Sprouted rice, or Gu Ya in pinyin, is an herb closely associated with loss of appetite, stuffy feeling in chest, loose stool, burnout, and other indigestion-induced symptoms. That is why this herb is often made into drinks for kids, who are suffering from mild deficiency of spleen and stomach. So, is sprouted rice good for you? Is sprouted rice healthy? Well, it really depends the ways you use it. And this article is all about this herb’s medicinal and nutritional information.
What is sprouted rice?
Instead of the most popular sprouted brown rice, medicinally it refers to the dried sprouting rice grains of Oryza sativa L. or Setaria italica (L.) Beauv., the plants in the family Gramineae. Other common names of this herb include rice sprout, fructus oryzae germinatus, rice paddy sprouts, fructus oryzae setariae germinatus, fructus setariae germinatus, oryza sativa fruit, sprouted millet, setariae germinatus, rice-grain sprout, millet sprout, germinated rice, and so on. In China, it can be produced nationwide, in particular in southern provinces. For medicinal purpose, they need to be soaked in water under the condition of proper temperature and humidity and dried when their fibrous roots grow to about 1cm long. It can be used raw or fried.
The final product is similar to spherosome, about 2mm in diameter, and with obtuse top and slightly pointed base. Husk is leathery shell pieces, pale yellow in color, and with point-like wrinkles. The lower end has the nascent thin fibrous roots, which is about 3 to 10mm long. When peeled it contains a piece of pale or yellowish-white caryopsis or millet. It is odorless and slightly sweet in taste.
Sprouted rice benefits
Main chemical constituents include protein, fatty oil, starch, amylase, maltose, adenine, choline, and 18 amino acids like aspartic acid and γ-aminobutyric acid. Thanks to its health benefits and richness in nutrients it is cooked into tons of tasty foods these days, such as bread, cakes, cereal, crackers, flour, salad, sushi, tortillas, and more. As you can see, apparently people eating sprouted rice is for the sake of not only delicacy but also healing. And its pharmacology can reveal this fact.
Modern rice sprouts pharmacological actions
1. Its β-amylase can completely hydrolyze starch into sugar;
2. Its α-amylase can hydrolyze starch into short straight-chain polyglucose;
3. It contains less α and β-amylase. And its ability of digesting starch is poorer than that of malt.
Proven sprout rice herbal remedies
According to Chinese Materia Medica, it is sweet in flavor and neutral in properties and goes to meridians of spleen and stomach. Its chief functions are helping to digest, removing the retention of food, and invigorating the spleen for whetting the appetite. Main sprouted rice uses and indications are indigestion with food retention, stomach fullness and diarrhea, eating less due to spleen deficiency, edema in beriberi, and so on. Recommended dosage is from 10 to 15 grams, or even 30 grams in larger doses, in decoction or powder.
1. Gu Shen Wan. Gu Shen Wan comes from Dan Liao Fang (Tranquil Treatment Prescriptions). It is principally designed for arousing the spleen to promote appetite. Other essential herbal ingredients are Zhi Gan Cao (Honey Fried Licorice Root), Sha Ren (Cardamon), Bai Zhu (White Atractylodes Rhizome), and more.
2. Jian Pi Zhi Xie Tang. Jian Pi Zhi Xie Tang is chosen from Ma Zhen Ji Cheng (Grand Compendium of Measles Treatments). It is basically formulated for diarrhea due to spleen-stomach deficiency.
3. Gu Ya Lu (rice sprout drink). This prescription, making tea by using this herb alone, is from Zhong Guo Yi Xue Da Ci Dian (Encyclopedia of Medicine in China). It is mainly used to help digestion, strengthen spleen, stimulate appetite, regulate the middle warmer, promote the production of body fluid, and benefit vitality.
Sprouted rice side effects and contraindications
So far no clearly recognized adverse reactions and drug interactions about sprouted rice were reported. However, breastfeeding women should avoid it as it is reported that it might lead to less milk production. And TCM wise, it shouldn’t be used in case of patients with gastroptosis.