Sounds like this is food for horses, isn’t it? Horse Gram (Macrotyloma uniflorum) is not very popular bean, grown on hill slopes, it is consumed in few parts of India. Recent food studies have found varied medicinal uses of horse gram. Some of the key health benefits of horse gram include its usefulness as diabetic food, its ability to reduce cholesterol, aids weight loss, its ability to keep the digestive tract healthy, its iron source which is useful for women with pregnancy and menstrual problems and its benefits for skin.
Horse Gram – Nutrition Facts
Horse gram offers good amount of protein – nearly one fourth of its weight. They offer good amount of amino acids – arginine, tryosain and lysine, but deficient in cystine and tryptophan. It is rich source of Iron, calcium, potassium and molybdenum. Around a cup of horse gram meets half your daily iron requirements. It contains other polyphenols and phenolic acids which have medicinal properties. Overall horse gram offers excellent nutritional value.
Health benefits of horse gram
Medicinal properties of horse gram have long history in India. Various parts of the plant are in use by Ayurvedic practitioners for treatment of asthama, kidney stones, jaundice, and urinary disorders. Some benefits of horse gram are discussed below:
Horse gram benefits for women
With high amount of iron, it helps in reducing iron deficiencies in women. Further, it has medicinal properties with menstruation problems. It has been used in treating irregular periods and excessive bleeding. Drinking horse gram water or horse gram soup is considered beneficial for women. Ayurveda recommends consumption of 1 teaspoon of horse gram powder for women every morning empty stomach.
Horse gram contains high amount of iron and is beneficial as pregnancy diet. However, caution is required while used of horse gram in pregnancy, as not many studies are available on its safe use during pregnancy. Traditionally it is part of Indian diet without any side effects. It is also believed to stop bleeding after childbirth.
[Read more about 50 natural foods for menstrual cramps]
Horse gram benefits diabetes
Research has found that horse gram delays digestion of carbohydrates in drug-induced rats and has anti-diabetic potential. It possesses ability to reduce blood sugar and also help reduce insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes. While horse gram sprout benefits on diabetes are traditionally known, research at Indian Institute of Chemical Technology suggests horse gram seeds offer equal or greater benefits in reducing blood sugar. Inclusion of horse gram recipes diet of a diabetic person should be helpful.
[Read more: Natural food for diabetes]
Reduction of Cholesterol
Studies have demonstrated that Horse gram extracts also has the ability to reduce cholesterol in the body and helps reducing obesity. It also contains high amount of dietary fibers which helps in elimination of cholesterol in the intestine.This bean was once commonly utilized as cattle feed and often termed as poor man’s pulse. Click To Tweet
Horse gram and weight loss
It is very much possible that you might have landed here searching for benefits of horse gram in weight loss. So you won’t be disappointed. Horse gram helps in reducing weight. This protein rich, low fat food can be included in your weight loss diet. However, it ability to reduce fats in body is yet to seek scientific verification. Traditionally people in some parts of India have been massaging paste of horse gram in buttermilk to fatty regions in body to reduce fat deposits. Research is still nascent to establish whether horse gram is good weight loss. Boiled sprouted horse gram as morning breakfast is healthy and helps reduce weight.
[Read more about home remedies for flatulence]
Antioxidant property of horse gram
Various polyphenols in horse gram have demonstrated antioxidant properties. These antioxidants are concentrated in the seed coat. They help in preventing body cells from oxidative damage from free radicals.
Horse gram for kidney stone
Horse gram has been traditionally used in the treatment of kidney problems. In ayurveda, horse gram diet is recommended in the treatment of kidney stones. Horse gram has diuretic properties that help in dissolving kidney stone. Horse gram is soaked overnight in water and drinking this horse gram water is recommended as a home remedy for a kidney stone.
Horse gram for gastro intestinal problems
Kollu or kulath has been consumed in Indian to getting rid of intestinal parasites and worms. Its polyphenols are considered to be effective in treating these worms. It is believed to aid in digestion and reduce gastro intestinal problems. Unlike other lentils, it is considered beneficial for reducing flatulence. Horse gram water can reduce flatulence. Some studies suggested its benefits in treating intestinal ulcers. Overall this gram is healthy for your tummy.
[Read more about home remedies for GERD]
Horse gram for cough
Horse gram is believed to provide relief from cough, cold and respiratory tract disorders. It is used in the treatment of asthama in ayurveda. Paste of boiled horse gram along with pepper works as a balm for cold and cough. Enjoy horse gram soup with pepper as home remedy for sore throat.
Horse gram and skin care
Horse gram has astringent properties, which is helpful in treating your skin. Make skin mask by mixing horse gram powder with yogurt and pinch of turmeric. Apply this paste to your skin and allow it to dry. Scrub out the paste from skin. It can be used as home-made alternative for soap. It can ward off skin disorders and cleanses your skin.
Horse gram and wound dressing material
Horse gram has been actively used in the development of cheap and effective wound dressing biocomposite materials. Along with fish scale collagen, physiologically clotted fibrin and horse gram plant extract, biocomposite films have been successfully tested for treating wounds. Horse gram offers mechanical strength, antimicrobial properties while ensuring biocompatibility.
[Did you know potato peel helps in healing wounds?]
Other Benefits of horse gram
Other traditional benefits of horse gram include its ability to treat rheumatism, conjunctivitis, and piles. Horse gram water is prescribed for treating jaundice and spleen enlargement.
Side effects of horse gram
No side effects of horse gram have been reported. However, it is best to avoid excessive consumption of horse gram.
This Indian brown lentil is known by different names in India – Kulthi (in Hindi), Kollu கொள்ளு (in Tamil), Kulthikalai (Bengali), Ulavalu ఉలవలు (Telegu), Hurali (Kannad), Kolatha(Oriya), Kadthi dal (Gujarati), Kulith (Marathi), മുതിര Muthira (Malayalam), Gahat (Kumaoni). Horse gram recipes are popular in southern Indian peninsula states – Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Horse gram is definitely one healthy food one should include in one’s diet. It can also add variety to your meal while offering nutrients and other health benefits.Image Credits: Wikimedia - Sanjay Acharya