Millets – Jowar, Bajra And Ragi (gluten intolerance and aama)

Millets include jowar (great millet), bajra (pearl millet), ragi (finger millet), arke (kodo millet) and there are more but these are the most prominent. These are available in Indian markets and in bulk areas of most natural food markets in the form of cracked grain and also flour forms.

millet collage

These days with the gluten intolerance fiasco, I am surprised that these little guys have not caught on. They are gluten free, which in Ayurveda lingo just means that they are light and easy to digest. Gluten intolerance means YOUR digestion is inadequate to deal with heavier foods that one puts into the system and/or the combinations that are incompatible (read posts on incompatible foods/virudhahara), and gluten is heavy and harder to digest. Just taking those heavier foods out of the diet is not the answer.

More on the gluten intolerance:
Please show me anyone at all with ‘gluten intolerance’ that has not been eating so much of their foods made from refined flour, refined sugar and refined oils. I have only met these people as far as ‘gluten intolerance’ goes or people that have destroyed their own health thru following every crazy idea in health they can find. I have never met anything else when it comes to gluten intolerance. Now I am also not stating that the pesticides and fertilizers used in our agricultural industry is not part of this. I am not stating that at all.

Heavier foods are intimately connected to the building and strength of the body and its ‘immune system’. This is why we see those that have gluten intolerance also having ‘immune’ deficiency problems as well. According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, 18 million Americans have gluten sensitivity. And since latest research by the man who created the term gluten intolerance has back stepped and stated that there is no such thing as gluten intolerance disproving his prior research that created a insane 15 billion dollar industry based in fear and ignorance, the point above is noted.  You can read more and have other links to research here From an Ayurvedic view, much of everything going on is ludicrous and it simply comes down to a very unhealthy digestive system of the individual. Stop putting the blame on the external. Look inward. Its not the substances but the lack of knowledge and awareness of the individual. On this blog you can learn basics of how to eat to the seasons as well as what agni is. This is the place to start, not doing a Western cleanse or supposed Ayurveda detox. Educate is the answer. Changing to a long term proper diet over time is needing education. 

As per Western Med, wheat allergy is an adverse immunologic reaction to wheat proteins, a classic food allergy affecting the skin, gastrointestinal tract or respiratory tract.
Celiac disease is an immune-mediated enteropathy (intestinal disease) triggered in susceptible individuals by the ingestion of gluten. The onset of symptoms is usually gradual and characterized by a time lag of months or years after gluten introduction.
Doctors diagnose gluten sensitivity when both allergic (wheat allergy) and autoimmune mechanisms (celiac disease) have been ruled out through diagnosis by exclusion criteria; individuals who experience distress when ingesting gluten may be considered as having gluten sensitivity.

About 15 million Americans have food allergies, including nearly six million children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. There is a wide variance of percentages that people are stating if you were to research but the fact remains the same, we are devastatingly unhealthy as Americans and everyone has a cure or the correct new way of treating these problems……. supposedly. What furthers the confusion is that we really have no knowledge of what or how to eat that has any time testing and we have lost any intelligence into what is healthy as it has all turned into a matter of opinion and generalizations. Look at how many diets are out there. As an example, I googled “health of millet” just for kicks. Try it for yourself. Google millet here. You will be amazed at all the misinformation and the scientific research showing that millets are the most healthful thing to eat Health Benefits of MilletMore health benefits,  as well as others showing it is the most unhealthy… everyone has an opinion. This is the Western world of health. It’s crazy out there but it doesn’t need to be.

Example the Paleo Diet Paleo’s Millet Rant (Paleo has the masses enthralled for the moment) says that millet is horrible to eat and causes disease. Lol. And India itself has lived off of millets for how many centuries up to about 50 years ago when their diet started to follow western trends and Western diseases started to become prevalent?????? In a bigger picture we start to see the fads and the ridiculous research for what it is. It is limited to Western ideas and theories with no knowledge of anything else but that Western paradigm of what is thought at the moment.

Gotta read this one….. I share this authors experience


The pathogenesis of gluten intolerance is correlated with the concept of formation Ama (undigested residue) formation due to deranged Agni/Digestive fire. Intake of incompatible food, untimely food, faulty diet habits deranges that Agni. This Agni then deranged becomes unable to digest even the light food and the food being undigested gets toxic leading to the formation of Aama. This is also the formation of allergies.

Let’s say you have a big party. After having the meal all the partakers fall ill. Something was probably wrong with the food. If only one person becomes ill then that individual is at fault, not the food. Pretty clear? Allergy is caused by the ‘antigen’ which is unfamiliar to the body. When antigenic material – ama is formed and in the tissues, the cells lose their ability to function properly like they lose their innate intelligence. Just as ama created from improper digestion of food can disturb the alertness and agitate the emotions, disturbed emotions can undermine the digestion and create ama, which then incites the “immune system” to react against it. The continuous presence of ama in the system creates a condition of permanent immune alert called allergy. In the case of it not being dealt with and treated, it turns into a deeper disease that is a secondary disease created from the first. This is also a superficial look at Ayurveda’s explanation of cancers.

Gluten intolerance symbolizes imbalance of Doshas and Agni. Gluten is heavy and more difficult to digest requiring strong Agni to process it. It is also a substance that builds the body when digestion of it is proper. If there is weak digestive fire, the gluten remains undigested or improperly digested = ama or morbid metabolic waste product.

Don’t think that an elimination diet of just replacing your current diet of processed bread, processed pasta and processed cookies with a diet of more processed gluten-free bread, pasta and cookies will help you. In fact, there are new studies showing the diseases that are being created by people following gluten-free diets that have no need to be just because it is a popular fad. It won’t do you any good in the long run. Ayurveda gives a new ray of hope for those who are suffering from gluten intolerance. Simple Ayurvedic advice, balanced diet, exercise, yoga help to enjoy better digestion and absorption whole life, thereby helps to overcome gluten intolerance.

When imbalanced Doshas get associated with Ama the symptoms are: Obstruction of the channels, pores, loss of strength, feeling of heaviness of the body, inactivity of Anila-vata, laziness, lassitude, loss of digestive power, Person spits saliva frequently, more of expectoration, constipation or low frequency of urination leading to accumulation of wastes, loss of taste, exhaustion
The opposites of these symptoms are when the Doshas are not mixed up with the Aama.

Soon after/in the digestion process, the useful nutrition part gets separated from the waste. The useful, nutrition-rich part is called as rasa dhatu.
Due to lack of digestion strength, the rasa dhatu does not form well, it remains in raw, weak, undigested or uncooked form. It gets vitiated, it stays in the Aamashaya (stomach and intestines) itself, and becomes ‘Aama’.

Aama in disease
All diseases are various types of inflammation. ~ Vagbhata

Aama triggers – Resulting in
G.I response -Vomiting, diarrhea etc.
Low grade inflammation – Fevers, flus etc.
Organic inflammation – Hepatitis, gastritis etc.
Immune response – Auto immune inflammation
Degeneration – MND etc.

So what to do???

From an Ayurvedic perspective, the actual cause is totally being missed. It is oneself. It is what one is eating, how one is eating…. eating it, the combinations of food that one eating and the lifestyle one is living, all leading to the digestive problems that have been there for a very long time to get to the point of having disease and allergies to foods. A food, which may as well be labelled as the newest superfood, may be the most impeccable medicine but it is also the most deadly poison in the hands of the ignorant when it is used or combined improperly. Hard to swallow for most people, pun intended.

The solution…… Stop eating processed foods. Yes, those gluten-free products are also processed. Get rid of them. Eat lighter but eat foods that are easier to digest, prepared in a way that makes them easy to digest, with no bizarre combinations of other foods. Make it simple. You can learn easily over a matter of a short period of time just from Ayurveda articles on this blog about eating wholesome and healthfully and proper food combining.

Ultimately, the ama needs to be dealt with the dosha needs to be dealt with and is done best thru proper panchakarma treatments.

Fixing the digestion and the system is the answer which is much more complicated than doing a week of eating kitchari. In general, Ayurveda isn’t the kitchari week cleanse that you are buying into. Proper Ayurveda would look more like

Removing cause       Remove anything aggravates directly or indirectly
Handling stress       Removing triggers / dissolving stress / distracting with meditation etc.
Upgrading lifestyle  In order to boost balam (prana, tejas and ojas)
Restoring gut            Suitable techniques to clear gut and restore its functions
Cleansing tissues     Suitable techniques to break aama down, flush it out of the tissues
Cleansing body         Break aama down, flush it out of the system with….

                              The Stomach > Vamana.

                              The Small intestine > Purgation.

                              The Large intestine > Bastis.

Rejuvenation and Rebuilding          Thru proper specific dietary changes and medicines
Reintroducing         Normal, healthy factors that were removed in the beginning.

One can start by eating lighter, here is a start with millet. There are links below as well to other posts with videos of preparation included.


Jowar/ Millet / Sorghum has the following qualities…
Rasa: Astringent and sweet
Virya: Cooling
Vipaka: Sweet

Qualities: Drying, absorbant and light to digest

Actions on the doshas: Increases Vata, balances Kapha and Pitta


Bajra (pearl Millet) has the following qualities…

Rasa : Madhura, Kashāya
Guna : Rūksha, Guru
Vīrya : Ushna
Vipāka : Amla
Karma : Balya, Durjara, Hrdya, Kaphavātahara, Pittahara, Pustvahara, Vātakara

Prameha (seen as diabetes and is really a metabolic disorder), Shaitya (coldness), Santarpaajanya roga (disorders due to obesity), Sthaulya (obesity)

Ragi – red smaller grain – nasini – has potential to increase vata. Jowar compared to wheat will increase vata, but less so than ragi.


Ragi (Finger Millet) has the following qualities…

Rasa : Madhura, Tikta, Kashaya
Guna : Laghu
Virya : Shita
Vipaka : Madhura
Karma : Pittahara (anti pitta), Vrishya (aphrodisiac), Tridoshashamaka (balances all doshas), Raktadoshahara (balances the blood), Rasayana (rejuvenative)

THERAPEUTIC USES – Shvasa, Kasa (cough), Trshna (thirst), Karapada Daha (burning sensation in palm-foot sole), Vrkkashmari (kidney stones), Jvaropdrava (Metabolic problems during fever)


Kodo Millet

Rasa : Madhura, Kashaya
Guna : Laghu, Ruksha
Virya : Shita
Vipaka : Katu
Karma : Grahi (holding of and dry the moisture of the body), Kaphahara (anti kapha), Pittahara (Anti pitta), Lekhana (scraping), Vishaghana (destroys poison)

THERAPEUTIC USES – Nadivrana (Sinus occuring in anal region), Prameha (diabetes), Raktapitta (bleeding diseases), Vrana (healing of wounds), Atisthaulya (obesity), Annadravashula (gastric ulcers) , Medovrddhi (Excessive accumulation of fat), Jalodara (ascites or fluid accumulation in the abdomen)





Jowar Roti Recipe

The bread is about 6″ diameter, thickness of a Nickel (5¢ coin). Normally, thinly sliced mild onions and fresh Cayenne peppers are added to the dough.


Jowar Atta (Sorghum flour): 2 Cups
Salt: ¼ teaspoon
Scallions finely chopped including the bulb and green:2
Serrano finely chopped: 2
Warm water (near 115ºF): 1¼ Cup
Melted Ghee: 1 Tablespoon

Mix salt, Atta, Scallions, and or Serrano.
Stir Ghee in the warm water.
Make a mound of flour. With a finger, make a well in the flour mound. Add warm water and start mixing dough and knead. If the dough is too sticky, add 1 Table spoon of flour. If the dough is too hard, add up to one Tablespoon of water (one teaspoon at a time) to get the right consistency.
Gather dough in to a ball. Cover with damp kitchen towel or a plastic film. Let it rest 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature.

Make a 6″ diameter cookie about the about the thickness of a Nickel (5¢ coin) to bake each bread. The lack of gluten makes it very difficult to roll out dough. Traditionally, the dough is rolled out by hand without a rolling pin, there is a video in another post of this.

Pinch dough to form it into a ball

This is another way….put down one wax paper. Baste the wax paper with melted Ghee or oil.
Put the dough ball on the greased wax paper. Try to spread out patty as much as you like by hand.
Grease and put the second wax paper on top of the patty.
Use a rolling pin to roll out dough to form the round cookie of desired diameter.
Slowly peel-off the top sheet of wax paper. The exposed surface is skin surface.
Lift the dough cookie with the bottom paper intact. Transfer the cookie on to hot griddle with skin surface down.
Slowly peel off the wax paper
Heat the griddle (Tawa). Use a cooler than the temperature used to bake wheat Roti.
During the cooking, take a very wet napkin and dab water upon the roti.
Can try to flip the roti but it is not necessary, it should cook thru from one side.



Bajra Roti Recipe

Bajra is pearl Millet. This is a gluten free. The bread is about 6″ diameter, thickness of a Nickel

Pearl Millet Flour (Bajra Atta): 2 Cups
Salt: ¼ teaspoon
Warm water (near 115ºF): 1¼ Cup
Melted Ghee

Mix salt and Millet flour. Make a mound. With a finger, make a well in the flour mound. Add warm water and start mixing dough and knead. If the dough is too sticky, add 1 Table spoon of flour. If the dough is too hard, add up to one Tablespoon of water (one teaspoon at a time) to get the right consistency.
Gather dough in to a ball. Cover with damp kitchen towel or a plastic film. Let it rest 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature.

follow the same instructions as above in the Jawar Roti instructions


Methi Chapati 

(great for spring)

Boil fenugreek leaves, puree one bunch with water to make it soupy
Wheat flour
Add a bit of salt
Turmeric and roasted cumin powder
(Great for diabetics and medoroga)

Can use either Ragi or Bajra
1 cup flour
Fresh ginger
Coriander leaves
Add a bit of mustard oil so the pancake holds together


Ragi/millet pancake batter

Add in a bowl: ragi, turmeric, roasted cumin powder, coriander leaves, grated ginger.

(2nd version) special sweet version for hemanta ritu

dry roast the ragi flour, add jaggery/sugar, milk



Ragi Roti Recipe

Low calorie, high protein, gluten free flat bread made from Ragi. Ragi is a type of Millet. In South India, Ragi is given to pregnant woman, nursing woman, and children

Ragi flour: 1 Cup
Salt: ¼ teaspoon
Finely chopped onions: 2 Cups
Serrano finely chopped: 2
Fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped: 1″
Boiling hot water: as needed

Mix salt and flour well
Add onions, pepper, and finger
Add enough hot water to make dough like consistency
Divide in to 8 equal parts. Roll each part into a ball.
Heat a non-stick flat pan. Press each ball in to a thin cookie on the non-stick surface. Cook about one to two minutes. Turn over carefully and cook about one more minute. Repeat till all the Roti are cooked.

You can also mix millets with rice or add millet flour to idli/dosa batter or roti dough. There are many ways of cooking these millets.

25 thoughts on “Millets – Jowar, Bajra And Ragi (gluten intolerance and aama)

  1. Thanks a zillion, Sire!

    Question: You list bajra as vatahara(Kaphavātahara) and Vātakara. Is this a typo? Also I was always told bajra is hot and increases pitta so we always eat it in winter in India. Could you elaborate a bit more on this?

    • As per its madhura, kashaya rasa and ruksha guna. As per the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia put out by the Gov’t of India, this is the information. I do understand what you mean and also agree that as per its use in the culture, I would agree. My apologies as I put the post together quickly and late at night as to post it for your request. Most of the posts that come up were written a longer time previous and are set to post on certain dates in the future. When i get time to write, I write several and just set them to post automatically scheduled. Thank you sir. I would need to look into it deeper to see if it is an actual typo or correct. That would take more time.

  2. I had prepared a health mix by adding all the ingredients(ragi, jowar, millet, barley, wheat, green gram, ground nut, etc) that I had thought and heard as good for health. I have been feeding these to my kids 1 cup daily. Am i doing the right thing? If not, could you please post a recipe for preparing the same. I also don’t mind about seasons, just given them daily thru’ out the year..

    • So what happens when we put substances together with opposite characteristics? They create what is considered incompatible and this in turn is undigestible. It creates a metabolic plaque called aama.
      I would never make something so complex by adding all sorts of things together like this.
      Stick to simple things. make roti and chapati out of one flour. There are recipes already for breakfast items that are simple to make and delicious.
      Nothing is given daily thru the year. The seasons change and so does what we eat.
      There is a whole post on eating with the seasons. There is no simple here. These things must be learned as to the why of it all to be able to discern, otherwsie it is just a list to follow with no internalization of it.

      We balance with the seasons. to not will cause disease.

    • Complicated question. Yes you can eat them. You will find a ton of contrary information on millets out there. The reason why Is because nutrition is not really understood in the western world and then there are political reasons behind the different researches as well.

    • off, there are several different types of diabetes in Ayurveda and the diagnosis of your own state and situation is most important for any advise on what to do, so your question doesn’t actually make any sense whatsoever. You see everything has to be diagnosed properly and to ask questions on the Internet to random people is not intelligent as well. That said, in general you want to be eating barley and a lot of it. You can also eat stuff made with corn flour. Eat mung beans. Take old honey that has not been processed in the morning daily and take triphala. All of this is general is safe and basic. Also start to exercise. Daily. And don’t overdo it because more is not better. For any real diagnosis and treatment it obviously is not going to be given over a comment on a blog. Please go see a real doctor in your area for help and stay off the Internet. You only get into trouble searching the Internet and doing things without proper education and knowledge. Or worse taking something some Doctor is telling yo to take without any diagnosis. Plus, you don’t know the knowledge that someone has that is offering you suggestions. Treat yourself with respect, be intelligent, and don’t just ask anyone for advice and follow anything they give you.
      To your original question yes you can use all of those millets. In contrast, most of what your eating that has gotten you to this point is way way worse than harmless millets. Good luck.

  3. Bajra (pearl Millet) has the following qualities…

    Rasa : Madhura, Kashāya
    Guna : Rūksha, Guru
    Vīrya : Ushna
    Vipāka : Amla
    Karma : Balya, Durjara, Hrdya, Kaphavātahara, Pittahara, Pustvahara, Vātakara

    Bajra is also guru and balya.Is it as strength giving and nourishing as wheat?

  4. Hello. Could you please list the necessary steps in order to get an online consultation from you? I plan to get one in the near future regarding my nearsightedness (as in next 4 weeks or so) but more pertinent than this is my issue with low kapha dosha. All throughout spring ive been noticing what feels like rain drops inside of my veins; I assumed this was kapha melting. But I feel as though summer is coming on and I am not yet where I expected though have noticed minor improvements. I followed winter regime pretty well…

    im holding out hopes that the kapha im expecting will actually melt during the transition between spring and summer. Do you have any information on this? But barring that I want to set up a consultation regarding this issue within the next 2 weeks…


    • Oh and ive definitely had excess kapha in my digestive tract etc as is normal during spring so I know kapha built up during winter sufficiently. I just dont know when to expect the kapha I’m hoping for to melt haha

  5. Pingback: Millets – Jowar, Bajra And Ragi (gluten intolerance and aama) – Cool Home Recipes

  6. What about cooking millets or barley in their grain form in water? Unground I mean. Harder to digest? Too wet for autumn? Or maybe grinding them coarsely and cooking them like the peya recipe on your blog? Got a lot of grains which I cannot convert to fine flour.

    • Ah, it says in the text above that the millets can be mixed with rice.

    • True! I’ve never eaten white flour …maida. and yet suffer from celiac. I have bought wheat and coarse grinded it in the mill at home white flour no meat not fish. No abusive foods ever!! Get rid of preconceived notions and prejudices please!

  7. Wow.

    The only millet in stores here is Panicum miliaceum. For some reason ive been thinking for a long time that it is the same as sorghum. Recently I ordered some indian sorghum. To my surprise.. a totally different thing. Turns out sorghum is Sorghum bicolour L. Moench. Lol. Ive been using jowar flour too thinking it was made of Panicum m. Oops. Bad research.

  8. Thank you for this article – it has been very enlightening, especially because of all the contradicting information about millet. My mom has a digestive problem and ulcers in her colon. After consulting multiple Ayurvedic physicians, can you believe that they blamed it on our diet of millet? We’ve been sincerely following a diet of millet (rotating different varieties of course) for two years now, and we actually feel great because of it. It releases the sugar slowly into the blood, so we don’t crash right after eating, and it has greatly helped us. I would love to hear your view on this. Millets help heal problems, but they don’t usually cause problems right?

    • Everyone is an individual and everything has to be diagnosed as per that. There are far more implications of ulcers than it being a ‘western typed and categorized disease’ and then this being good for it or that being bad for it. it does not work that way. the individual matters. More than anything else. There is general…. if it is a heat based disease than more heating is not going to be correct… in general. But what if that person is cold in nature? there is far far more to it all even from a western view.
      it is not about releasing sugar slowly. Thats all western ideas. They fall apart because of the narrow mindedness of it all but glad it has helped.
      Everything is a poison in the hands of the ignorant and everything is medicine in the hands of the wise. that is what it really comes down to.
      Millet can cause disease just as easily. Its drying.

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