Truth about kodu millet , science confirms

kodu milletThe scientific name of the kodo millet is Paspalum scrobiculatum Linn. It is also known as Creepiing paspalum, and Water couch.

Other common names include

FRENCH: Herbe à épée.
GERMAN : Kodohirse, Koda-Hirse.
HINDI : Kodo, Kodra.
SPANISH : Mijo koda.
TAMIL : Varagu.

Kodu millet / Bias-biasan is a perennial, tufted, erect, rather slender, nearly glabrous, somewhat wiry plant, 40 to 80 centimeters high. Leaves are flat, 6 to 15 centimeters long and 5 to 8 centimeters wide. Spikes numbers 3 or 4, usually spreading, 4 to 8 centimeters long. Spikelets are pale, 2-seriate, and about 2 millimeters long.


– Mostly in open grasslands at low and medium altitudes, ascending to 1,500 meters throughout  many parts of the world.

– Pantropic.


– Studies on the proteins of five varieties of kodo millet showed hardly any varietal differences. Study showed gluteln to be the major storage protein. Lysine is the most limiting amino acid followed by methionine and cystine. (see study)

– Phytochemical screening yielded tannins, phenolics, saponins, proteins, and carbohydrates. (see study)

– Study showed the millet to contain 1.120mg/g. phenolics consisting of a flavonol, quercetin, and phenolic acids such as cis- ferulic acid, vanillic acid, syringic acid, p-hydroxy benzoic acid and melilotic acid. Total antioxidant potential was found to be– IC50 = 31.5 ± 0.03 mg/ml in terms of ascorbic acid and gallotannins. . The oil consisted of oleic acid (40.7%), stearic acid (37.5%) and palmitic acid (19.5%). (see study)

Parts used

Stem juice, rhizomes, roots.


– A staple food in some parts of Africa and North India.

Folkloric traditional medicine remedies, benefis and uses of kodu millet

– Juice expressed from the stem used for corneal opacities.

– Decoction of roots and rhizomes used as alterative in childbirth.

– In India, in cases of poisoning, eating of the grains of the grass is prescribed.

– Grains used in the treatment of diabetes.

Scientific studies on kodu millet benefits and uses


Study of aqueous and ethanol extracts in rats with alloxan-induced diabetes showed a dose-dependent fall in fasting blood glucose. Treatment also showed a significant increase in liver glycogen and a significant decrease in glycated haemoglobin levels.

Chronic Toxicity Study:

Study of dried ethanol extract of the husk of the grain of Paspalum scrobiculatum produced

(1) tranquilization and tremors in various animal species

(2) potentiated the effect of hexobarbitone in mice

(3) produced hypothermia in mice and rats

(4) enhanced leptazol toxicity in rats

(5) hypotension and diminished carotid occlusion reflex in anesthetized dogs.

Tranquilizing Effect:

Previous acute and subacute toxicity study in animals showed a considerable margin of safety. In this study, a dried ethanol extract of husk of Paspalum scrobiculatum grain was given to forty psychotic patients in a double blind control, cross over method. The extract was found to have a tranquilizing effect on patients.

Wound Healing: Study in animals showed a paste from P. scrobiculatum hastened wound healing. Significant increases in protein and collagen occurred at the wound area where the poultice was applied, with more rapid wound closure.

Free Radical Quenching Potential:

Six different millets were screened for free radical squenching of DPPH. Methanol extracts of the kodo millet flour showed 70% DOOH quenching compared to the other millet extracts that showed 15-33%.

Antidiabetic Principles:

The medicinal properties of the grain can be attirubted to quercetin and most of the phenolic acids. Quercetin, the flavonol present in the millet, is known to possess antidiabetc action. In vitro studies showed quercetin can reduce intestinal glucose absorption; block tyrosine kinase to potentiate both glucose and glibenclamide induced insulin secretion, and protect ß cell from oxidative damage induced by H2O2; partially prevent degeneration of ß-cells. Vanillic acid can help prevent the development of diabetic neuropathy by blocking the methylgloxal-mediated intracellular glycation system.


• Paspalum scrobiculatum is a millet that thrives in the poorest soil. The husk and leaves acquire a poisonous quality attributed to heavy rainfalls. Grain detoxification is achieved by a year of storage or by keeping it overnight in buffalo dung. After detoxification, it is dehusked, boiled and consumed after discarding the supernatant water.

• Accidental ingestion of the toxic grain causes CNS effects within a few hours: sleepiness, tremors and dizziness. Vomiting and abdominal colic may occur.

• In cattle, tremors, convulsions, coma and death may occur. (Britt. J. Pharmacol. (1962), 18, 7-18.)



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