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Common Name: European Millet
Panicum milliaceum is an annual plant that can grow up to 1.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
N. Africa - Ethiopia to Asia. A casual in Britain.
Waste places in Britain[
Requires a moderately fertile well-drained soil in full sun[
]. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[
]. Tolerates heat and also drought when it is established[
European millet is frequently cultivated in warm temperate and sub-tropical zones for its edible seed, there are many named varieties[
]. Cultivation in Britain is somewhat problematic, the plants require good summers to do well and a dry period in late summer is required in order to ripen and dry the seed. We have had fairly good results on our trial grounds in Cornwall by starting the seed off early in a greenhouse, though this is a fairly labour-intensive method and therefore much less efficient than growing the more traditional temperate zone cereals[
]. Yields are also considerably lower than other cereals that can be grown in this country, although the nutritional value of millets is said to be superior to wheat, oats, etc[
Seed - cooked as a whole grain or ground into a powder and used as a flour for making breads, pasta and fermented foods such as 'tempeh'[
]. A nutty flavour, it is more easily digested than many cereals because its high alkaline content counteracts acids[
]. It is also free of gluten and so, although bread made from it does not rise, the cereal is suitable for people with coeliacs disease or other gluten intolerances[
]. The seed can also be sprouted and added to salads, soups etc[
]. The seed contains about 10% protein, 4% fat[
The seed is cooling and demulcent[
]. The cooked seed is applied as a poultice for abscesses, sores etc whilst juice from chewed seeds is applied to children's sores[
]. The seed is also incinerated and mixed with oil then used as a poultice that is said to heal sores without leaving a scar[
A decoction of the root is used as an antidote to poisoning by Momordica spp, it is also used to treat haematuria in women and as a bath for skin eruptions[
A starch from the seed is a substitute for corn starch (Zea mays). It is used for sizing textiles[
The leaves are a source of fibre used in paper making[
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within a week. Prick out the seedlings into trays or individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts[