Sorghum jowar amazing proven nutritional health benefits uses


Scientific names Common names
Agrostis nigricans (Ruiz & Pav.) Poir. Bakau (Ibn.)
Andropogon besseri Kunth Batad (Tag., Bik., Bis.)
Andropogon bicolor (L.) Roxb. Batag (Tag.)
Andropogon caffrorum (Thunb.) Kunth Bukakau (Ilk.)
Andropogon compactus Brot. Gau (If.)
Andropogon dulcis Burm.f. Layagah (Sul.)
Andropogon niger (Ard.) Kunth Sorghum (Engl.)
Andropogon saccharatus Kunth Common wild sorghum (Engl.)
Andropogon sorghum (L.) Brot. Sudamgrass (Engl.)
Holcus bicolor Linn. Great millet (Engl.)
Holcus compactus Lam. Grain sorghum (Engl.)
Holcus sacccharatus L.
Holcus sorghum L.
Milium bicolor (L.) Cav.
Milium compactum (Lam.) Cav.
Milium maximum Cav.
Milium sorghum (L.) Cav.
Panicum caffrorum Retz.
Raphis sorghum (L.) Roberty
Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench.
Sorghum caffrorum (Retz.) P.Beauv.
Sorghum caudatum (Hack.) Stapf
Sorghum centroplicatum Chiov.
Sorghum cernuum (Ard.) Host
Sorghum compactum Lag.
Sorghum saccharum (L.) Moench
Sorghum usorum Nees
Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench is an accepted name The Plant List


Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Gao liang, Shu shu.
FRENCH: Sorgho.
GERMAN: Mohrenhirse, Kaffernhirse..
GUJARATI: Jowar, Jowari, Juar. .
HINDI: Jowar, Jowari, Juar, Juwar.
ITALIAN: Sorgo coltivato.
JAPANESE: Morokoshi, Sorugamu.
MARATHI: Jondhala, Jwari, Jovart..
ORIYA: Juara.
RUSSIAN: Sorgo obyknovennoe.
SPANISH: Maiz guineo, Millo, Sorgo comon, Sorgo de grano, Sorgo de Guinea.
TAMIL: Cholam, Karuncoolam.
TELUGU: Jonna, Jonnalu.
THAI: Kao liang, Khao fang, Khao fang hang chang, Khao khuang, Khao pang hang chang, Samut khodom.
URDU: Javar.

Sorghum or jowar is a stout, erect, annual, usually about 2 meters high. Stem is solid, about 1 centimeters or more in diameter. Leaves are 20 to 50 centimeters long, 2 to 5 centimeters wide. Panicles are dense, 15 to 30 centimeters long, compound and erect. Spikelets are ovoid, more or less pubescent, about 5 millimeters long, pale, purplish, or nearly black, the first glume hard and shining, the fourth awnless or sometimes awned.

sorghum jowar

Distribution of Sorghum or jowar

– Several varieties grown.

– Cultivated, but not extensively, for forage.

– Native of Asia or Africa, now cultivated in all warm countries.

Chemical Constituents of Sorghum or jowar

– Leaves contain a glucoside, dhurrin; enzyme, emulsin, among others.

– Young plant rich in hydrocyanic acid.

– Fruits contain sorghin.

– Study isolated an alcohol-soluble protein, named kafrin, from kafir seeds, which constitutes more than one-half of the protein in the seed. Nitrogen determinations on the kafir meal showed that it contained 11.7 percent protein (N x 6.25). (18)

– Proximate composition of Sorghum bicolor stem flour % on dry weight basis yielded moisture 6.54, protein 3.20, crude fat 8.38, total ash 5.34, crude fiber 32.02, carbohydrate 44.52. (22)

– Mineral composition (mg/100g) of sorghum bicolor stem flour on dry weight basis yielded: Na 127.61, K 138.87, Ca 151.70, Mg 185.33, Fe 10.98, Cu 0.47, Zn 7.15, Mn 2.83. (see study below) (22)

Medicinal Properties of Sorghum jowar

– Considered astringent, demulcent, diuretic, hemostatic.

– Inflorescence is astringent and hemostatic.

– Studies have shown antidiarrheal, antibacterial, neuropharmacologic, antisickling, hematopoetic, antiglycation, antioxidant properties.

sorghum jowarParts used

Seeds, leaves, stems, roots.

Edibility of Sorghum or jowar

– Seeds, raw or cooked; sprouted seeds can be eaten raw; sometimes added to salads.

– Parched seeds used as alternative to coffee.

– Sweet juicy stems used for forage and silage or to produce syrup.

– In southern Africa the juicy stems are often chewed as a snack.

– Sap, raw or cooked, is quite sweet and can be made into syrup.

– A staple food in some regions, where it is often fermented before consumption.

– Used as whole grain like rice; ground into flour.

– Fruit of the vulgaris variety yield a decoction similar to that of barley.

– Stems, cooked. (Caution: reports of cyanide content).

– Sorghum bicolor is the dominant cereal crop in the Guinea and Sudan regions of West Africa.

Folkloric traditional medicinal benefits and uses of Sorghum or jowar

– Decoction of seed is demulcent and diuretic; used for kidney and urinary tract complaints.

– In India, used as an aphrodisiac.

– Used for gastrointestinal related problems: diarrhea, flux, stomachaches.

– In South Western Nigeria, used for headaches, sickle-cell anemia, leukemia, multiple myeloma, heart and blood-related problems.

– In Lagos, Nigeria, used for anemia, pain and inflammation. Also, used as abortifacient: (1) infusion of leaf of S. bicolor with slice root of R lucida, soaked in potash water. (2) 24-hour gin Infusion of leaf of S bicolor, slice root of B nitidia, wood of Pterocarpus osun. As contraceptive: Infusion of soaked leaf of S. bicolor with fruits of X aethiopica and seeds of A melegueta.

Others uses

– Cultivated for forage and seed.

– Developed for the production of grain and sweet stalk.

– In China, sugar is produced from sweet sorghum.

– In Brazil, sweet sorghum is used as a source crop for ethanol production.

– Panicles used for making brushes, brooms and whisks.

– The bagasse is more suitable for paper pulp and used to manufacture kraft paper, newsprint, and fiber board.

– Stems used for making mats and wattle fences.

– Makes an excellent biomass.

– Sweet sorghum is grown as feed stalk for ethanol production.

Toxicity of sorghum jowar

Cyanide: Immature plant, especially when wilted, is poisonous because of the cyanide and alkaloid hordenine. These toxins are destroyed when dried or made into silage.

Scientific studies on health benefits and use of sorghum  jowar


Aqueous extract of Sorghum bicolor stem bark yielded alkaloids and saponins. Extract administration in rats produced significant increase in hemoglobin, packed red cell volume and red blood cells in iron sufficient and iron deficient groups. Results support its use in folkloric medicine in the management of anemia. (25)

In albino rats, extract of leaf sheath increased Hb in a dose-dependent manner. (4)

sorghum jowar in Sickle Cell Disease:

Drug Nicosa, a produce of extracts of four different plants – P guineenses seeds, P osum stem, E caryophyllum fruit and S bicolor leaves was shown to possess anti-sickling properties, significantly reducing the number of painful episodes in SCD patients. (12)


N-butanol purified saponin extract showed an inhibitory effect on the growth of S aureus but not on E coli and C albicans. (3)

sorghum jowar  for Antidiarrheal / Decreased Intestinal Motility:

Aqueous methanolic extract of leaf base of Sorghum bicolor significantly decreased intestinal motility, inhibited castor oil-induced diarrhea. (5)

Neuropharmacologic Sedating Effects:

Study suggests leaf base extracts of S. bicolor contains sedative substances that act via centrally medicated pathways rather than peripheral neuromuscular blockade. Results showed a significant reduction in spontaneous motor activity in rats, reduction in exploratory behavior and prolongation of pentobarbitone-induced sleep.(6)

Protein Glycation Inhibition:

Protein (albumin) glycation is a nonenzymatic process believed to be important in the pathogenesis of many diabetic complications. Sorghum brans with a high phenolic content and high antioxidant properties inhibit protein glycation. A high phenolic sorghum bran variety (sumac) inhibited protein glycation by almost 60%. Results suggest certain varieties of sorghum bran may affect critical biological processes involved in diabetes and insulin resistance. (8)


Study of ethanol fraction of stems of S bicolor yielded five major compounds. Among them, methyl ferrate, exhibited strong, free radical scavenging activity. All five compounds showed anti-lipid per oxidation activity. (11)

Toxicity Study: Study suggests S. bicolor leaf extract is relatively safe. It showed incidental significant lowering of uric acid, a significant reduction of triglycerides and no effect on cholesterol.(13)

Hemopoietic Effect:

Study evaluated the effect of an aqueous extract of the leaf sheath of Sorghum bicolor on hematologic parameters in 50 albino rats. Results showed a hemopoietic effect and supports the traditional used of sorghum bicolor as a remedy for anemia. (17)

Hematologic Benefits of sorghum jowar in HIV Patients:

Study evaluated a traditional herbal preparation,Jobelyn ®, for its effect on anemia and CD4+ T-cell counts in an open-label pilot study of 10 HIV+ patients in Nigeria. Patients receiving ARVT+Jobelyn showed a faster improvement with improved hemoglobin levels and increased CD4-T-cell counts. (21)

Antimicrobial Effects of sorghum jowar Drinks:

Study evaluated the medicinal potentials of the sorghum drink (fortified and unfortified) with respect to inhibitory effect on the growth of Bacillus sp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Lactobacillus sp., and Corynebacterium sp. Sorghum stem extract fortified with pineapple juice and lemon grass had the highest inhibitory effect against Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The cheaply produced drink from purely local material could sere as a safe and good replacement for expensive high sugar content carbonated drinks. (see constituents above) (22)

Availability of sorghum jowar


Extracts, seeds in the cybermarket.

Click here to find the links of all the source studies mentioned in this article.

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