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Millet Sprout (Gu Ya)

Close up of millet sprout (gu ya)

What is Millet Sprout (Gu Ya)?

Millet Sprout (gu ya, 谷芽),  also known as Fructus Oryzae Germinatus, refers to the germinant fruit of Oryza sativa L., which belongs to the Gramineae family. Found in many parts of south China, Millet Sprout of the best quality is usually big and yellow, without impurities. 

After being harvested and cleaned, Millet Sprout is dipped in water for four to six hours before being stored in suitable temperature and humidity. The fruit is then dried under the sun, and used in its unprocessed or stir-baked form for medicinal purposes.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Millet Sprout falls under the category of ‘Herbs that relieve Food Stagnation’. Such herbs typically possess digestive properties to aid with food digestion. Neutral in nature, Millet Sprout does not affect the yin-yang balance in one’s body.

Sweet in taste, Millet Sprout can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Millet Sprout targets the Spleen and stomach.

Functions and Benefits of Millet Sprout (Gu Ya)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Millet Sprout has the following health benefits.

Millet Sprout can promote digestion, strengthen the Spleen and reduce Food Stagnation. It is often used in combination with Malt (Mai Ya), as both of them have similar properties, to reinforce each other’s actions for starch food stagnation and Spleen deficiency syndrome manifested as symptoms such as poor appetite and indigestion.

For poor appetite caused by Spleen Deficiency, Millet Sprout can also be combined with other qi-moving and Spleen-invigorating herbs such as Atractylodis Macrocephalae Rhizoma (Bai Zhu) and Fructus Amomi (Sha Ren) to enhance its effectiveness.

High in fibre, Millet Sprout may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Millet Sprout is also high in bioactive peptides, which means that it has several beneficial properties such as anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, anti-cancer, and antimicrobial effects. Rich in antioxidants, Millet Sprout may also help to fight signs of aging and prevent chronic diseases.

Close up of Millet Sprout (Gu Ya) in a white bowl
Millet Sprout (Gu Ya) can help to ease indigestion.

How to Use Millet Sprout (Gu Ya)

The recommended daily dosage of Millet Sprout is 9 -15g, when used as a decoction. To harmonise one’s middle energizer, it is recommended to use Millet Sprout in its raw form. To promote digestion, it is recommended to use Millet Sprout in its stir-baked form.

Millet Sprout and its supplements, such as pills and powder, may be found in herbal stores and Asian specialty markets.

Cautions and Side Effects of Millet Sprout (Gu Ya)

Millet Sprout should not be used by breastfeeding individuals.

Do note that long-term consumption of Millet Sprout may cause damage to one’s Kidneys.

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Millet Sprout to your healthcare routine!


Here is a summary for Millet Sprout (Gu Ya):

  • Herb name (Chinese): 谷芽
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): gǔ yá
  • Herb name (English): Millet Sprout
  • Herb name (Botanical): Fructus Setariae Germinatus
  • Origin of species: Setaria italica (L.) Beauv.
  • Part(s) of herb used: Fruit
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Northern parts of China
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Sweet; Warm; Administrates the Spleen and Stomach Meridians
  • Actions: Eases indigestion resulting from consumption of starch-rich foods or due to weak digestive ability

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