Kutki Millet

Kutki millet (Panicum sumatrense)—also known as little millet—is a small cereal grain that has been grown in Asia since approximately 2700 B.C. In recent years, increasing entitlements for subsidized rice and wheat through India's Public Distribution System has slowly replaced millets in Indian diets.

Kutki millet (Panicum sumatrense)—also known as little millet—is a small cereal grain that has been grown in Asia since approximately 2700 B.C. In recent years, increasing entitlements for subsidized rice and wheat through India’s Public Distribution System has slowly replaced millets in Indian diets. Millets were neglected from research and development during the innovation of the Green Revolution. Thus, kutki millet has experienced lower productivity, despite its desirable traits such as water efficiency and heat tolerance. Nevertheless, renewed focus on enhancing production of kutki millet could greatly improve nutrient availability as well as climate resilience for farmers in this region, while also providing an income-earning opportunity.


Kutki millet is grown during the monsoon (“kharif”) season, and sowing typically begins in June. Kutki millet has a short growth cycle. They are water efficient and adaptable to a variety of growing conditions. They may be cultivated in rainfed, marginal areas with low soil fertility, and at altitudes of up to 2100 meters. Typically, kutki millet is grown on less fertile lands, such as hilly tracts, and is used as an intercrop with legumes, gram, or sesame, requiring little to no inputs. Thus, kutki millet enables farmers to increase their overall farm production, by utilizing areas of land not suitable for other crops, such as rice and wheat. Kutki millet is typically more resistant to pests and diseases than other cereals; however, it is still particularly susceptible to shootfly. Fortunately, various methods have been used by farmers to prevent shootfly, such as early planting, lower planting densities, and intercropping. Yields of kutki millet range from 225-560 kg/ha, and in a good season may even reach up to 900 kg/ha. Furthermore, kutki millet may be stored for long periods of time without suffering insect damage, providing a means of food security and diet diversity to households during shortage periods.

Nutrition value

Small millets, including kutki millet, are low in fat and high in fiber and protein. Kutki millet is particularly high in the sulfur-containing amino acids Cysteine and Methionine, and overall has a more balanced amino acid profile than other cereals. Kutki millet is especially rich in iron, and is also an excellent source of carotene and zinc. Kutki millet also contains antinutrients such as tannins, phosphorous, and phytic acids, which limit nutrient absorption by forming complexes with micronutrients including iron, calcium, and zinc, as well as proteins and carbohydrates. Antinutrient levels are often reduced throughout the processing stage. Dehulling, decortication, and various methods of cooking have been noted to lower antinutrient concentrations.

Health Benefits:

1. Supports Liver Function

An imbalance of pitta is implicated in bile disorders. Kutki can set this right by balancing pitta and improving bile secretion.

Kutki's main claim to fame is as a hepatoprotective agent. As a "yakkrduttejaka," it supports liver function and bile secretion and can help keep your liver enzymes at normal levels. This beneficial effect of the herb on the liver is attributed to components called kutkin or picroliv. Here are some of kutki's promising effects on the liver: Kutki can protect the liver when taken before or after you have been exposed to toxins, including those from alcohol, cigarette smoke, and certain medications. It may help cleanse the liver and work as a treatment for those with cirrhosis of the liver.

2. Boosts Appetite And Helps With Weight Management

On the other side, if you are struggling with a weight problem, kutki can step in there too. It has the ability to boost the digestive fire (aqni), improve metabolism, and keep your bowel movements regular, helping you cut fat accumulation and manage weight better

3. Fights Digestive Problems Like Indigestion, Constipation, And Nausea

Besides improving liver and digestive function, kutki can also help with spleen disorders. Kutki has far-reaching benefits for your digestive system and can help with indigestion or dyspepsia. If your bowel movements have taken a hit, turn to kutki. It has laxative properties, which is why ayurveda uses it to treat constipation. Struggling with nausea and vomiting? Kutki to the rescue again.

4. Boosts Immunity

Kutki can be taken along with licorice to soothe a case of the hiccups. Kutki exhibits immunomodulatory activity in the body, helping recalibrate your immune responses for the better. As one animal study found, kutki extracts were able to bring about a significant increase in lymphocytes, white blood cells that are a vital part of the immune system and fend off infections. Kutki also increased the levels of cell signaling proteins known as cytokines that are involved in maintaining the immune defenses of the body.

5. Fights A Fever

Finely powdered kutki can be mixed with warm water and sugar and given for fevers. A kutki decoction with ghee is also recommended.

The root of the kutki plant, while bitter to taste, is useful for soothing a fever. Its antipyretic properties mean that it can cool the body down, bringing down even a high fever.12

6. Counters Inflammation And Eases Arthritic Pain

Studies on kutki suggest that it inhibits the inflammation associated with arthritis, making it a promising possible therapeutic option for the condition.15 Clinical trials on people with osteoarthritis as well as arthritic pain of the spine (ankylosing spondylitis) have yielded positive results.16

7. Offers Relief From Skin Problems

Ayurveda uses the herb for its antioxidant properties to treat skin disorders.17 It can help soothe skin irritation from dermatitis, fights skin allergies, and also heals skin wounds. Kutki has shown promising outcomes in tackling psoriasis and may even have potential against vitiligo.18 19

8. Is Good For Heart Health

Kutki is also given as a cardiotonic for its health-giving benefits for the heart. How does it help? Because it is antioxidant-rich and can fight inflammation, it is great for your cardiovascular health overall. Its anti-inflammatory components like apocynin can help prevent blockage formation in the arteries and may help you ward off heart attacks.20 Researchers have even suggested its potential use in antithrombotic drugs which act by preventing platelets from clumping and forming clots.21

9. Has Cancer-Fighting Potential

What has also piqued interest in kutki is its anti-neoplastic properties, helping inhibit and even prevent the development of tumors. Kutki helps fight cancer on other fronts too: its antioxidant properties help rein in free radicals implicated in cancer. It also has been seen to induce apoptosis or cell death of tumor cells.22 While it may not replace mainstream treatment anytime soon - or at least until more research is done - it may be a beneficial therapeutic treatment to consider alongside. After you run it by your doctor first, of course.

Traditional uses and benefits of Kodo Millet

  • Beneficial for nervous system: Being high in lecithin, it helps in strengthening nervous system.
  • Prevention of pellagra: Pellagra is a type if skin disease caused due to niacin deficiency, in which skin becomes scaly and rough and starts falling off. Proso millet helps prevention of pellagra.
  • Rich source of calcium: Proso millet has high amount of calcium in absorbable form which is essential for bone growth and maintenance.
  • Phosphorus: It is rich source of phosphorous which is essential for cell building and genetic replication in the body.
  • Reduced risk of Diabetes: Being high in magnesium, it has been proved that regular consumption of millet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, as it keeps a check on glucose and regulates insulin.
  • Help prevents gallstones: The high content of insoluble fiber in the millet helps prevent gallstones and reduces the probbaility of excessive secretion of bile.
  • Anti-ageing properties: It contains antioxidants which delay the ageing process. Anti- oxidants are substances which remove free radicals from your body.
  • It has health benefits for postmenopausal women suffering from heart ailments like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or any cardiovascular disease.
  • It can be added to several dishes, and can be consumed either in whole or cooked form. It can be used in salads, stir fried with vegetables and tofu, or can be eaten in breakfast with milk and honey.