Horse gram is not as popular as black gram, red gram and green gram, but is still one of the most nutritious legumes (Macrotyloma uniflorum).
Known by several regional names, the kulthi bean, hurali or Madras gram was common food for horses and cattle. Horse gram is the most protein-rich lentil found on the planet. It is high-powered and hence used as feed for horses before races.
The US National Academy of Sciences has identified this legume as a promising food source for the future. This legume seems to have been domesticated during the 2nd millennium BCE, according to researchers at University College, London. Its remarkable ability to thrive in parched environments makes the horse gram shrub a highly capable candidate, to meet food and nutritional requirements in malnourished populations.
Horse gram is a legume that grows and propagates in arid regions, such as in the drylands in southern, central and northern parts of tropical countries namely India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.
Horse gram is a climbing herb, having leaves with tiny leaflets in triplets and white coloured flowers. The short and slender stem, upon maturing and developing, bears flattened small seeds that are red, brown or black and resemble the shape of a curved beak.
This minute natural seed offers some marvellous advantages for overall well-being, being densely packed with vital nutrients. Horse gram, besides being intrinsically vast in carbohydrate and protein content, also abounds in essential trace minerals like iron, molybdenum and calcium. These ensure optimal energy, muscle strength, regulated red blood cell synthesis and fortified bones. Moreover, it also supplies ample amounts of the B vitamins, that guarantee the normal metabolic functioning of cells.
Hence, it comes as no surprise that horse gram is being widely consumed globally today, in the form of the sprouted or boiled seeds, as a health drink made with the ground powder, as well as in traditional Indian dishes like dals, soups and salads.
Ayurveda strongly suggests several formulations where horse gram is used as a key ingredient for its indispensable medicinal value such as Kulathadhi kashaayam that has been used extensively in treating health anomalies. Being a hot-natured bean, horse gram can calm kabha and vatha dosha and increase rakta pitta kopaka dosha.
Horse gram is a storehouse of polyphenols, flavonoids, and potent antioxidants that keep your body strong, vibrant and young. Researchers from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology have revealed that raw, unprocessed horse gram seeds have the ability to lowers blood sugar spikes post meal by slowing down gastric emptying time and reducing insulin resistance, thus making it a diabetic-friendly food. As per the traditional manuscripts, horse gram has the power to heal any health issue you name it such as asthma, bronchitis, leucoderma, urinary discharge, kidney stones and heart ailments.
Ayurvedic medicines also recommend horse gram for treating jaundice, rheumatism, conjunctivitis and piles are also said to flinch before the power of horse gram.
The paste of kulatta grams are used to ease localized swelling. The seeds stimulate sweat glands and open the pores of the body to flush out toxins from the system. Cold infusion of horse gram possesses strong astringent and diuretic properties that are consumed to treat renal stones, urinary bladder disorders and difficulty in micturition. Moreover, it also induces menstrual cycle and also treat oligomenorrhoea (scanty bleeding).
Amazing Wellness Incentives Of Horse Gram:
1. Traditional Medicine
Horse gram powder does wonders in treating various health issues such as asthma, bronchitis, urinary problems, jaundice, peptic ulcer, haemorrhoids and even menstrual problems. It is also beneficial for extracting phlegm, and controlling fever.
2. Glowing Skin
The astringent properties of horse gram are helpful in treating skin disease leucoderma. It is also used as a facial pack to prevent skin problems and clean the skin.
3. Controls Diabetes
Scientists from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology have found that eating unprocessed, horse gram seeds (raw, unsprouted) following a meal can reduce the glycemic index, by slowing down carbohydrate digestion and reducing insulin resistance.
4. Promotes Weight Loss
The seeds of horse gram have natural qualities that work as fat burners. It can reduce the LDL cholesterol and increase the HDL cholesterol. Studies have proven that horse gram seeds can directly attack the fatty tissues stored in the body. It is favourable in melting body fat and gives a proper shape to the body.
5. Improves Sperm Count
The calcium, phosphorus, iron and amino acids in horse gram boost the sperm count. These minerals positively act on the male reproductive system, increasing blood flow to those organs, while the amino acids augment enzyme activity, which in turn assures optimal generation of sperms.
6. Protects Liver Functions
The raw seeds of horse gram are a powerhouse of potent plant substances, namely flavonoids and polyphenols. These compounds confer hepatoprotective properties towards the liver and gall bladder, safeguarding their key roles in filtering and purifying the blood and detoxifying chemicals in the body.
7. Treats Kidney Stones
Kidney stones occur due to crystallization of calcium phosphate salts in the body. Horse gram seeds, being infused with powerful antioxidants, play a central role in inhibiting this salt hardening process. Thus, it is very efficacious in eliminating harmful free radicals from causing injury to healthy kidney cells. Horse gram is also a dynamic ingredient in promptly remedying kidney disorders.
Additional Health Benefits:
Treats Menstrual Disorders
Horse gram contains high levels of iron which helps to cure irregular menstrual cycles. By increasing haemoglobin levels owing to its high iron content, it reduces the chance of anaemia besides a thick, yellowish vaginal discharge also known as leucorrhoea from the body
Due to the presence of phytosterol esters, horse gram has significant anti-ulcer activity. These naturally occurring compounds that are found in plant cell membranes are abundantly available in horse gram. They are highly beneficial in healing the mouth as well as peptic ulcers.
Fights Free Radicals
Loaded with polyphenols, flavonoids, and major antioxidants that help neutralize harmful free radicals in our bodies, horse gram has strong qualities to protect your cells against free radicals that could lead to life-threatening cancers and tumors.
Prevents Bone Diseases
Besides being high in iron and protein, horse gram highest calcium content among all the pulses. It also contains significant traces of phosphorous and other amino acids which make it an ideal legume to prevent bone-related problems.
Side Effects, Risks And Contraindications:
- Avoid the intake of horse gram and other pulses when suffering from gout, as uric acid levels are already alarmingly high around the joints in this condition and legumes could contribute to further increasing acidity.
- Consume horse gram seeds moderately during pregnancy, as it could tremendously increase body heat, when eaten in large amounts.
- Do not take horse gram-based food items in case you are also ingesting shilajit, an ayurvedic concoction.
Horse gram is indeed a superfood, owing to its immense nutritive values and fitness benefits. As long as caution is exercised in not consuming excessive quantities of this legume, it is highly recommended to include horse gram in your regular diet, to reap the excellent merits it provides, for complete healthcare.