be used in pilafs, casseroles or most oriental dishes that call for rice, quinoa or buckwheat.

Millet is tasty, with a mildly sweet, nut-like flavor and contains a myriad of beneficial nutrients. It is nearly 15% protein, contains high amounts of fiber, B-complex vitamins including niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin, the essential amino acid methionine, lecithin, and some vitamin E. It is particularly high in the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium.

The seeds are also rich in phytochemicals, including Phytic acid, which is believed to lower cholesterol, and Phytate, which is associated with reduced cancer risk.

Millet has an interesting characteristic in that the hulls and seeds contain small amounts of goiterogenic substances that limit uptake of iodine to the thyroid. In large amounts these "thyroid function inhibitors" can cause goiter and some researchers feel this may explain, at least in part, the perplexing correlation between millet consumption and goiter incidence in some of the developing countries where millet constitutes a significant part of the diet. In many of these countries another contributing factor may be a lack of sufficient dietary iodine.

Obviously these substances are diminished during the hulling process but there is definitely controversy concerning the idea that the process of cooking largely destroys those that are left in the seed itself. Some researchers including Dr. Jeffrey Bland believe that cooking greatly diminishes these substances; others claim that it doesn’t and that in fact if millet is cooked and stored in the refrigerator for a week, a practice common in many cultures, these substances will actually increase as much as six fold.

Millet is not alone in possessing this characteristic. Commonly eaten foods that also contain these goiterogenic substances include brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, spinach, turnips, rutabagas, cassava, soy beans, peanuts, peaches, and pears.

All of these foods are nutritionally valuable as is millet and this is generally not cause for alarm. A healthy, whole foods based diet containing an abundant variety of foods will ensure that an excess of these goiterogenic compounds is not consumed. It is important to note that Jeanne Wallace, PhD, CNC, states that for those with hypothyroidism a significant guideline would be to consume three servings a day or less of the foods containing goiterogenic compounds.

There are many cooking variations to be found for millet. A good general guideline is to use 3 parts water or stock and 1 part grain, add grain to boiling water, and simmer covered for approximately 30 minutes or until water is completely absorbed. Remove from heat and let steam, covered for ten minutes more.

The grain has a fluffier texture when less water is used and is very moist and dense when cooked with extra water.

The flavor of millet is enhanced by lightly roasting the grains in a dry pan before cooking; stir constantly for approximately three minutes or until a mild, nutty aroma is detected.

If millet is presoaked the cooking time is shortened by 5 to 10 minutes.

An intriguing suggestion for cooking millet is found in the book Hunza Health Secrets: Soak the grain overnight, heat water or other liquid in top of a double boiler, add millet and steam over boiling water for thirty minutes or until the millet is tender.

Individual preferences can be addressed by experimenting with cooking times, methods, and liquid amounts.

Millet is delicious as a cooked cereal and in casseroles, breads, soups, stews, soufflés, pilaf, and stuffing. It can be used as a side dish or served under sautéed vegetables or with beans and can be popped like corn for use as a snack or breakfast cereal. The grain mixes well with any seasoning or herbs that are commonly used in rice dishes and for interesting taste and texture variations it may be combined with quinoa and brown or basmati rice.

Millet may also be sprouted for use in salads and sandwiches.

Millet flour produces light, dry, delicate baked goods and a crust that is thin and buttery smooth. For yeast breads up to 30% millet flour may utilized, but it must be combined with glutinous flours to enable the bread to rise. For a delightful "crunch" in baked goods, the millet seeds may be added whole and raw before baking.

Properly stored, whole millet can be kept safely for up to two years. The grain should be stored in tightly closed containers, preferably glass, in a cool dry place with a temperature of less than 70° or in the refrigerator. The flour deteriorates and becomes rancid very rapidly after it is ground, so it is best to grind the flour right before it is to be used.

As we have seen, millet is a highly nutritious, healthful and versatile grain that would be a worthy addition to anyone’s diet.

This information is from the article Whole Grains: Millet- by Karen Railey  Click to read.

Fermented Cumbu:  Cook this millet and soak in plain water (or butter-milk) over-night preferably in a clay vessel, then mixed nicely next day morning mix with a dash of buttermilk , shallots (pearl onions)  and salt. Eat (rather drink) this highly nutritious vitamin B rich fermented food that will quench the acidity of the body  and good to cure stomach or peptic ulcer or ulcer of deodenum or in acid reflux problems.  This is a simple home remedy for ulcer. The micro-organisms produced during the fermentation balances the pH of the stomach. It also replenishes  healthy bacteria in the gut caused by the abuse of anti-biotics.

Black Bean and Millet Salad
1 cup millet, uncooked
3 cups water
2 cups black beans, cooked
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, (or substitute green onions), chopped
1 medium cucumber

Dressing
1/3 cup water
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin

Cook the millet in 3 cups of water until water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Fluff with fork and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine millet, black beans, tomatoes, and onion.

Peel several strips from the cucumber (it should look striped) and cut it lengthwise into four pieces. Remove the seeds and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Add the cucumber to the salad.

Mix all dressing ingredients until well blended and pour over the salad, tossing to blend. (Experiment with the seasonings to suit taste.) Cover and refrigerate until the salad is well chilled. Serve on lettuce leaves or stuff into pita bread.

Recipe adapted from Internet Chef


Millet Muffins
1-1/2 cups Millet flour
1/2 cup soy flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder (non-aluminum)
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon orange flavoring
1 cup water or orange juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cups brown rice syrup or honey (or substitute Stevia)

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix all liquid ingredients together, then add to dry ingredients. Put mixture in well-oiled muffin tins. Makes 12 muffins.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until done.