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Broom corn (Sorghum vulgare)


Also listed as: Sorghum vulgare
Related terms

Related Terms
  • Acid phosphatase, amino acids (lysine, tryptophan), ether extract, fiber, glutamine synthetases, Guinea corn, iron, jowar, kunu, molybdenum, phytates, polyphenols, protein, proteinase inhibitors, Sorghum saccharatum (Moench), sorghum seeds, Sorghum vulgare, starch (including amylase), sugars (sucrose, glucose, fructose).

  • Sorghum vulgare, commonly known as broom corn, is thought to have originated in central Africa, though it has been grown in both Africa and Asia for centuries. For many cultures, the grains from broom corn are used to make essential foods, such as flat bread. Broom corn is also used to make kunu, a nonalcoholic cereal beverage commonly consumed in Nigeria. According to a survey, only millet is considered to be a better option for making this beverage.
  • The growth of broom corn was first described in Italy in the 1500s. Approximately 200 years later, Benjamin Franklin may have brought broom corn to the United States. According to secondary sources, Franklin planted a seed that he had found on a small whisk broom given to him by a friend in France. Broom corn was initially grown only in Philadelphia. However, after a man in Massachusetts planted half an acre and began selling brooms, broom corn farming and broom making developed into an important industry.
  • Broom corn has a course, fibrous seed head that has been used to make various types of brooms, whisk brooms, and brushes for hundreds of years. In addition, broom corn is now commonly used to make decorative items, such as wreaths, swags, floral arrangements, baskets, and autumn displays.
  • In addition to being used to make household items, some cultures have used broom corn for nutritional or medicinal purposes. From a nutritional standpoint, it has been observed that the carbohydrate content of broom corn may change as the plant grows, indicating that the nutritional value of broom corn changes as it ages. In addition, one study evaluated the energy balance of adult farmers (both male and female) for whom broom corn is a diet staple. Results showed that, on average, women consumed fewer calories than they burned each day, indicating that diets relying on broom corn may not provide enough energy.
  • Although broom corn has not been well studied in humans from a medicinal standpoint, studies conducted in India have stated that eating broom corn may not protect against the formation of stomach ulcers when an abnormally high amount of stomach acid is present.
  • There is currently a lack of evidence and safety information from human studies to support the use of broom corn for any indication.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)

Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Food uses, nutrition (protein source).


Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for broom corn in adults.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for broom corn in children.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.


  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or sensitivity to broom corn, its components, or members of the Poaceae family. According to preliminary research, broom corn pollen may induce allergic bronchial asthma.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • In general, there is currently a lack of available data on the adverse effects of broom corn. In general, broom corn is considered to be likely safe when consumed as whole food or as an ingredient of food.
  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or sensitivity to broom corn, its constituents, or members of the Poaceae family. According to preliminary research, broom corn pollen may induce allergic bronchial asthma.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Broom corn is not suggested in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence.


Interactions with Drugs

  • Insufficient available evidence.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Insufficient available evidence.

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

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  2. Bleiberg, F. M., Brun, T. A., Goihman, S., and Gouba, E. Duration of activities and energy expenditure of female farmers in dry and rainy seasons in Upper-Volta. Br.J Nutr 1980;43(1):71-82.
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  6. Gaffa, T., Jideani, I. A., and Nkama, I. Traditional production, consumption and storage of Kunu--a non alcoholic cereal beverage. Plant.Foods Hum.Nutr 2002;57(1):73-81.
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  8. Gustafson, G. L. and Gander, J. E. Uridine diphosphate glucose pyrophosphorylase from Sorghum vulgare. Purification and kinetic properties. J Biol.Chem. 3-10-1972;247(5):1387-1397.
  9. Hemalatha, S., Platel, K., and Srinivasan, K. Influence of heat processing on the bioaccessibility of zinc and iron from cereals and pulses consumed in India. J Trace Elem.Med Biol. 2007;21(1):1-7.
  10. Hirel B and Gadal P. Glutamine synthetase isoforms in leaves of a C<sub>4</sub> plant: SORGHUM vulgare. Physiologia Plantarum 1982;54(1):69-74
  11. Jayaraj, A. P., Tovey, F. I., and Clark, C. G. Possible dietary protective factors in relation to the distribution of duodenal ulcer in India and Bangladesh. Gut 1980;21(12):1068-1076.
  12. Kumar A. Chemical examination of SORGHUM vulgare roots. Q.J.Crude Drug Res 1978;16:119-120
  13. Pawar SS. Allergen-specific immunotherapy in SORGHUM vulgare (Jawar) pollen-induced allergic bronchial asthma [Abstract] 2003. The Cochrane Library 2009;(2)
  14. Rengasamy, A., Selvam, R., and Gnanam, A. Isolation and properties of an acid phosphatase from thylakoid membranes of Sorghum vulgare. Arch Biochem.Biophys. 1981;209(1):230-236.
  15. Tuna, E. and Bressani, R. [Chemical composition of 11 varieties of sorghum (Sorghum vulgare) before and after popping the kernels]. Arch Latinoam.Nutr 1992;42(3):291-300.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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