By Dr Renita D’Souza
Pigeon pea is used both as food and medicinal legume. It is a good vegetarian protein diet. In Indian, Split pigeon peas (red gram) are commonly called as Tur dal and whole pigeon peas are called as Arhar dal. Along with seeds, young fresh pods, young shoots and leaves are also used for culinary purposes.
Botanical Name – Cajanus cajan
Synonym – Cajanus indicus
Family – Fabaceae
As a medicine, pigeon pea is used internally, in the form of soup and externally it is applied as paste or ointment. It is also included as one among the ingredients of medicated enema used in intestinal worm infestation (Ch Vi).
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Traditionally toor dal is a good diet for liver. It brings about lightness in the body (langhana therapy). The leaves of red gram is used to stop bleeding, relieve pain and treat intestinal worm infestation. Leaves acts as laxative in nature. In some parts of India, the young stems and leaves are used as tooth brush and cures mouth ulcers, gingivitis etc.
Names in different Languages
English name – Pigeon pea, red gram, congo pea, gungo pea, and no-eye pea
Hindi Name – Toor dal, Arhar dal, Rahri dal, Rahar
Kannada Name – Thogari bele, Togari Bele
Bengali Name – Tur, Adar
Marathi Name – Turi, Toor
Gujarati Name – Turdalya, Tuvar
Telugu Name – Kandulu, Kandi pappu
Tamil Name – Thuvaram paruppu
Malayalam Name – Thuvara parippa
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Medicinal Qualities of Toor dal
Taste – Astringent (tuvara), sweet
Virya (potency) – cold
Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) – Pungent (katu)
Ruksha – dry in nature
Laghu – light to digest
Grahi – absorbent in nature
Vatajani – increase vata dosha
Varnya – improves complexion
Effect on Tridosha
Balances pitta and kapha dosha
Read – Ayurveda Mahodadhi: Legumes Green Gram, Chickpea, Peas
Therapeutic uses of Arhar dal
Blood related diseases
Diseases related to fat tissue
Remedies, Rice preparation of Toor
Traditional Health Remedies of Red gram (tur dal)
- Poisoning – Inhalation of the fume of an incense stick (dhuma Varti) prepared of Brihati (Solanum indicum), Kantakari (Solanum xanthocarpum) and Leaves of Red gram (Cajanus cajan) cures hiccup caused by poisoning.
(Charaka Samhitha Chikitsa Sthana 23)
- Laxative – Fresh juice or decoction of red gram leaves acts as laxative and used in intoxication.
- Stomatitis – The paste of red gram leaves is prepared and applied over mouth ulcers and inflammations.
- Induce lactation – Poultice prepared from pigeon pea leaves and seeds is applied over the Breast. (research)
Classical Rice Preparation with Pigeon pea (Adhakyanna) –
Adhaki (Pigeon pea) is cooked along with red rice is called as Adhakyanna. It balances kapha and pitta, heavy for digestion.
Read – Rice Combinations With Pulses, Vegetables, Grains, Soups
Toor dal – Good and Bad diet
Red gram as wholesome Diet
- Vatarakta (gout)
- Raktapitta (bleeding diseases)
- Ulcerative colitis
- Liver diseases
- Autoimmune Hepatitis
Read – Soup Of Green Gram, Chickpea And Horse Gram – Health Benefits
Red gram as Unwholesome diet
- Brachial neuralgia
- Vata dosha aggravated diseases
Indigestion with Red gram
Treatment for Indigestion caused by Red gram (adhaki)
Indigestion caused by consuming Red gram (Cajanus cajan) is treated by taking sour fermented drink (kanjika).
Read – 120 Remedies For Indigestion Caused By Specific Foods
Leaves, seeds, young stems
Pigeon pea contain Protein – 22.3 %, Fat – 1.7 %, Minerals – 3.5 %, Fiber – 1.5 %, Carbohydrate – 57.6 %, Calcium – 73 mg/100 g, Phosphorus – 304 mg/100 g, Iron – 5.8 mg/100 g, Moisture – 13.4%, Calorific value – 335 Kcal/100 g (A)
Morphology of Red gram
Cajanus cajan is an erect, hairy shrub. Grows up to 1-2 meters in height. Leaves are oblong-lanceolate to oblanceolate with three leaflets. Flowers are yellow. It contains hairy pods which are 4-7 cm long and 1 cm wide. A pod contain two to seven seeds.
It is originated from either North-Eastern Africa or India. It is widely cultivated in all tropical and semitropical region.
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- Toasted pigeon pea – A research study have concluded that, toasting improves the nutritional value by signiﬁcantly reducing the anti-nutrients in pigeon pea. (read related)
- Germinated pigeon pea – A research study has proved that consuming extract of germinated pigeon pea reduced the fasting blood sugar level and hence concluded that germinated pigeon pea is a good diet in diabetes.
Ayurvedic medicine with Red gram
Ayurvedic medicine with Pigeon pea (adhaki) as Ingredient
Kankayan Vati – used in treating piles, bloating, intestinal worm infestation, heart diseases etc.
Maha Panchagavya Ghrita – used in treatment of fever, epilepsy, fistula, inflammation, piles, liver diseases, anemia, cough and psychiatric conditions.
Adhaki, Tuvari, Shanapushpika
- Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Dhanya varga
- Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Dhanya varga
- Dhanvantari Nighantu – Suvarnadi varga
- Raja Nighantu – Shalyadi varga
- Shodala Nighantu – Shimbi dhanya varga
- Ashtanga Hridaya – Shimbi dhanya varga
Kingdom – Plantae
Order – Fabales
Family – Fabaceae
Genus – Cajanus
Species – C. cajan
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