Kodo millet is also known as Kodo Chawal and is still the staple diet in various parts of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Also known as Himalayan millet, indicating that it was widely cultivated in these regions. In southern regions, it is known as Araka ( meaning Sun in Sanskrit). Kodo millet is the second millet in the five parts series of this feature.
When the snow melts in Himalayan regions in the early summers due to sunshine and sun rays reaching the earth, the germination of Kodo millet starts and spreads like grass.
Its characteristics are as follows:
- it is pinkish red in colour
- its protein content is 6.2 gm
- the fibre content is 9.0 gm
- carbohydrate and fibre ratio is 7.28
- its iron content is 2.9 percent and others is 2.6 percent
It takes about 200-300 liters for a Kodo harvest and four months to grow. One can get two cycles of Kodo harvest in a year. It is also used as fencing, as it has a peculiar aroma because of which the wild animals do not spoil the yield.
As it is red in colour, people may think that it is muddy and try to wash it several times, but that practice robs it of many useful minerals. So, gently wash it once, soak for six to eight hours and cook it in the same water.
Suggested Reading: Why Millets Should Be A Part Of Our Daily Diet
1. Due to its right fibre content (nine percent) and right carbohydrate and fibre ratio, there is slow and steady release of glucose in the blood in a regulated manner. Because of this it is the ideal grain for controlling diabetes.
2. Kodo millet is endowed with the amazing ability to cleanse the bone marrow (blood production centre). It also helps with any health issue related to the three cellular components of blood:
a)Red Blood Cells, causing anaemia (low haemoglobin)
b) White Blood Cells, which is responsible for immunity in our body. If our immunity is low, we fall sick quite frequently. Kodo millet boosts our immunity and thus helps in keeping us healthy. It also works in all types of allergies whether dust, pollution and skin rashes. Auto immune conditions like Rheumatoid arthritis , SLE etc where our body does not differentiate whether our own cells are being damaged, then Kodo millet helps in regulating the immune system and keep away all these diseases.
c) Next component is Platelets. When platelet count becomes low like in Dengue and Purpura, then Kodo millet restores the platelet number to normal level.
3. It also has a role to play in blood cancers.
4. It is also helpful in various kidney problems where there is increased accumulation of metabolic wastes like creatinine and urea.
5. It helps in thinning the blood naturally which is good for hypertension, high cholesterol, heart blocks and other heart conditions.
6. It is interesting to note that Kodo husk concoction ( tea made out of Kodo husk) has the same beneficial effects as Kodo by itself. Dr Khadar Wali emphasizes that the best form in which these positive millets should be partaken in order to get maximum benefit is fermented porridge- THE ELIXIR.
7. Fermented porridge is a repertoire of prebiotics and probiotics. By consuming fermented porridge made with millet at regular intervals, we will be able to fortify our gut with diverse microbiota, which in turn boost our immunity, eliminate nutritional deficiencies and create healthy environment in our body.
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 practicing 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. Views expressed are the author’s own.
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