Ragi, scientifically called Eleusine coracana, is an annually cultivated cereal crop, vastly found in the tropical regions of Africa and Asia, such as in Ethiopia, India And Sri Lanka. Being densely packed with a host of nutrients, ragi 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. This variety of annual grass grows up to a height of 1 to 2 m, belonging to the Gramineae botanical family. Leaves measure between 30 and 70 cm, being narrow and green. The straight or sometimes curved branches hold seeds arranged in florets, which can be brown, red or purple in colour. Widely distributed across several states in India, its local names include “Ragi” in Kannada, Hindi and Telugu, “Nachni” in Marathi, “Madua” in Bengali and “Kezhvaragu” in Tamil.