Horse Gram

Horse Gram is a kind of bean commonly used in many South Indian states. This plant is native to different parts of India. The edible seeds are highly nutritious and are used for numerous culinary purposes. They also have some medicinal uses.

Scientific Name

The scientific name for these plants is Macrotyloma uniflorum.

Description

Horse Gram grows as an annual plant with an attractive appearance. Here is a general description of this climbing plant:

Stems: The stems are slightly hairy.

Leaves: It has trifoliate leaves with each leaflet growing between 2.5 cm and 5 cm in breadth. The leaflets are oblong or lanceolate in shape.

Flowers: Small yellow flowers grow in clusters from the leaf axils. The flowers are 1.3 cm to 2 cm long.

Horse Gram Flower Picture Picture 1 - Horse Gram Flower

Pods: Their scimitar-shaped, compressed pods grow around 5 cm in length.

Seeds: The large seeds can be round or slightly flattened in shape. They turn nearly black when dried.

Regional Names

They are known by various names in different Indian languages:

  • In Hindi: Kulthi
  • In Bengali: Kulthikalai
  • In Tamil: Kollu
  • In Telugu: Ulavalu or Guggillu
  • In Kannada: Hurule
  • In Oriya: Kolatha
  • In Gujrati: Kadthi Ni Dal

Distribution

These plants are indigenous to the southeastern regions of India. They are also found in other parts of the world including Africa, Malaysia, Australia and the West Indies.

Horse Gram Image Picture 2 - Horse Gram

Cultivation

They are generally grown from the seeds. The plants can adapt to a wide range of soil types from granitic sands to heavy clays. Tropic and sub-tropic climates are ideal for their growth. They can tolerate saline soils with the preferred pH range being 6.0 to 7.5. Horse Gram plants can grow in dry areas. But, they prefer 500 mm to 2500 mm rainfall. These plants do not survive in frost and extremely cold weather.

Harvesting of the seeds can be done both by hands and by using a harvester.

Nutritional Facts

Here is the nutritional fact for 100 gm of this legume:

Nutrients Amounts
Energy 321  Ecals
Moisture 12 gm
Protein 22 gm
Fat 0 gm
Mineral 3 gm
Fiber 5 gm
Carbohydrates 57 gm
Calcium 287 mg
Phosphorous 311 mg
Iron 7 mg

Health Benefits

Various health benefits can be derived from these beans:

  • It is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for treating numerous health disorders including rheumatism, worm, conjunctivitis and piles.
  • They have astringent and diuretic properties.
  • The beams are beneficial for extracting phlegm.
  • They are believed to be helpful for keeping the body warm during winter.
  • Controlling fever is another health benefit of Horse Gram.
  • The phenol content of the seeds helps to reduce excessive weight.
  • They also help to lower cholesterol levels.
  • According to some studies, the lipid extracts of Horse Gram are beneficial for treating peptic ulcer.
  • It is also beneficial for reducing flatulence.
  • These legumes help to control various menstrual problems.
  • In India, Horse Gram is believed to be beneficial for treating kidney stones.

Horse Gram Plant Photo Picture 3 - Horse Gram Plant

Uses

The edible legumes are used for preparing various dishes. They have some other uses as well.

Edible Uses

  • It is widely used in the Karnataka cuisine.
  • In the Himalayan region, it is used as a major food source.
  • The legumes are cooked in a sauté pan to prepare a dish called “Ras”.
  • A delicious dish is prepared by using Horse Grams along with tender radish leaves, coriander leaves, rai and spinach.
  • It is also popularly used for making curries and soups.
  • Various preparations of these beans are eaten with boiled rice and roti.
  • In Maharashtra, it is used for making pithla, kulith usal and laddu.

Medicinal Uses

  • Horse Gram water is prescribed for treating jaundice in Andhra Pradesh.
  • This water is also used for relieving cough and cold.
  • Applying a paste of powdered Horse Gram along with some water on the skin helps to control boils and skin rashes.

Recipes

Here are the names of some of the popular dishes prepared with this legume:

  • Horse Gram Rasam
  • Horse Gram And Coconut Paji
  • Horse Gram Gravy
  • Horse Gram Bendhi
  • Kollu Chutney
  • Horsegram Kurma
  • Horse Gram Drink
  • Horsegram Dosa
  • Horse Gram Dal
  • Horsegram Soup

Horse Gram for Weight Loss

Eating plenty of Horse Gram helps in losing weight. One can also make a paste of sour buttermilk and 100 gm powdered Horse Gram and apply it on the main fat deposits of the body. It is important to massage the paste in upward strokes as it effectively reduces body fat.

Images of Horse Gram Picture 4 - Horse Gram Image

Using Horse Gram during Pregnancy

It is beneficial for pregnant women as it helps to increase the body’s blood count. But, it is advisable to consult a physician if there are any adverse effects.

Side Effects

Following are some of the possible side effects of eating these legumes:

  • It can cause excessive bile production in case of over consumption.
  • Plethora and tuberculosis patients should avoid eating Horse Gram.

Interesting Facts

Find out some interesting facts about it:

  • The Macrotyloma uniflorum plants can survive in extremely hot temperatures.
  • These beans are commonly used as cattle feed in various parts of the world.
  • In Kerala, Horse Gram is known as Muthira which sounds like “kuthira”, which means “horse” in Malayalam. This might be because the legumes are used for feeding horses.

Pictures

Here are some images of this wonderful edible bean.

Pictures of Horse Gram Picture 5 - Horse Gram Picture

Photos of Horse Gram Picture 5 - Horse Gram Photo

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_gram

http://www.spiceflair.com/horse-gram-healthy-and-nutritious-lentil/

http://paulhaider.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/health-benefits-of-horse-gram-or-cowpea/

http://www.medindia.net/calories-in-indian-food/Common_Foods/Pulses_and_legumes/horse-gram-whole.htm

http://www.innovateus.net/food/what-are-health-benefits-horse-gram

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One Response to Horse Gram

  1. mohamed ibrahim k March 18, 2014 at 5:14 am #

    Very useful subject. I came to understand lot of information about the horse gram and daily I am taking the same. But one thing I want to tell after taking this horse gram I feel over pain in the back. I do not know whether it is because of taking this horse gram. Kindly enlighten me whether will it give such a problem or not. More over I am taking this for the past 20 days but I dont find any change in my weight. Also intimate how long it will take to reduce the weight.

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