What is buckwheat?

Heidi Skolnik, MS
Sports Medicine
Buckwheat is actually not technically a grain or wheat – it’s a cousin to rhubarb. It’s often lumped together with super grains because it has similar nutritional profiles. ½ cup of buckwheat is considered a serving and provides high levels of rutin, which helps improve circulation & lower bad cholesterol. One study found that ½ cup of whole grain buckwheat daily can lower cholesterol.
Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics

You may be surprised to learn that buckwheat is not related to wheat. It is not even really a grain! Buckwheat is the fruit if a leafy plant belonging to the same family as sorrel and rhubarb. Its name comes from the Dutch word "beech weit" which means "beech wheat" probably a reference to the plant's triangular fruits which resemble beech nuts.

Buckwheat is a gluten-free grain. You've probably had pancakes or soba noodles made with buckwheat flour. You also can try buckwheat groats as a breakfast cereal, side dish, or salad. A classic use is the Russian dish kasha, made with roasted or toasted buckwheat groats.

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine

The name "buckwheat" comes from the Dutch word bockweit, which is indicative of the resemblance to beech tree seeds and the wheat-like character of buckwheat flour. Interestingly, buckwheat is not a cereal grain, but a fruit seed from the herbaceous plant buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum).

This plant makes an aromatic flower and subsequently the buckwheat groats, which are small triangle-shaped grain-like seeds covered by a hard shell. When bees collect the nectar of the buckwheat flower, the flavor of the resulting honey is strong and the honey itself is quite dark.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.