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Family Gramineae / Poaceae
Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv.

Huang su

Scientific names Common names
Alopecurus caudatus Thunb. Bikakau (Ilk.)
Chaetochloa germanica (Mill.) Smyth Borona (Pamp.)
Chaetochloa italica (L.) Scribn. Bukakau (Ilk.)
Chamaeraphis italica (L.) Kuntze Daua (Tag., C. Bis., P. Bis.)
Echinochloa erythrosperma Roem. & Schult. Rautnokara (Iv.)
Echinochloa intermedia Roem. & Schult. Sabug (Ig.)
Ixophorus italicus (L.) Nash Sammang (Bon.)
Oplismenus intermedium (Hornem.) Kunth Turai (Sul.)
Panicum chinense Trin. Common millet (Engl.)
Panicum erythrospermum Vahl ex Hornem. Italian millet (Engl.)
Panicum germanicum Mill. Japanese millet (Engl.)
Panicum globulare (J.Presl) Steud. Foxtail bristlegrass (Engl.)
Panicum intermedium Vahl ex Hornem. Foxtail millet (Engl.)
Panicum italicum Linn. Rice sprout (Engl.)
Panicum itieri (Delile) Steud.  
Panicum macrochaetum (Jacq.) Link  
Panicum maritinum Lam.  
Panicum moharicum (Alef.) E.H.L.Krause  
Panicum panis (Jess.) Jess.  
Paspalum germanicum (Mill.) Baumg.  
Penicillaria italica (L.) Oken  
Penisetum erythrospermum (Vahl ex Hornem.) Jacq.  
Setaria californica Kellogg  
Setaria erythrosperma (Vahl ex Hornem.) Spreng.  
Setaria germanica (Mill.) P.Beauv.  
Setaria globulare J.Presl  
Setaria globularis J.Presl  
Setaria itieri Delile  
Setaria japonica Pynaert  
Setaria macrochaeta (Jacq.) Schult.  
Setaria maritima (Lam.) Roem. & Schult.  
Setaria melinis Link ex Steud.  
Setaria moharica Menabde & Erizin  
Setaria multiseta Dumort.  
Setaria panis Jess.  
Setariopsis italica (L.) Samp.  
Setaria italica (L.) P.Beauv. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Xiao mi, Bai liang mi, Huang liang mi, Qing liang mi, Gu zi, Gu ya, Su mi, Huang su.
DANISH: Kolbehirse.
DUTCH: Vogelgierst, Trosgierst.
ESTONIAN: Itaalia kukeleib.
FINNISH: Italianpantaheinä, Tähkähirssi .
FRENCH: Millet d'Italie, Sétaire d'Italie, Millet d'oiseau, Millet des oiseaux, Panic d'Italie, Petit mil.
GERMAN: Italienische Borstenhirse, Kolbenhirse, Fennich (Switzerland).
INDIA: Kakun, Kanguni.
ITALIAN: Panico, Panico d'Italia, Panico degli uccelli, Pabbio coltivato (Switzerland).
JAPANESE: Awa, Awami (grain).
KANNADA: Navane.
NEPALESE: Kaguno, Kagunu, Kaun, Kauni.
POLISH: Wonica ber.
PORTUGUESE: Milho painço, Milho painço de Itália.
RUSSIAN: Shchetinnik ital'ianskii.
SPANISH: Panizo de Italia, Mijo menor, Mijo de Italia, Mijo de pajaros.
SRI LANKAN: Thana hai.
SWEDISH: Kolvhirs.
TAMIL: Thenai.
TELUGU: Korralu.
THAI: Khao fang.
TURKISH: Çin darı ,

Daua is a grass with stems that are erect, simple or branching at the base, 0.9 to 1.5 meters high, 3 to 8 millimeters in diameter. Leaves are lanceolate, 20 to 40 centimeters long, 1.5 to 3 centimeters wide. Panicles are 8 to 20 centimeters long. Bristles are 1 to 3, often shorter than the spikelets. Spikelets are elliptical, slightly convex, 2.5 to 3 millimeters long.

- Introduced.
- Scattered cultivation throughout the Philippines.

- Cultivated in all warm countries.

- Considered diuretic, astringent, emollient,
appetizer, digestive, stomachic and refrigerant.

- Studies have suggest alpha-amylase inhibiting, anti-lipase, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antihyperglycemic, hypolipidemic, antimicrobial, hepatotoxic properties.

- Microbiological analyses showed this millet cereal to be deficient in lysine but high in tryptophan content.
- Seeds yield: 384 calories/100 g; water, 0%; protein 10.7 g; fat 3.3 g; carbohydrates 84.2 g; fiber 1.4 g; ash 1.8 g; minerals (calcium 37 mg, phosphorus 275, iron 6.2mg, sodium 8 mg, potassium 281mg); vitamin B1 (thiamine) 0.48mg; vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 0.14mg: niacin 2.48 mg. (
- Leaves yielded two coumarins: 6,7-dimethoxycoumarin and 5,8-dimethoxycoumarin. (see study below)
- Millet nutrition analysis (1 cup cooked millet): 286 calories, 2.4 g total fat, 0.4 g saturated fat, 0.4 g monosaturated fat, 1.2 g polysaturated fat, 3.1 g dietary fiber, 8 g protein, 57 g carbohydrate, 0 g cholesterol, 5 mg sodium, 0.3 mg thiamin, 3.2 mg niacin, 106 mg magnesium, 2.2 mg zinc.
- Proximate composition (%) of foxtail millet bran yielded 8.47 ±0.16 moisture, 12.93 ±0.21 protein, 9.63±0.15 fat, 7.78±0.20 ash, 42.56±0.15 fiver, 18.63±0.87 carbohydrate. Deffated FMB yielded 7.51 moisture, 14.82 protein, 9.63 fat, 7.78 ash, 42.56 fiber, 18.63 carbohydrate. (see study below)

- In a study for antioxidant potency, phytochemicals like alkaloids, phenolics, reducing sugars, and flavonoids were found only in methanolic and aqueous extracts, while tannins were present in all solvent extracts of whole flour and bran-rich fraction. (see study below) (24)


- Seeds are cooked and can be eaten in all ways rice is used, or ground into flour for use in cakes, puddings, etc.
- In China, grain used as emollient and astringent for diarrhea and cholereic affections.
- In India, considered diuretic and astringent; used for rheumatism.
- Seed used for treatment of dyspepsia and indigestion. White seeds used for cholera and fever. Green seeds used as diuretic and strengthening virility. (
- In Pakistan, reported tribal use of seeds, crushed and mixed with ghee in form of a cake and eaten for sexual vigor and potency. Tribal ladies use a bark decoction of Acacia modesta and oil of Setaria in a mixture as contraceptive tonic. Also used to increase fertility in both males and females.
- In
India, used for promoting vigor and treatment of bone fracture.
(11) In Chhattisgarh, cooked grains used to treat diarrhea. In combination with other herbs/grasses used as sex tonic. Externally, as aqueous paste, used to treat swellings. Used alone or in combination with other herbs for the treatment of dysuria. (17) In the Aurangabad district of India, decoction of whole plant taken internally for rheumatism; also used to decrease the pains of parturition. (18)
- Seeds used for treatment of diabetes.

- In Western Himalaya, mixed with cow's curd for treatment of measles. (19)
- In Chinese medicine, Pinellia and millet soup, a simple mix of Pinella rhizoma and Setaria italica, used for the treatment of insomnia. (

- Food and Fodder: Cultivated in Asia for food, and in the U.S. for fodder.
- Erosion control:
Can be sown in contour strips for erosion control. (23)
- Thatching: Straw can be used for thatching and bedding. (23)
- Oil: Bran yields 9% oil and can be used for oil extraction. (23)

Chemical Composition / Digestibility Study:
Analysis of 12 cultivars of Setaria italica showed the ash and fiber content to be comparable to other millets while protein and calcium are slightly higher. In vitro digestibility studies showed it was high in pepsin and low in trypsin. (2)
Anti-Lipase Activity: In a search of a new pancreatic lipase inhibitor from natural sources, 75 medicinal plants were screened for anti-lipase activity. Three plants exhibited strong in vitro anti-lipase activity (>80%): Eriochloa villosa, Orixa japonica and Setaria italica. (3)
Antioxidant / Anti-inflammatory: Administration of an ethanolic extract of S. italica in acute carrageen-induced rheumatoid female rats significantly reduced the levels of cathepsin, uric acid, LDH, ALT and AST as well as increased the levels of antioxidants in serum, liver and kidney tissue. Results showed effective control of scavenging free radicals and potent antioxidant promoting ability probably due to the presence of flavonoids and alkaloids. (4)
Glucose Lowering / Lipid Benefits: Study showed the supplementation of low GI foxtail millet biscuits cause a significant reduction of baseline serum glucose, serum cholesterol and LDL with a 19.68% reduction of glycosylated hemoglobin. Results suggest the millets have a potential protective role in the management of diabetes. (5)
Antimicrobial Activity / Coumarins / Leaves: Study of leaves yielded two coumarins: 6,7-dimethoxycoumarin and 5,8-dimethoxycoumarin. Screening for antimicrobial activity showed moderate activity against different strains of bacteria and fungi. (12)
Silver Nanoparticles / Antimicrobial / Husk: Study reports on a simple and eco-friendly synthesis of silver nanoparticles using Setaria italica husk. Antimicrobial activity was studied against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial, Staphylococcus and Escherichia coli sps., respectively. (14)
Anti-Inflammatory / Neuropharmacological / Seed: Study evaluated an ethanolic extract of Setaria italica seeds for possible anti-inflammatory and neuropharmacological activities in rats and mice. Results showed strong anti-inflammatory activity with inhibition of carrageenan-induced paw edema. Studies demonstrated neuropharmacological properties with prominent CNS depressant activity in Hole-cross test, significant suppression of movement in Open-field test. (15)
Antihyperglycemic / Hypolipidemic / Seeds: Study evaluated the antihyperglycemic and hypolipidemic potential of S. italica seeds in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Results showed a significant drop in blood glucose levels in diabetic rats with lower levels of HbA1c. The extract also exhibited significant hypolipidemic effect evidenced by lower levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL and VLDL, with an increase in HDL cholesterol levels. The activities could be due to the presence of alkaloids or glycosides as active principles. (16)
Antioxidant Potential of Defatted Foxtail Millet Bran: Study evaluated the antioxidant efficacious DFMB extract using DPPH, ABTS, superoxide radical and reducing power. The highest inhibitory concentration (IC50) on DPPH, ABTS, and superoxide radicals were in the range of 0.131±0.002, 0.795±0.003, and 0.158±0.009 mg/ml. Total phenolic content ranged from 21.49±3.26 to 29.39±1.36 gallic acid equivalent (GAE)/100 g extract. Phenolic content and antioxidant activity in DFMB extracts were significantly correlated (p,0.05). A 50% ethanol extract from DFMB showed the most phenolic compound with substantial antioxidant activity. (see constituents above) (22) Antioxidants were extracted using methanol, ethanol, and water. Methanolic extracts of whole flour and bran-rich fractions exhibited significantly higher (p<0.05) radical scavenging activity (44.62% and 51.80%, respectively) using DPPH and reducing power assays (0.381 and 0.455, respectively) at 2 mg. (see constituents above) (24)
• Antimicrobial / Hypoglycemic / Seeds: Ethanolic crude extract of S. italica seeds and fractions were evaluated for possible antimicrobial (disc diffusion method), hypoglycemic (oral glucose tolerance test) and antidiarrheal (castor oil-induced diarrhea method) effects in albino mice. The EE showed good antimicrobial activity against Gram-negative bacteria with 9-13 mm zone of inhibition compared to ciprofloxacin at 40-41 mm. A chloroform fraction showed promising hypoglycemic property. Antidiarrheal effect was not significant. (25)
• Water Activity in Grains / Storage Safety: Water activity (aW) provides information on microbial spoilage, chemical stability, and physical stability of grains. Study evaluated the water activity in millet grains for microbial growth. Six samples showed aW range of 0.445-0.517. The range of aW at which microbial growth occurs in food grains is 0.97 to0.76 for bacterial and 0.93-0.61 for molds and yeast. Results suggest the grains are safe from microbial contamination and fit for consumption when stored at room temperature under dry conditions. (26)
• Grain Oil Extraction: Study reports on a supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) of foxtail millet bran oil (FMBO) using Box-Behnken central composite design combined with response surface methodology (RSM). Maximum oil yield under optimum condition was 7.97%. The FBMO obtained from SFE showed a much lower phospholipid (0.188 mg/g) content, a higher content of total sterols (1.55%), along with a preferable color. Results suggest a promising nutritional source for food fortification. (27)
• Alpha-Amylase Inhibitors / Anti-Diabetic Potential: Alpha amylase is an enzyme that breaks down starch or glycogen. Prevention of glucose absorption in the human GI tract by inhibition of activity of carbohydrate-hydrolyzing enzymes ( a-amylase and a-glucosidase) is a strategy for control of postprandial hyperglycemia. Study suggests the use of S. italica flour has significant dose-dependent a-amylase inhibitory activity with potential for development for use in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). (28)
• Hepatotoxicity Photosensitization / Renal Failure / Sheep and Goats: Photosensitivity, an abnormal skin reaction to sunlight exposure, can be caused by failure to excrete phylloerythrin due to hepatic dysfunction. Foxtail millet feeding can induce hepatotoxic photosensitization with effects on various organs. This study evaluated the renal function and serum electrolyte status in twelve sheep and goats experimentally feeding on foxtail millet. In three sheep showed clinical signs of hypersensitivity with increases in creatinine, magnesium, sodium and potassium concentration, along with histopatholical changes in the kidney. Results suggest feeding with foxtail millet can cause renal dysfunction and changes in some serum electrolytes. (29)

- Wild-crafted.
- Products and supplements in the cybermarket.

Updated January 2019 / September 2016

IMAGE SOURCE / File:Japanese Foxtail millet 01.jpg / 18 August 2012 / STRONGlk7 / Click on image to go to source page / Creative Commons Attribution /Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 1: 166. Courtesy of Kentucky Native Plant Society / UDSA

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Setaria italica - (L.)P.Beauv. / Plants For A Future
Chemical composition and in vitro protein digestibility of Italian millett (Setaria italica) / P Vincent Monteiro et al / Food Chemistry, Volume 29, Issue 1, 1988, Pages 19-26 / doi:10.1016/0308-8146(88)90072-6 |
Screening of some medicinal plants for anti-lipase activity / Niti Sharma, Vinay Sharma and Sung-Yum Seo / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 97, Issue 3, 21 March 2005, Pages 453-456 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.11.009 |
PROTECTIVE EFFECT OF SETARIA ITALICA ON CARRAGEENAN INDUCED ARTHRITIC RATS / Gani Sharmila Banu, Kumaravel Palanisamy et al / Journal of Herbal Medicine and Toxicology
/ Anju Thathola, Sarita Srivastava, Gurmukh Singh / Diabetologia Croatica 40-1, 2011
Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv. / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Sorting Setaria names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.
Physicochemical studies of starch from foxtail millet (Setaria italica Beauv.)
/ S Fujita, Y Sugimoto, Y Yamashita, H Fuwa / Food Chemistry, Volume 55, Issue 3, March 1996, Pages 209–213
An Ethnomedicinal Inventory of Plants used for Family Planning and Sex Diseases Treatment in Samahni Valley, (A.K.) Pakistan / Ch. Muhammad Ishtiaq, M A Khan, and Wajahat Hanif / Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 9: 2546-2555. / DOI: 10.3923/pjbs.2006.2546.2555
Two New Coumarins from Setaria italica Leaves and Study of Their Antimicrobial Activity / Raj Nath Yadava and Neeru Jain / Asian Journal of Chemistry, Vol 7, No 4, 1995,pp 795-797
Setaria italica / Synonyms / The Plant List
Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles Using Setaria italica (Foxtail Millets) Husk and Its Antimicrobial Activity / B. Venkataramana, S. Siva Sankar, A. Sai Kumar and B. Vijaya Kumar Naidu / Research Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 5: 6-15. / DOI: 10.3923/rjnn.2015.6.15
Anti-inflammatory and Neuropharmacological activities of the seed extract of Setaria italica
/ Tumpa Dasgupta, Saikat Kumar Poddar, Amlan Ganguly, Nazmul Qais. / J App Pharm Sci. 2016; 6(5): 193-197 / doi: 10.7324/JAPS.2016.60530
Antihyperglycemic and hypolipidemic activities of Setaria italica seeds in STZ diabetic rats / Yallanki Sireesha, Ramesh Babu Kasetti, Shaik Abdul Nabi, Sirasanagandla Swapna, Chippada Apparao / Pathophysiology, April 2012; Vol 18, Issue 2: pp 159-164 / doi:10.1016/j.pathophys.2010.08.003
Kakun (Setaria italica) as medicinal herb in Chhattisgarh, India / Pankaj Oudhi
Ethno-medicinal wisdom of tribals of Aurangabad district (M.S.), India / Prashant Y Mali and Vijay V Bhadane* / Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources Vol. 2(1), March 2011, pp. 102-109
Nutrition : Foxtail Millet :Korralu (Telugu), Navane (Kannada), Thenai (Tamil) / Satya Sarada Kandula / Ancient Indians-Satya Samhita
Herbal treatment of insomnia / YK Wing / HKMJ Vol 7 No 4 December 2001
Chemical analysis and antioxidant properties of foxtail millet bran extracts
/ Issoufou Amadou, Tidjani Amza, Yong-Hui Shi2 and Guo-Wei Le / Songklanakarin J. Sci. Technol., Sept-Oct 2011; 33(5): pp 509-515
Setaria italica / Useful Tropical Plants
Antioxidant activity of extracts from foxtail millet (Setaria italica) / Florence Suma, Asna Urooj / Journal of Food Science & Technology-Mysore, August 2012; 49(4): pp 500-504 / DOI: 10.1007/s13197-011-0300-9
Evaluation of Anti-microbial, Hypoglycemic and Anti-diarrheal activities of Setaria italica Seeds / Tumpa Dasgupta, Amian Ganguly, Muhammad Asaduzzaman, Nazmul Qals / Dhaka University Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2016; 15(1): pp 31-35 / https://doi.org/10.3329/dujps.v15i1.29190
Determination of water activity in Foxtail millet (Setaria italica) grains for storage safety / Giridhar Goudar, Kamatar MY, and Meghana DR / Journal of Food Processing & Technology / DOI: 10.4172/2157-7110.S1.011
Optimization and evaluation of foxtail millet (Setaria italica) bran oil by supercritical carbon dioxide extraction / M. Pang, S.J. He, L.L. Cao and S.T. Jiang / Grasas y Aceites: Internation Journal of Fats and Oils, 2015; 66(4)
Proteinaceous α-amylase inhibitors of Setaria italica Linn (Co-6) and its effect on α-amylase from human saliva and Bacillus sp / Vinoth Kumar Thirumalairaj, Pamala Auxlin Anitha, Geetharamani Durairaj, Sudha G Menon, Lakshmanasenthil Shanmugaasokan / Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, Dec 2014; Vol. 4 (12): pp 26-29 / DOI: 10.7324/JAPS.2014.41205
Is there any association between renal failure and hepatotoxic photosensitization caused by feeding foxtail millet (Setaria italica) in sheep and goats? / Arash Omidi, Fateme Izadi Yazdanabadl, Ukabed Esmaeilpour / Veterinary Science Development, 2016; 6(1) /  DOI https://doi.org/10.4081/vsd.2016.6168

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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