Botanical Name : Sorghum bicolor
Species: S. bicolor
Habitat: Sorghum originated in northern Africa, and is now cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical regions.
Sorghum is typically an annual, but some cultivars are perennial.It grows in clumps that may reach over 4 metres high. The grain is small, ranging from 3 to 4 mm in diameter. Sweet sorghums are sorghum cultivars that are primarily grown for foliage; they are shorter than those grown for grain.
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S. bicolor is the cultivated species of sorghum; its wild relatives make up the botanical genus Sorghum.
The species can grow in arid soils and withstand prolonged droughts. It has four features that make it one of the most drought-resistant crops of all.
*It has a very large root-to-leaf surface area.
*In times of drought it will roll its leaves to lessen water-loss by transpiration.
*If drought continues it will go into dormancy rather than dying.
*Its leaves are protected by a waxy cuticle.
Richard Pankhurst reports (citing Augustus B. Wylde) that in 19th-century Ethiopia, Durra was “often the first crop sown on newly cultivated land”, explaining that this cereal did not require the thorough ploughing other crops did, and its roots not only decomposed into a good fertilizer, but they also helped to break up the soil while not exhausting the subsoil.
Sorghum is cultivated in many parts of Asia and Africa, where its grains are used to make flat breads that form the staple food of many cultures. The grains can also be popped in a similar fashion to popcorn.
In India, where it is commonly called Jwaarie, Jowar, Jola, or Jondhahlaa, sorghum is one of the staple sources of nutrition. An Indian Bread or Jowar Rotti or Jolada rotti is prepared from this grain. In this country and in other places, sweet sorghum stalks are used for producing biofuel by squeezing the juice and then fermenting into ethanol. Texas A&M University in the United States is currently running trials to find the best varieties for ethanol production from sorghum leaves and stalks in the USA.
In Korea it is cooked with rice, or its flour is used to make cake that is called Susu bukkumi.
Sorghum is a folk remedy for cancer, epilepsy, flux, and stomachache. The root is used for malaria in southern Rhodesia; the seed has been used for breast disease and diarrhea; the stem for tubercular swellings. In India, the plant is considered anthelminthic and insecticidal, and in South Africa, in combination with Erigeron canadense., it is used for eczema. In China, where the seeds are used to make alcohol, the seed husk is braised in brown sugar with a little water and applied to the chest of measles patients. The stomachic seeds are considered beneficial in fluxes. Curacao natives drink the leaf decoction for measles, grinding the seeds with those of the calabash tree (Cresentia) for lung ailments. Venezuelans toast and pulverize the seeds for diarrhea. Brazilians decoct the seed for bronchitis, cough and other chest ailments, possibly using the ash for goiter. Arubans poultice hot oil packs of the seeds on the back of those suffering pulmonary congestion. According to Grieve’s Herbal, a decoction of ca 50 g seed to a liter of water is boiled down to ca 1/2 liter as a folk medication for kidney and urinary complaints. The inflorescence is astringent and hemostatic. Sorghum contains such hard-to-find nutrients as iron, calcium and potassium. Before the invention of the daily vitamins, many doctors prescribed sorghum as a daily supplement for those low in these nutrients.
The species can be used as a source for making ethanol fuel, and in some environments may be better than maize or sugarcane, as it can grow under harsher conditions. It typically has protein levels of around 9 percent, enabling dependent human populations to subsist on it in times of famine, in contrast to regions where maize has become the staple crop. It is also used for making a traditional corn broom.
The reclaimed stalks of the sorghum plant are used to make a decorative millwork material marketed as Kirei board.
Sweet sorghum syrup is known as molasses in some parts of the U.S., although it is not true molasses.
In China, sorghum is fermented and distilled to produce maotai, which is regarded as one of the country’s most famous liquors. Sorghum was ground and the flour was the main alternative to wheat in north China for a long time.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.