Herb: Foxtail Millet

Latin name: Setaria italica

Family: Gramineae (Grass Family)

Medicinal use of Foxtail Millet:

The germinated seed of yellow-seeded cultivars is astringent, digestive, emollient and stomachic. It is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, poor digestion and food stagnancy in the abdomen. White seeds are refrigerant and used in the treatment of cholera and fever. Green seeds are diuretic and strengthening to virility.

Description of the plant:


45 cm
(1 foot)

August to

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in a truly wild situation.

Edible parts of Foxtail Millet:

Seed - cooked. It can be eaten as a sweet or savoury food in all the ways that rice is used, or ground into a flour and made into porridge, cakes, puddings etc. The seed can also be sprouted before it is used, when it will become somewhat sweeter. A nutritional analysis is available.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually quick and good. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on fast. Plant them out in late spring, after the last expected frosts. Whilst this is fine for small quantities, it would be an extremely labour intensive method if larger amounts were to be grown. The seed can be sown in situ in the middle of spring though it is then later in coming into flower and may not ripen its seed in a cool summer.

Cultivation of Foxtail Millet:

Not known in a truly wild situation.

Known hazards of Setaria italica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.