What are the Health Benefits of Horse gram?

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Eating a healthy diet is getting more popular these days specially with the rise in obesity. The USDA1 guidelines to a healthy diet suggests whole grains, beans or legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, protein, preferably skim or low fat. One of the best ways to get fiber into our diet is to eat whole grains. Fiber is of two types, soluble and insoluble.

Eating a healthy diet is getting more popular these days specially with the rise in obesity. The USDA1 guidelines to a healthy diet suggests whole grains, beans or legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, protein, preferably skim or low fat. One of the best ways to get fiber into our diet is to eat whole grains. Fiber is of two types, soluble and insoluble.

Eating a healthy diet is getting more popular these days specially with the rise in obesity. The USDA1 guidelines to a healthy diet suggests whole grains, beans or legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, protein, preferably skim or low fat. One of the best ways to get fiber into our diet is to eat whole grains. Fiber is of two types, soluble and insoluble. Whole grains have soluble fiber and is extremely useful in reducing cholesterol levels in the body. One of the legumes that is not very well known but is quite nutritious is the Horse Gram. It belongs to the family of Legumes and has a high protein content. Horse gram was considered Horse fodder and its full potential as part of the human diet has not been exploited completely. It is mostly grown in Asia and quite common on the Indian menu. Horse gram is high in protein and iron which makes it a wholesome food that should be added to our diet on a regular basis.

 

What is Horse Gram?

Horse gram  is scientifically known as Macrotyloma uniflorum. It also goes by the name Dolichos biflorus. Due to a lot of confusion in the Dolichos category, the right name for Horse gram scientifically is Macrotyloma uniflorum. According to the USDA database both the names Macrotyloma uniflorum and Dolichos biflorus mean the same Horse gram

It is a dark brown lentil which round and flattened in shape. Horse gram is known to have many therapeutic effects but not scientifically proven though it has been recommended in ayurvedic  medicine to treat renal stones, piles, edema etc. It is rich in iron, calcium molybdenum, polyphenols which have high antioxidant capacity, and hemagluttinin which is a substance found in antibodies and autoimmune functions.

 

What is the Classification of Horse Gram ?

  • Kingdom Plantae – Plants
  • Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
  • Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
  • Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
  • Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
  • Subclass- Rosidae
  • Order- Fabales
  • Family Fabaceae – Pea family
  • Genus Macrotyloma (Wight & Arn.) Verdc. – macrotyloma
  • Species Macrotyloma uniflorum (Lam.) Verdc. – 

 

 

What are the Benefits of Horse gram?

Horse gram is known by different names all over the world, it is called, Kollu in South India, Cowpea in English, Kulti in Hindi, Habbul Kulth in Arabic, Kulatha Kalai in Sanskrit, Bian Dou in Chinese, Bonnavista Bean and also Hyacinth Bean.  The health benefits of horse gram are being recognized light  in the western world recently but has been known for its medicinal purposes by Indian Ayurvedic Vaidyas since centuries.

  • It is known for its excellent diuretic and astringent .
  • Ayurveda uses horse gram to treat a variety of conditions ranging from rheumatism to worm removal, treating Conjuctivitis and piles.
  • Another great benefit of horse gram is its use in extracting phlegm. When suffering with cough, phlegm is a hard thing to get rid of. Taking horse gram water can eliminate the phlegm and give relief.
  • Taking horse gram powder  in a little bit of water regularly, helps in treating and controlling skin rashesand boils.
  • Horse gram liquid is also used to regulate fever.
  • It has phenols which helps in reducing weight
  • Horse gram also helps in lowering cholesterol levels
  • Lipids extracted from horse gram have shown to help with peptic ulcer in an study related rats.
  • It also helps in reducing flatulence

 

 

Is Horse gram helpful in treating menstrual problems?

Horse gram is considered to have curative properties in helping with menstruation problems. Specially women with irregular periods and excess bleeding can benefit by taking horse gram water regularly or adding horse gram soup or sprouts to your daily diet. It is recommended in stopping heavy bleeding after pregnancy. In Ayurvedic medicine, women are recommended to take 1 teaspoon of horse gram powder every morning.

 

 

Does Horse gram help in eliminating Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are a painful condition and caused due to deposits of Oxalates. Taking a diet with low amounts of calcium and phosphorus is recommended if you have kidney stones. Horse gram is recommended for treating kidney stones in India.  Soak about 4 teaspoons of Horse gram in approximately 1.5 cups of water overnight and drink the water in the water on an empty stomach the next morning. You can add the same amount of water to the  horse gram again and let it soak and can drink the water in the afternoon and repeat this and drink in the evening as well.  Taking horse gram water this way for 2-3 months will help in completely eliminating the kidney stones. The horse gram water has diuretic properties  and  dissolves the kidney stones. Diuretics increase the elimination of water from the body. 

 

 

How to grow Horse Gram Sprouts?

One way to eat Horse gram is in the form of Sprouts. You can add the Horse gram sprouts to salads or eat the sprouts by themselves by adding a little salt, cumin, lemon, finely minced onions and cilantro. It is fairly easy to grow sprouts from any legumes. Soak the desired amount of Horse gram in a wide bowl completely submerged in water. Once the Horse gram is soft when you bite on the legume, drain the water, rinse and put them in a very thin cotton cloth, a cheese cloth works the best. Keep the cloth damp and put it away in a dark place overnight. Usually by the end of the second day you will see small sprouts coming up. You can grow the sprouts to whatever length you desire and then add to them any dish. Make sure the seeds are soaked well and have enough air if you are putting them in a jar(keep the lid a slightly open). Don't let the seeds ferment bu soaking them too long. Sprouts are high in Vitamin A, Thiamine, vitamin C, iron and potassium. Sprouting them also helps in reducing the production of gas which helps in digesting them much better than the dried horse gram.

 

Are there any harmful side effects to eating Horse gram?

  • Horse gram can cause an excess of bile production 
  • It should not be eaten by pregnant women
  • People suffering with tuberculosis and plethora should avoid horse gram

 

1. Reference : USDA, NRCS. 2011. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 19 April 2011). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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