How Can This Ayurvedic Food Make You Feel Great?
Every time I stop in a country store of the Southern Appalachian, I find a jar of sorghum molasses. "A couple of generations ago, sorghum was a staple sweetener in the South. It was cheap and plentiful."
Sorghum flour is now gaining popularity among health enthusiasts as a gluten free alternative to wheat.
Sorghum may be eaten as a whole berry, or ground into flour. The flour has a fine, tender texture and delicate mouth feel. Just as smooth, demulcent, gooey as oatmeal or wheat but not as heavy. I noticed my sorghum pancakes were light and fluffy, delightful to eat. One student writes, "Making a pancake-of-sorts with the sorghum flour was very satisfying. The smell in the kitchen, and savory flavor in my mouth, brought back that Saturday morning satisfaction without the heaviness of wheat."
Chef Michelle Bernstein of Cena in Miami says the whole berries are "very toothsome and filling." Chef Marc Forgione of Lobster Press NYC says, "The closest thing I can compare it to is heirloom farro; it's got a great, earthy bite to it, and if you cook it risotto style, it will have a nice chew to it." For a fun twist, the berries can also be popped like popcorn.
Sorghum is closely related to sugarcane. It is slightly sweet and can be used to make alcohol.
The plant Sorghum bicolor is the 5th most important cereal crop grown in the world. It is popular not only in the southern USA, but also in Africa, and India.
Footnote: The information for this article was in part gathered from a 2020 study and survey of 13 students of Ayurveda who experimented with sorghum. During the study, students ate sorghum for 3 days and journaled the pharmacological effects. This study was sponsored by the Joyful Belly School of Ayurveda, and specifically the Mastering Ayurvedic Digestion & Nutrition certification course.
Light, Easy to Digest.
"My whole body felt lighter and more energetic than when I eat a lot of wheat," says one student. Kapha individuals will enjoy sorghum because it is drier and lighter than wheat. It won't put you to sleep after eating. It's a great grain if wheat and dairy are causing too much mucus or weight gain.
It's unusual to find a light food that is nourishing AND satisfying. Sorghum is like white rice in lightness, but has a more robust nutritional profile. Most high protein, nourishing foods are heavy. Most light foods, like salads, are not considered comfort foods. But sorghum is both.
Satisfying, Relaxing But Light
Sorghum is especially great as a comfort food because it is relaxing. One student reports, "My core feels more grounded, and that is pleasant."
The ample sweet taste, and high magnesium profile, relaxes muscles. Sorghum's relaxing nature can be helpful for many conditions, from insomnia to epilepsy. It's high protein, complex carb, sugar balance makes it great for epileptics.
For a great grounding, yet light food, sorghum can't be beat!
Brazilians decoct the seed for bronchitis, cough and other chest ailments. They use the ash for goiters. Arubans place hot oil poultices of the seeds on the backs of those suffering with pulmonary congestion.
Chinese medicine lists it as a cough suppressant and bronchodilator that resolves phlegm. The root is considered the most potent part of the plant for lung conditions.
Blood & Muscles
The high iron content of sorghum nourishes the blood. Sorghum plant sap is a known remedy for anemia. It is especially helpful in sickle cell anemia, as it builds hemoglobin. Studies suggest the sap is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. Sorghum would therefore be considered Pitta pacifying.
Sorghum is slightly warming. However, its mild vasodilating quality disperses excess heat. One student reported a "pulsing sensation and lightness in the face, arms, and legs." Another said, "I had a feeling of lightness making my head feel like it is levitating."
Sorghum is sweet but a complex carbohydrate with a low gylcemic index. Complex carbohydrates satisfy your hunger longer and are healthier for diabetes patients.
As a diuretic, sorghum may reduce blood pressure, relieve edema, and flush the kidney of toxins.
Digestion & Elimination
Students reported that stools were more solid and better formed, after eating sorghum. Here's why:
Sorghum is a nourishing and relaxing yet unusually light grain. Bitter and astringent aftertastes hint at Sorghum's Kapha pacifying nature. It is ideal for a stressful day when you want something satisfying that won't weigh you down.
BUYING & PREPARATION
COOKING SORGHUM FLOURBrowse Recipes
If you plan to bake anything taller than a pancake, sorghum will need a binder. Otherwise it may not rise, making the end product more dense. Without a binder it will be brittle. When I cook with gluten free products, I often stick to cookies and pancakes, which don't have to rise as much.
WHY EAT AN AYURVEDIC DIET?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. An Ayurvedic diet is tailored to your individual body type and the specific imbalances you are working with at any given time. Ayurveda shows you your specific body type’s needs and what should be favored in your Ayurvedic menu. Watch as you eat less but feel more satisfied because what you are eating truly nourishes you. Since Ayurveda believes all disease begins in the digestive tract, food is your first medicine. By eating a healthy diet that’s ideal for your body, you experience optimal health.
Is Sorghum Flour Good for My Ayurvedic Diet?
SERVING SIZE: 1/4 c
AYURVEDIC MEDICINAL BIOCHARACTERISTICSWhat is the biocharacteristic theory of medicine?
Experiences are PersonalExperiences vary according to the person and constitution. Individual results may vary. The list of herbal-actions below has not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
Here are the herbal actions of Sorghum Flour:
SPLEEN-TONICAn herb that strengthens spleen function by improving strength of the blood. Spleen tonics Builds agni, brighten the person's appearances & firms up tissues.
CONSTIPATIVEAn herb that binds stools / stops diarrhea. When used in excess, these herbs and foods can cause constipation.
High Fiber Laxative
HIGH-FIBER-LAXATIVEA class of laxative that adds bulk and water to stools. The size of a stool stimulates peristalsis and the stool passes more easily through the colon. It is important to drink plenty of water when using high fiber laxatives, as they can be dehydrating.
GROUNDINGEncourages feelings of stability and heaviness. Makes you feel settled, mentally relaxed. Mildly sedates the nervous system to ease stress. Can bring a spacey or anxious person back to earth.
RELAXES-EYESEases tension in eye muscles, so the eyes feel less strained, often by supporting the liver.
RELAXES-MINDReduces mental agitation, irritation, stress and racing thoughts.
ANTIDEPRESSANTHerbs that lift feelings of depression, benefit the mind and improve mental function.
ANXIOLYTICHerbs that help people suffering from anxiety or panic. They promote a state of calm and often improve sleep. Most anxiolytic herbs are also nervines.
BRAIN-TONICAn herb that strengthens the brain, thereby improves either mental function, stamina, or stability.
SEDATIVESedative herbs create a sense of calm in the mind and body by specifically calming or quieting the nervous system. Excellent for anxiety, stress and chronic pain.
ANTITUSSIVECough suppressant, particularly for dry coughs or a tickle in your throat.
BRONCHODILATORAn herb that encourages the widening or opening of the lung airways. Helpful in cough and asthma.
DEMULCENTHerbs that coat or form a soothing film over a mucous membrane, relieving minor pain and inflammation of the membrane.
LUNG-TONICStrengthens the lungs. These herbs are helpful when recovering from either acute or chronic lung issues like bronchitis or pneumonia.
DIURETICHerbs that promote urine formation, thereby flushing the kidneys and urinary tract while eliminating any excess water retention. As diuretics reduce water retention, they are often used to reduce blood pressure.
LIVOTONICAn herb that strengthens the liver. It is helpful for people with a history of substance abuse, chronic liver issues from hepatitis and hemolytic anemias. Generally, liver tonics are oily, cool, sweet, mildly sour, or has beta-carotene.
DRIES-MOUTHMakes the mouth feel dry, or pasty.
Joyful Belly is a recognized school of biocharacteristics medicine.
HEALTH & WELLNESS PRACTITIONERS!
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HOW DOES EATING AYURVEDICALLY MAKE YOU FEEL?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. Food digests with ease when right for your body type (dosha). Healthy digestion is seen as the cornerstone of well-being in Ayurveda. Healthy digestion generally prevents illness. If you do get sick, a strong digestive fire reduces the severity of illness and increases your resilience. It also improves your mood. Once you begin eating Ayurvedically, you will feel refreshed, vital and strong.
View Other Ingredients for SummerSorghum Flour is recommended for Summer. Check out these other Summer foods here.
Comments & Impressions of 'Sorghum Flour'Do you like 'sorghum flour'? Why or why not? What makes it unique? Is there something you'd like to know about 'sorghum flour'?
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NamasteI just started cooking with sorghum grains. I cannot seem to find any information on the 5 tastes as it relates to each dosha as well as its properties. I did take note of what you had provided for sorghum flour. Just wondering about the grain. Thank-you Kimberly
TRADITIONALLY INDICATED FOR THESE SYMPTOMSSorghum Flour may be beneficial for these symptoms. The suitability of any food for a condition is highly dependent on the individual. Please see your doctor before using this food to treat a medical condition.
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.