Kurti-Kalai (Horsegram)

Picture of horse gram seeds (Indian name: Kulthi)Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name:Dolichos biflorus L. (Fabaceae)
Family: Magnoliopsida:Rosidae:Fabales:Leguminosae
Synonyms: Dolichos uniflorus Lam., Dolichos biflorus auct. non L.
Common names: horse gram, horse grain, kulthi bean, Madras gram, Madras bean, grain de cheval, dolico cavallino, hurali, kalai, kallu, kollu, kulat, kulatha, kurtikalai, muthera, muthira, muthiva, ulavalu, pé-bi-zât, kerdekorn
English name: Horsegram.
Sanskrit name: Kulattha.
Vernacular names: Ben: Kurti-kalai; Hin and Mar: Kutthi; Kan : Hurali; Mal:Man Muthiva; : Nagakrijon; Mun : Kurthi; Orn : Anrsga; Sad: Kurthi; San: Horec; Tam: Kollu; Tel:Ulavalu.
Habitat:Widely distributed in India, ascending up to 1000 m in Sikkim; cultivated mainly in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka.

Description:
Annual herb, trailing or suberect, branched; leaves alternate, stipulate, trifoliate, leaflets membranous, ovate, ±2.5-5.0 cm long, young ones finely pilose; flowers axillary, may be more than one together but without a common peduncle, papilionaceous, usually yellow – may be white, ±1.25-1.8 cm long; pods ±3.7-5.0 cm by 0.6-0.8 cm, recurved, tipped with a persistent style; seeds 5-6 per pod, ellipsoid, flattened.

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Flowering:
August-November; Fruiting: September-December.

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A densely growing, low-growing or climbing, slender, herbaceous legume reaching 30-60 cm in height with slightly hairy stems, trifoliate leaves, yellow flowers and linear pods with 5-7 seed. USES It is a cover, fodder and pulse crop. Seeds can be poarched and eaten boiled or fried, whole or ground. The stems, leaves, and husks are used as fodder or green manure and seeds are fed to cattle and horses. Seeds can be processed into a sauce and they also have medicinal properties. GROWING PERIOD Annual or perennial, growing in the summer, mature in 40 days for forage and 120-180 days for seed. COMMON NAMES Horsegram, Leichhardt biflorus, Dolico cavallino, Grain de cheval, Hurali, Kalai, Kallu, Kollu, Kulat, Kulatha, Kurtikalai, Kekara, Muthera, Muthira, Muthiva, Pe-bi-zat, Pferdekorn, Ulavalu, Madras gram, Wulawula. FURTHER INF Synonyms: Dolichos uniflorus, D. biflorus. Horsegram probably originated in South East Asia. In India, horsegram is grown up to 1800 m in elevation. In India average seed yields vary from 200-900 kg/ha, and in Australia from 1.1-2.3 t/ha. Fresh matter production may be 18-30 t/ha.

Ecology and cultivation: Mesophyte; wild and cultivated.

Chemical contents: Stem and Leaf: coumesterol, a lectin-like glycoproticin, psoraliding; Leaf (bacteria treated): dolichin A and dolichin B; Seed : β-sitosterol, coumesterol, delbergiodin, genistein, 2-hydroxy-genistein, isoferreirin, keivitone, phaseollidin, pyranoside.
Medicinal Uses & Application:Traditional use:

SANTAL : (i) plant: dysuria, sores, tumours; (ii) leaf: in burns; (iii) seed: in adenitis, fistula ani, intercostal neuralgia, pleurisy, pneumonia, prolapsus ani; MUNOA : aqueous extract of seed: to women after childbirth; IRULA, KOTA, TOOA (Nilgiri) : seed: in menstrual complaints; RURAL FOLKS: Aqueous extract of seed: in urinary troubles and kidney stone.

CHARAKA SAMHITA : seed: useful in piles, hiccup, abdominal lump, bronchial asthma, in causing and regulating perspiration; SUSHRUTA SAMHITA . seed powder: useful in stopping excessive perspiration; BAGBHATTA: seed: useful in spermatocalcali (Shukrashman); CHAKRADATTA : decoction of seed: beneficial in urticaria; RAJANIGHANTU : beneficial in piles, colic, epistasis, flatulence, ophthalmia, ulcer.

AYURVEDA :
decoction of seed: useful in leucorrhoea, menstrual troubles, bleeding during pregnancy, colic caused by wind, piles, rheumatism, heamorrhagic disease, intestinal worms; seed powder: antidiaphoretic; seed (in combination with milk): work as anthelmintic, soup prepared from seeds is beneficial in enlarged liver and spleen.

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A teaspoonful of horse gram boiled in about 2 cups of water makes an infusion which is prescribed for colds and high blood pressure.

SIDDHA : seed: used in preparing a medicine named Kollu.

Modern use: Plant extract: radiolabel reagent in ABa blood grouping of human hair; EtOH (50%) extract of Seed: spasmolytic.

Adulterant: Cassia abrus L. is sometimes confused with this plant.

Remarks: Santals use the plant in treatment of rinderpest of domestic animals. Seeds are often consumed as pulse. Santals consider eating this pulse is good for patients of dysentery and leprosy, but they prohibit eating this by the patients of measles and small pox.

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Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.bsienvis.org/medi.htm#Dolichos%20biflorus
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/cropView?id=1399

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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