Sorghum is a gluten-free grain native to Africa. It is also known as “great millet” or “Egyptian millet.” It is a member of the Poaceae family, also known as Gramineae. Sorghum is an imposing and robust plant that can grow up to three metres high. There are more than 280 varieties of sorghum listed in the European Catalogue of Species and Varieties. It is the sixth largest source of food calories after rice, wheat, sugar, corn and potatoes.
It is probably native to Ethiopia and is widely farmed throughout Africa. In the 17th and 18th centuries, sorghum was considered a relative to millet. Unlike wheat and corn, it thrives in warm and dry climates as its root system makes it drought resistant. It is considered to have a great farming development potential for arid and poor regions.
In Western countries, sorghum is mainly used in farm animal feed. The United States is the largest sorghum producer in the world, with about ten million tonnes annually.
Sorghum is a good source of protein, vitamins, iron, calcium, phosphorus and amino acids. Like millet, this cereal may have a preventive role in intestinal problems and may help prevent the development of gallstones, ulcers and colitis. It may also help tone the stomach, reduce diarrhea and even high blood sugar levels.
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