A member of the grass family Poaceae, millet is a nutritious, alkalising, gluten-free 'grain' or seed that has been part of man's diet for thousands of years. The millet in this porridge is the foxtail millet (Panicum Italicum L.) which is thought to have been domesticated in the foothills of the Taihang mountains, Hebei, from Neolithic times ~8,700 years ago.
Millet porridge is known as a healing food in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is very low in allergens and is easily digestible, acting to heal and protect the digestive system. This makes it particularly suitable for confinement, young children and the elderly.
In Ayurveda, its properties are considered dry and light making it a useful antidote to the damp stickiness which can result from eating a wheat heavy diet. Medicinally it is used to treat excess Ama or toxin accumulation, dull Agni or digestive fire, diabetes type-2, excess weight, oedema and other excess Kapha conditions.
Millet is rich in calcium and B vitamins with fibre content that releases glucose slowly and helps prevent constipation and reduce bowel disorders. As such it helps build and maintain healthy bones and teeth and calms the nervous system. Cooked here with orange sweet potato without salt or sugar, it makes an excellent first food for baby.
Credits: Ceri, Zenxin master chef