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Broom corn (Sorghum vulgare)
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

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).

Background

  • 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.
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Evidence

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Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

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Safety

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.

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. 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.

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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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.