- Finger millet, also known as ragi in India, kodo in Nepal, and kurakkan in Sri Lanka, is an annual herbaceous plant widely grown as a cereal crop in the arid and semiarid areas in Africa and Asia.
- Interesting crop characteristics of finger millet are the ability to withstand cultivation at altitudes over 2000 m above sea level, its high drought tolerance, and the long storage time of the grains.
- Being densely packed with a host of nutrients, finger millet confers valuable health benefits such as enhancing digestion, reducing the risk of heart disease, slowing down ageing and managing diabetes.
- The common English name of Ragi is finger millet, owing to the appearance of the head of the grain comprising five spikes and thus, resembling the five fingers attached to the palm of the hand.
- Finger millet crops are drought-resistant, tolerating slightly acidic to alkaline soils as well.
- Ragi contains considerable quantities of vitamins C and E, to boost immune, skin and hair health.
- The B complex vitamins – thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid as well as calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus are also found in ample amounts in this flour.
- It is composed of certain key amino acids, making it a unique plant-based source of high-quality proteins.
- Finger millet, being organically gluten-free, can easily be substituted for wheat, to prepare chapatis, dosas and sweets or mithais, and is often recommended for patients with celiac disease.
- Finger millet, being a fantastic source of natural calcium, strengthens bones in growing children. It also restores optimum bone density in older people, assisting in alleviating osteoporosis symptoms.