What is sorghum – varieties, useful and dangerous properties, use in cooking and agriculture

The content of the article

Sorghum plant is known to very few people, but for many millennia this culture has been used by man in many industries: industry, cooking, medicine, is widespread in agriculture. China, India, and Africa used to use cereals in the manufacture of flour for baking cakes. Recently, the plant is not so common, although almost 70 million tons of it are grown annually around the world..

Sorghum – what is it

The kaolin plant (gumai) or sorghum is an annual and perennial herbaceous spring crop that belongs to the family of cereals or bluegrass. Translated from the Latin word “Sorgus” means “rise.” According to the scale of production, cereal is in fifth place, which is explained by high productivity, productivity, and resistance to weather conditions. The variety is unpretentious, growing a crop does not require the use of special equipment and machinery.

Places of growth

Regions of East Africa are considered to be the homeland of sorghum. There they began to grow it from the 4th century BC. Today, there are approximately 70 species of this plant that are cultivated in southwestern Asia, Equatorial and South Africa, the southern part of the European continent, Australia. Gaolian also grows in Moldova, the steppe zone of Ukraine, southern Russia.

Plants on the field

Energy value and composition

The plant is a natural antioxidant. Kaohliang contains more protein than corn, but does not have the amino acid lysine. 100 grams of sorghum grain contains 339 kcal. Sorghum grain has the following nutritional value:

  • carbohydrates – 68.3 g;
  • ash – 1.57 g.
  • water – 9.2 g;
  • fats – 3.3 g;
  • protein – 11.3 g.

The table shows the content of the main vitamins and minerals per 100 g of seed:



Vitamin B1, Thiamine

0.237 mg

Vitamin B2, Riboflavin

0.142 mg

Vitamin PP, NE

2,927 mg


Potassium, K

350 mg

Calcium Ca

28 mg

Sodium, Na

6 mg

Phosphorus, Ph

287 mg

Trace elements

Iron, Fe

4.4 mg

Essential Amino Acids




Fatty acid

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega-6 fatty acids

Monounsaturated Fatty Acids


Oleic (omega-9)

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids



Beneficial features

The composition of trace elements and vitamins of sorghum determines its characteristics and healing properties. The plant is capable of:

  • strengthen the heart muscles;
  • stimulate appetite;
  • improve brain activity;
  • break down fats, activate the body’s metabolic processes;
  • accelerate protein synthesis;
  • remove salts from the body;
  • stimulate hemoglobin production.

Barbell heart

Gaolyan is often used for various gastrointestinal diseases, the occurrence of rheumatism, and for the prevention of strokes and heart attacks. Grain, due to the content of folic acid in it, is very useful for pregnant women, nursing mothers. Lemon sorghum tightens the skin, makes it fresh and supple, so the plant is often used in the manufacture of anti-aging cosmetics.

The protein and carbohydrate content makes the plant nutritious, thiamine tones the muscles, stimulates the secretion of the stomach, and has a beneficial effect on the higher nervous activity of the body. Antioxidants, which grain has in large quantities, protect the human body, prevent premature aging, inflammation. Vitamins regulate metabolism, break down fats. The product is suitable for use by diabetics, for skin diseases, nervous disorders.

Vitamins contained in Sorghum are good for the body. For instance:

  • potassium regulates pressure, acid, water, electrolyte balance;
  • Vitamin B1 provides the body with energy, promotes metabolism, improves the digestive, nervous, cardiovascular systems.
  • phosphorus is involved in many physiological processes;
  • Vitamin PP is involved in the restoration and normalization of the skin condition, improves the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, nervous system;
  • iron prevents anemia, skeletal muscle atony, atrophic gastritis


There are about 70 cultivated and 24 wild sorghum varieties. Depending on the scope of use, there is grain sorghum, sugar, lemon, broom, grassy. All varieties are very productive, but in the first places by fertility: “Durra”, “Gaolyan”, “Dzhugara”. Several hybrids that yield no less yield have been bred. These are: Quartz, Titan, Emerald, Eritrea. There are 4 main groups of sorghum:

  1. sugar
  2. lemon;
  3. technical or broom;
  4. grassy.

Sugar sorghum

There are several types of sorghum. There are 8 of them, some of them have their own subspecies. There is sorghum:

  • Guinean cereal;
  • Kafra;
  • Negro
  • bread (Ethiopian, Nubian, Arabic);
  • Chinese (common and waxy kaolin);
  • sugar
  • grassy or Sudanese grass;
  • technical (East Eurasian and West Eurasian).

The stem of sugar sorghum contains approximately 20% sugar. The highest concentration of carbohydrates occurs immediately after flowering. It is used in the manufacture of jam, honey, sweets, alcohol, vitamins, food additives. Sugar made from huma can be consumed by people with diabetes. The cost of this substance is lower than cane or beetroot. The culture is able to give a good harvest with drought, high temperature, on poor soil. The plant is resistant to diseases and pests, so less pesticides are used in the cultivation.

Culture is indispensable when it is necessary to restore the fertility of dry, depleted soil. Grain antioxidants are able to remove all toxic substances from the earth, it is replenished with useful minerals. After such processing, the sowing of other crops, their growth will be productive. Sugar sorghum is increasingly used in the field of bioenergy for the production of bioethanol, biogas, solid fuels. In China, this culture is one of the main in the production of biofuels..

Lemon gumai is easily recognizable by the pronounced aroma of lemon. This feature of the plant allows its use by perfumers and culinary specialists. The plant is dried and fresh. For cooking – this is the pulp, onion and stem, juice, perfume uses essential oils. As spices, the culture is suitable for meat and fish dishes, vegetable soups and salads. It is especially often used for the preparation of marinades, brewing tea.

Lemon sorghum copes well with seborrhea, strengthens hair, prevents baldness. Essential oil from gaolin is effective for bites of tsetse flies and mosquitoes, is an antibacterial, antiseptic, antipyretic, which is proved by its widespread use by medical workers in India, China, and Vietnam. More often used in the treatment of infectious diseases.


Technical or sorghum broom is grown on personal plots. The plant does not require serious care, the land can be cultivated in the usual way. They distinguish technical kaolin by color, the shape of panicles that go to make brooms. Red varieties are less valued because they have hard, tough branches. The most valuable varieties with elastic, even, equal in length, dense panicles at the ends. In addition to brooms, the plant is suitable for making wicker things, paper. Growing a broom variety can be a good start for your own business..

Grassy sorghum is widely used for feed purposes. Sugar grade is indispensable for livestock feed. Hay and silage produced from this variety have many nutrients. In animal husbandry, the best food for livestock is a mixture of sorghum and corn. The plant is used for irrigation, crop rotation, has a phytomeliorative effect on the soil, is able to remove salts from the soil.

Man on a personal plot

Plant application

Sorghum is a real storehouse of vitamins and useful elements, so the culture is very in demand. From Gaolyan receive:

  • silage;
  • fertilizers for the soil;
  • essential oils;
  • starch – used in the mining, food, paper, textile, medical sectors;
  • flour – used for food purposes in baking, making cereals;
  • cereals;
  • seasonings for dishes etc.

Lemongrass Essential Oil

In cooking

Due to the thick and bitter taste of the peel, it is difficult, but possible, to use the plant in cooking. Sugar (for making sweets, pastries, honey, alcohol), lemon (seasonings for many dishes, drinks, teas), grain sorghum (cereals are used for cereals, side dishes, flour is used for baking bread, flat cakes, couscous ).

Depending on the variety of humming, it is recommended to use it as an ingredient or a separate dish. For instance:

  • as part of rice dishes, the taste is more refined, vibrant;
  • as the main side dish is an alternative to buckwheat, oatmeal, rice;
  • as a component of individual cold appetizers, many salads;
  • in the manufacture of muffin;
  • prepare syrups, creams for baking based on a lemon grade.

Lemon sorghum is universal. To get a drink, the stems are poured with boiling water and infused for ten minutes. The drink lowers the temperature, tones the body. Lemon kaolin is a common ingredient in cuisines of different nations:

  • Asian – used as a seasoning in a fresh, boiled form;
  • Thai – as a side dish and seasoning for soups, sauces, pastas;
  • Vietnamese – for cooking fondue.

Grain grass is processed into flour for baking. Since the resulting product does not contain gluten, when kneading the dough, it should be mixed with wheat flour. In its pure form, such flour can be added when cooking soups, gravy. Porridge made from Sudanese grass gives a long feeling of fullness. Mushrooms, citrus fruits, fresh vegetables go well with them..

Lemon Sorghum

In agriculture

Sorghum is not inferior to maize in its nutritional properties, therefore, in agriculture, the plant goes to feed animals. Dairy pigs, hens and chickens feed on the plant. The amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates that are part of the composition contribute to the rapid growth, weight gain of livestock and poultry, but the dosage must be observed – no more than 30% of the total feed. The culture often goes to feed fish, which gives an increase in fat mass by 34%.

Cows eat

Hazardous properties

Grain kaolin has a unique chemical composition, but there are substances that can degrade the bioavailability of its own minerals. Inhibitors are mainly found in the shell of grain. Therefore, before use, it is recommended to soak sorghum in acidified lemon juice or vinegar. High amounts of fiber can cause constipation. It is not recommended to use cereal for flatulence. In other cases, damage from culture is possible only with individual intolerance to the product.

The girl put her hands to her stomach

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