The SEEDS of the kidney bean plant have a high nutritious value, though when raw, they are toxic since they contain phaseolin, a toxalbumin that disappears when beans are cooked. Kidney bean seeds, called simply beans, were, along with corn, the base of the Mayan and Aztec meals, who already cultivated several varieties. Early in the 20th century, it was revealed that kidney bean pods possessed some interesting medicinal properties.
Kidney Bean Plant Scientific Facts
- Other names: Bean.
- French: Haricot.
- Spanish: Judia, frijol, chaucha, habichuela.
- Environment: The kidney bean plant is native to Mexico and Central America; now, it has spread worldwide.
- Description: Annual plant of the Leguminosae family, with a climbing stem that grows up to 3 m high in some varieties, while others have creeping stems. The fruit is yellow or green pods, which contain several kidney-shaped seeds.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The pods covering the seeds.
Kidney bean pods contain several amino acids, especially arginine and vitamins A, B, and C, mineral salts, trace elements, bran, and starch. Kidney bean pods present three basic properties.
- Diuretic thanks to arginine and mineral salts. They do not have the adverse effects of most pharmaceutical diuretic substances, such as potassium loss. This property is helpful for edema produced by coronary or renal insufficiency and pre-menstrual retention of liquid. They are also used for gout and kidney stones since they promote the elimination of uric acid.
- Cardiotonic. This property of kidney bean pods is similar to that of the foxglove plant but much milder. They improve the strength of heart contractions and its overall performance.
- Hypoglycemic. A decoction of kidney bean pods is used to decrease the blood sugar level.
How to use Kidney Bean
- As vegetables. Cooked green pods can be eaten after being dressed with oil and lemon juice. They also have hypoglycemic properties, though less intense than when taken in a decoction.
- Decoction with 100 grams of dry bean pods per liter of water, boiling until the liquid reduces to a half. The resulting liquid should be drunk during the day.
Kidney Bean Plant to Treat Diabetes
As a complementary treatment of diabetes, a decoction of bean pods allows a reduction of insulin dosage or that of oral antidiabetic substances. A doctor must monitor this reduction.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 584. Print. [kidney bean plant]