#Health and Hygiene

Did You Know That Foxtail Millet Is The Oldest Millet In The World?

Foxtail Millet
The five positive millets viz Little, Kodo, Foxtail, Barnyard and Brown Top, with their single digit carbohydrate-to-fibre ratio, are now proven grains that can eradicate modern-day diseases from their roots. These are the native grains of many countries across the globe that can be a real alternative staple food that can mitigate many earth problems. Water, desertification, global warming, and carbon footprints are some of the grave problems that can be solved in using these five positive grains by future generations.

Dr. Khadar Vali has done monumental work and research in the field of millets. He is the promoter of “Siridhanya’- the 5 positive millets and has motivated thousands of farmers to grow millets. His plans of millet therapy has helped thousands of patients of chronic diseases, who had found no respite from other modes of therapy.  

Foxtail millet is the 3rd millet in this 5 part series.

Its characteristics are as follows:-

(i) It is yellow. 

(ii) Its protein content is 12.3 gms %, the highest in its class.

(iii) Its fibre content is 8.0.

(iv) Its iron content is 6.3 mg% (highest in its class)

(v) Its Carbohydrate-fibre ratio is 7.57.

(vi) It has the highest quantity of Carotene (Vit A), 32ug.

Due to the above characteristics, Foxtail millet is known as the most balanced millet in all 5 positive millets. It is the oldest millet in the world, which was consumed in Europe’s Alps mountain. It is also called Italian millet.

It is known as “korralu” in Telugu, “navane” in Kannada, korul in Tamil and “kangani” in Hindi.


Suggested Reading:

Health Benefits Of Incorporating Kodo Millet In Your Diet Everyday


It is known as Foxtail because the pinnacle, when formed on the plant resembles the bushy tail of a fox. 

It has been quoted in our mythological contexts. The third avtara “Varahswamy” of Dashavtar fought continuously with a demon for 18 days. His lungs were totally tired and he was out of breath and wanted oxygen. His followers asked what Naivedyam (medicine) can be given to him. Then he himself asked for Priyangu Paisa ( nothing but Foxtail) and then he fought further and defeated the demon. Thus it is an ancient millet used in lung conditions and many others.

Medical Uses of Foxtail Millet:-

(i) It is helpful in many lung conditions, like lung cancer, TB, pneumonia, bronchial asthma, etc. 

(ii) Vitamins like Thiamine, Niacin are plentiful in this millet which it helps in cleansing and the health of the nerve sheath. It can be given in many nerve conditions like nerve degeneration, parkinsonism, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s and any nerve pain conditions. 

(iii) It is helpful in many joint conditions like Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, etc.

(iv) It acts like medicine for constipation in pregnancy, seizures in high fever in children, pain in the abdomen, burning sensations during urination, anaemia, and loss of appetite. Foxtail gruel is also given in fever as a medicine. 

In the case of a pregnant woman Foxtail Millet aids foetal growth and brain and spinal cord development. Also, protein content helps babies to grow healthy. 

 In this way, it plays a role in every phase of life, pregnancy, childhood, adulthood, and old age.

It can grow with very less water viz 200-300 liters so even in drought conditions and dry weather, it can be grown. It’s pinnacle is formed in 70 days and the crop is fully grown in 90 days. Thus one can have 2-3 crops in a year very easily if you have only sprinkle water. 

It needs to be soaked in water for 6-8 hours because of its high carbohydrate-to-fibre ratio. A very tasty fermented porridge is prepared which provides a lot of microbes. A large variety of food can be prepared from it including roti, paratha, idli dosa, bread, cake, pizza etc.

These five positive millets should be taken as staple grain by the whole of mankind. These millets help us overcome glucose imbalance. The fermented porridge prepared with these being the chief source of prebiotics and probiotics corrects the microbial imbalance. A sincere adherence in this path will correct all the imbalances prevailing everywhere including the human body and bring about universal balance. It can be asked why only human beings are supposed to follow this path? The answer is simple, it is only human beings who drifted away from the natural path and so they alone are responsible for the current deplorable state. Therefore, they are responsible for cleaning up the mess and initiating the rejuvenation process. 

So these millets are aptly called “wealth of health” for those who consume them and provide a decent livelihood to the farmer who grows them. Dr Khadar Vali,” The millet man of India”, aptly calls these the food of the entire human race.

Rekha Raheja is a food choreographer and culinary medicine consultant. She provides food and lifestyle-related advice based on Ayurveda and Siridhanya principles. For the last four years, she has been practising millet therapy and has refined and curated a lot of dishes from millets to make them more popular. She has been felicitated by FDA for her valuable contribution to the Eat Right India movement, organised by FSSAI. The Views expressed are the author’s own.