Sorghum Facts and Health Benefits

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Sorghum Quick Facts
Name: Sorghum
Scientific Name: Sorghum bicolor
Origin Northern Africa and now widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions.
Colors Pale yellow or reddish brown-dark brown
Shapes Tight-headed, round panicle, Diameter: 3-4 mm
Taste Sweet
Calories 632 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Manganese (134.00%)
Carbohydrate (106.47%)
Iron (80.63%)
Phosphorus (79.29%)
Leucine (77.46%)
Health benefits Prevents cancer, Control diabetes, Prevents anemia, Level of energy, Improves mood
Sorghum commonly known as broom corn, great millet, durra, jowari and milo is a large grain plant native to Northern Africa which is widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions these days. It is the member of the grass family Poaceae or Gramineae. It is the fifth most important cereal crop after wheat, corn, rice and barley. It is also known from various vernacular names such as French: Dari, Sorgho Penché; Italian: Dura, Sorugami; Malaysia: Jagung Gerebang, Jagung; Russian: Belaia Durra, Sorgo Venichnoe and Spanish: Daza, Zahina.


Sorghum is an erect, robust, herbaceous annual plant which is often 3-4 m in height. The Sorghum plant prefers tropical and subtropical climate. It can be grown successfully in variety of soils ranging from sandy, loamy and clay. A leaf which is broad and coarse is generally 5 cm in breadth and 0.75 m in length. The flower is hermaphrodite which flowers from August to October. The stem is rigid with grass blades flat, glabrous and waxy. The plant has fibrous root system. Branches are alternate, slender, drooping and inflorescence. It is an annual crop which has the lifespan of one year.


The grains are 3 to 4 mm in diameter, tight-headed with round and droopy panicle. The seeds are round or oval in shape. Sorghum is sweet in taste and has a bland flavor. It is harvested from September to October.

Health Benefits of Sorghum

Sorghum is an excellent source of riboflavin, Vitamin B6, thiamin and minerals such as iron, potassium, manganese and magnesium. The report shows that 192 gm is loaded with 632 Kcal which offers a calorie rich diet with other minerals and vitamins. It possess huge amount of carbohydrates, with 40.78% protein, 18.97% fat, 2.50% calcium and iron, vitamin B1, and nicotinic acid in small amounts.

  1. Assists in digestion

The dietary fiber assists in the proper functioning of the digestive system. However, Sorghum is rich in dietary fiber. A single serving of Sorghum provides the dietary fiber by 48% of the daily recommended value. This assist in preventing the health conditions such as bloating, cramping, stomach aches, constipation, diarrhea and excess gas. The high amount of fiber helps to eliminate LDL cholesterol level which upgrades the heart health and also prevents heart attacks, atherosclerosis and strokes. (1)

  1. Prevents cancer

Various important antioxidants are possessed in the bran layer of the Sorghum. These antioxidants reduce the risk of cancer such as esophageal cancer. Antioxidants eliminate the free radicals from the body which leads the healthy cells to mutate into cancer cells. (2)

  1. Controls diabetes

The breakdown of excessive carbohydrates into simple sugars is the cause for diabetes. Sorghum possess high amount of tannin which prohibits the starch absorption by the body that regulates the glucose and insulin level in the body. Sorghum helps to balance these levels which eliminates the plunges and spikes in the glucose levels and also prevents the health complications and diabetics shock. (3)

  1. Helps celiac disease

Celiac disease is an allergy to gluten found in wheat-based products. Normally wheat or gluten in found in various food items, it makes the situation worse. But Sorghum helps to relieve the nausea, painful inflammation and gastrointestinal damage caused by the gluten. (4)

  1. Maintain bone health

Sorghum possess high amount of Magnesium which helps to maintain the calcium levels by increasing the absorption of calcium in the body. These two minerals are essential for the bone tissue development and to speed up the healing process of aging or damaged bones. This helps to forbid the health conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis in the old age.

  1. Prevents anemia

Sorghum possesses iron, copper and magnesium which help to increase the iron absorption in the body. This reduces the chances of anemia that is led by iron deficiency. An adequate amount of iron and copper increases the development of red blood cells, enhance the blood circulation, cellular growth, increases the hair growth and boost the level of energy. (5)

7. Level of energy

Vitamin B6 is essential to transform food to the usable fuel and energy in the body. This helps to stabilize the energy throughout the day. Sorghum provides 28% of Vitamin B6 of the daily recommended value. (6)

  1. Assist thyroid health

Manganese is a vital component of thyroxine which is an essential hormone in the thyroid gland. Sorghum is rich in manganese which helps to function the thyroid glands properly which results in losing weight, appetite, efficient organ systems and metabolism. (7)

  1. Improves cognitive power

The function of brain and neurotransmitter is based on the phosphorus. Phosphorus helps to maintain the response of emotions, neurons and hormones. The phosphorus deficiency is associated with the decrease in cognitive power and age related neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Improves mood

The research shows that Vitamin B6 has a huge role in the production of serotonin and GABA neurotransmitters in the brain which controls the mood. Vitamin B6 is essential for to hinder pain, depression, anxiety and fatigue. This shows that Vitamin B6 helps to prevent mood disorders and raise mood.

Vitamin B6 also assists in the production of hormone in the brain which treats the brain diseases and mood disorders. The research shows that the supplements of Vitamin B6 assist to uplift the mood, relieve pain with energy and concentration.

Nutritional Value of Sorghum

Sorghum is loaded with nutrients, vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin, high amount of magnesium, copper, iron, phosphorous, calcium, and potassium. It provides dietary fiber by 48% of the recommended daily value.

 Sorghum Facts

Sorghum is the tall plant which yields Sorghum grains. It is the commonly grown crop after rice, corn, wheat and barley. It is cultivated in many Western countries. The diet which includes Sorghum provides various health benefits. Sorghum is also used to feed animals or processed into secondary products such as sorghum syrup and alcohol. Only few varieties are used for consumption purposes.

Name Sorghum
Scientific Name Sorghum bicolor
Native Northern Africa and now widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions.
Common/English Name Beer Sorghum, African Millet, Black Seeded Sorghum, Black Millet, Brown- Seeded Sorghum, Broom Corn, Brown Durra, Chinese Sugar Cane, Chicken Corn, Chinese Sorgum, Chinese Millet, Durra, Feterita, Egyptian Corn, Great Millet, Gooseneck, Forage Sorghum, Guinea Corn, Grain Sorghum, Guinea Wheat, Indian Millet, Indian Grain Sorghum, Jerusalem Corn, Italian Whisk, Ka fi r Corn, Milo, Kaf fi r-Corn, Large-Seeded Sorghum, Kamerun Grass, Negro Corn, Maili, Orange Sorgum, Pampas Rice, Orange Sawgum, Pearl Millet, Rice Corn, Rhodesian Sudan Grass, Saccharine Sorghum, Rox Orange, Shallu, Shattercane, Soft-Seeded Sorghum, Sorghum, Sordan, Sorghum-Sudangrass, Sorghum Cane, , Sugar Sorghum, Sweet Sorghum, Sudanese Sorghum, Tennessee Rice, Turkish Millet, Wacona Orange, White Durra, Venetian Whisk, West African Grain Sorgum.
Name in Other Languages Arabic: Miknis, Gafuli;
Argentina: Sorgo, Sorgo Granifero;
Brazil (Portuguese): Milho –De-Vassoura, Sorgo;
Burmese: Shallu;
Chinese: Duo Mai Gāoliáng, Zhong Guo Gāoliáng;
Cook Islands (Maori): Tarapi;
Czech: Čirok Obecný;
Danish: Almindelig Durra, Sukkersorghum;
Dutch: Dari, Suiker-Sorghum;
Eastonian: Harilik Sorgo;
Ethiopia: Bachanta;
Finnish: Sokerihirssi, Durra;
French: Dari, Sorgho Penché;
German: Gewöhnliche Mohrenhirse, Zuckerrohr;
Huasa: Dawa;
Hungarian: Cirok;
Bengali:  Jowar,
Gujarati:  Jowar,
Hindu:  Chari, Jowar,
Kannada:  Jola,
Marathi: Jwari,
Oriya: Janha,
Sanskrit: Jawari, Joar,
Tamil: Karuncoolam, Cholam,
Telugu: Jonna, Jannalu;
Indonesia: Jagung Cantel, Cantel;
Italian: Dura, Sorugami;
Kenya (Kikamba) : Muvya;
Korean: Susu;
Laotian: Khauz Fangz;
Libya: Gafuli;
Malaysia: Jagung Gerebang, Jagung;
Mali (Bamanankan): Kenike;
Marshall Islands: Korn;
Nigeria (Idoma): Igwu;
Norwegian: Brundurra, Kvastdurra;
Bikol: Batad,
Bisaya: Batad,
Ibanag: Bakau,
Ifugao: Gau,
Sulu: Layagah,
Tagalog: Batag, Batad;
Portugal: Massambala, Sorgo Para Vassouras;
Russian: Belaia Durra, Sorgo Venichnoe;
Rwanda (Kinyarwanda): Ishaka;
Slovašcina: Krmni Sirek;
Slovencina: Cirok Dvojfarebný;
Spanish: Daza, Zahina;
South Africa:-
Afrikaans: Graansorghum,
Ndedele:  Mabele,
Pedi: Mabele,
Setswana: Mabele;
Sotho: Mabele,
Xhosa: Amazimba,
Zulu: Amabele;
Sudan: Dura;
Swahili: Mtama;
Swedish: Durra, Sockerdurra;
Thai (Central Thailand): Kao Liang, Samut Kodom;
Tongan: Kola;
Turkish: Misir Darisi, Zura;
Vietnamese: Cao Lương Ðỏ, Miến To;
Yoruba : Oka Bab, Baba
Plant Growth Habit Erect, robust, herbaceous annual
Growing Climate Tropical and subtropical
Soil Sandy, loamy and clay
Plant Size 3–4 m
Lifespan 1 year
Root Fibrous root system
Leaves Broad, coarse, Breadth: 5 cm, Length:0.75 m
Branchlets Slender, drooping, inflorescence, alternate
Stem Rigid
Flowering Season August-October
Flower Hermaphrodite
Grain shape & size Tight-headed, round and droopy panicle, Diameter: 3 to 4 mm
Fruit color Pale yellow or reddish brown-dark brown
Flavor/aroma Bland
Fruit Taste Sweet
Seed Round or oval shape
Varieties/Types Red, Orange, Bronze, Tan, White and Black colored Sorghum
Fruit Season September-October
Major Nutritions Manganese, Mn 3.082 (134.00%)
Carbohydrate 138.41 (106.47%)
Iron, Fe 6.45 (80.63%)
Phosphorus, P 555 (79.29%)
Leucine 2.863 (77.46%)
Magnesium, Mg 317 (75.48%)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.851 (65.46%)
Copper, Cu 0.545 (60.56%)
Tryptophan 0.238 (54.09%)
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.637 (53.08%)
Valine 1.077 (50.99%)
Isoleucine 0.831 (49.70%)
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 7.081 (44.26%)
Selenium, Se 23.4 (42.55%)
Protein 20.39 (40.78%)
Health Benefits
  • Assists in digestion
  • Prevents cancer
  • Control diabetes
  • Helps celiac disease
  • Maintain bone health
  • Prevents anemia
  • Level of energy
  • Assist thyroid health
  • Improves cognitive power
  • Improves mood
Calories in 1cup (192 gm) 632 Kcal.
Traditional uses
  • In Lagos state (Nigeria), Sorghum leaf is used an infusion of Randia lucida roots and soaked in potash water in local herbal medicine.
  • In Lagos (Nigeria), Sorghum is used to treat pain, anemia and inflammation.
  • In South Western Nigeria, Sorghum is used as the treatment for sickle-cell anemia, headache, multiple myeloma, leukemia, blood and heart -related problems.
  • The decoction which is made from Sorghum grains is used as an aphrodisiac in India to treat complaints of kidney and urinary tract.
  • The red pigment of Sorghum is believed to possess antifungal and antimicrobial properties and in traditional medicine, it used as an aid for anemia.
  • Some people might experience problem in digestion which may lead to disease by causing inflammation.
  • The pregnant and breast feeding women should avoid the use of Sorghum.
  • Tannin in brown Sorghum grain restricts the human body to absorb other nutrients.
  • Sorghum grain is liable to fungal growth and mycotoxin production. So well preserved cereals should be used for consumption purpose.
  • Sorghum plant which is immature is poisonous.
  • It is not a safe sugar substitute for diabetics.
How to Eat
  • The flour of Sorghum can be prepared as flatbreads and porridge.
  • Sorghum grains which are cracked can be cooked like rice.
  • Sorghum is also used to prepare alcoholic beverages.
  • The green Sorghum can be consumed like sweet corn.
  • Sweet syrup could be made from Sorghum.
  • Sorghum could be cracked, ground, flaked or steamed.
  • It could be consumed as an instant breakfast cereal.
  • The flour of Sorghum is used to make an Indian bread.
  • Sorghum is distilled in order to produce vinegar, spirit and maotai which are known to be the famous liquors in the world.
  • Sweet syrup is obtained from the stems of sweet Sorghum.
  • It is an excellent substitute for wheat.
Other Facts
  • Sorghum is considered as a vital cereal crop after rice, maize, wheat and barley.
  • Sorghum is also used in some starches which are used for papermaking and adhesives.
  • Red varieties of sorghum are used in Africa to dye red the leather.
  • Less water is required for Sorghum in comparison to maize and wheat.
  • Sorghum is also used as food source for poultry and cattle.
  • The Sorghum stem is used to manufacture baskets.






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