The USDA healthy diet guidelines include foods that are low in saturated fats, protein, low fat milk, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. With that said, if people want to become healthy, it’s only natural for them to incorporate legumes into their daily routine and diet, specifically because of these pulses’ high protein content. Even though it’s one of the lesser known beans around, horse gram is quite useful as cattle feed. It’s also a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine, particularly in Southern India’s rural areas.
What is Horse Gram?
Horse gram (Macrotyloma uniflorum or Dilochos biflorus) is a healthy and nutritious lentil that’s readily available in most stores, is affordable to boot, and can tremendously help in making your quality of life richer and more fulfilling. The horse gram is a pulse that’s common in India and grown all over Asia. As its name would suggest, it’s mainly used to feed cattle, but Indians have also adopted it into their daily food intake in the form of dal, sprouted, or boiling horse gram.
This dark brown pulse has a flattened yet round shape. All forms of horse gram (from whole meal, to sprouts, to whole seed) are consumed by Indians and by many other nations the world over, particularly weight watchers and those who are interested in horse gram’s numerous health benefits. Horse grams are legumes of the subtropics and tropics. They’re cultivated mostly under dry-land agriculture.
Description, Health Benefits, and Preparation
Commonly cultivated beans have about a comparable composition to horse grams. Like other beans, they lack tryptophan and methionine, although the crop is an excellent iron and molybdenum source, which translates to healthier delivery of nutrients and the better mobilization of iron use. Conversely, these pulses have higher polyphenols (an antioxidant), hemagglutinin (clot-promoting substance), and trypsin inhibitor than most beans.
Natural phenols are mainly phenolic acids, namely sinaptic, syringic, ferulic, p-coumaric, caffeic, vanillic, p-hydroxy benzoic, and 3 to 4-dihydroxy benzoic acids. Roasting, cooking, germination, and dehusking have all demonstrated the nutritional effects of the horse gram legume. Even though this crop requires lengthy cooking, soaking has been shown to improve protein quality and reduce your cooking time.
Horse Grams Across the World
Horse gram has many names all over the world, which serves as evidence that it’s known and used globally. It’s known as the cowpea, the hyacinth bean, the Bonnavista bean, the bian dou in Chinese, kulatha kalai in Sanskrit, habbul kulth in Arabic, muthira in Malayalam, kuntikali in Bengali, kulthi in Hindi, kollu in South India, and the gahat/muthira/kulath in other parts of India. The western world is just discovering the many curative properties of horse gram, but has yet to provide scientific proof to back up its health benefits. However, it’s been used by Indian Ayurvedic Vaidyas for medicinal purposes for centuries-on-end, scientific proof or no scientific proof.
Culinary Uses of Horse Grams
Horse grams are a main ingredient in Karnataka cuisine, specifically huraLi saaru. The Pahadi of Himalayan North India use kulath or gahat as a major component as well. Meanwhile, in Uttarakhand, horse gram is cooked in a kadhai or round metal sauté pan to make Ras, which is a Kumaonis favorite. Furthermore, in the region of Gharwal, phanu is an elaborate cuisine that’s made in a kadhai with roughly ground horse gram (that was previously soaked overnight) boiled over several hours. You can also add dhania or coriander leaves, tender radish leaves, rai, and palak or spinach to complete the delicious concoction.
This wholesome and nutritious meal is also served with phanu, roti, jhangora, and boiled rice. Fair warning, though; because horse gram is typically used as cattle feed, it’s only natural for the phanu to be somewhat hard to digest. Then again, it’s quite the useful dish when it comes to making your stomach fill sated for at least the entire day. You can eat one for breakfast, and you won’t feel the least bit hungry for lunch and dinner.
Medicinal and Therapeutic Properties
It’s known to contain many medicinal and therapeutic benefits, although many of them have yet to be proven by science. It’s the ayurvedic medicine to have when it comes to treating edema, piles, renal stones, and so forth. It has polyphenols that have high antioxidant capacity, molybdenum that regulates your calcium intake, iron that helps transport oxygen to your cells and forms part of the red pigment called hemoglobin in your blood, and hemagluttinin that is an agent found in autoimmune functions and antibodies. At any rate, here are the different medicinal uses of horse gram:
• Diuretic: It’s used to elevate the levels of urination.
• Astringent: It’s used to shrink or constrict skin tissue.
• All-Around Medicinal Agent: Horse gram has been used by the Ayurveda as a cure for issues such as conjunctivitis, worm removal, rheumatism, and piles.
• Cough Medicine: In this form, horse gram is capable of relieving the symptoms of cold and cough, particularly assisting in clearing and expectorating phlegm.
• Dermatological Wonder: If you have skin eruptions, boils, or rashes, then liquefied horse gram powder is your best bet in controlling and eliminating these dermatological problems.
• Fever Remedy: If you have a high fever, just take a dose of horse gram liquid in order to decrease your high temperature.
• Weight Loss Agent: This pulse is known to contain phenols, which can help you lose your excess weight. More to the point, if you have high levels of cholesterol in your body, then taking horse gram regularly should help you decrease your cholesterol levels immensely.
• Peptic Ulcer Treatment: Certain tests have proven that lipids extracted from horse grams are known to heal rats with peptic ulcers.
Menstruation, Pregnancy Complications, and Horse Grams
Horse gram is actually the legume to look for when it comes to women with menstrual problems and the like. If you’re a female who’s suffering from excessive menstrual bleeding or irregular menses, then the regular dosage of horse gram should help regulate the occurrence of your period while also controls the amount of blood you’ll be discharging. It’s also allegedly helpful when it comes to heavy postnatal bleeding as well. One teaspoon of horse gram powder every morning is all it takes, according to the Ayurveda.