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Species: C. cajan
Synonyms:Cajanus indicus Spreng. (Valder 1895) and Cytisus cajan (Crawfurd 1852)
Common Names :Arhar, Red gram, Pigeon pea, Gablos (Tag.) ,Kadios (Mang., Tag., P. Bis.) ,Kagyos (Tag.) ,Kaldis (Ig., Ilk.) Kagyas (Tag.) ,Kalios (Tag.) , Kardis (Ibn., Ilk., Ig.) ,Kidis (Ilk., Bon.) ,Kusia (Ig., If.) , Tabios (Bik., C. Bis.) ,Guandu (Brazil) .Pigeon pea (Engl.),toor dal or arhar dal (India), Congo pea or gungo pea (in Jamaica), Pois Congo (in Haiti), gandul (in Puerto Rico), gunga pea, or no-eye pea. arhar dal in Bengali
Habitat : Probably native to India, pigeon pea was brought millennia ago to Africa where different strains developed. These were brought to the new world in post-Columbian times. Truly wild Cajanus has never been found; they exist mostly as remnants of cultivations. In several places Cajanus persists in the forest. The closest wild relative, Atylosia cajanifolia Haines, has been found in some localities in East India. Most other Atylosias are found scattered throughout India, while in North Australia a group of endemic Atylosia species grow. In Africa Cajanus kerstingii grows in the drier belts of Senegal, Ghana, Togo, and Nigeria. Pigeon peas occur throughout the tropical and subtropical regions, as well as the warmer temperate regions (as North Carolina) from 30°N to 30°S (Duke, 1981a). In settled areas throughout the Philippines: cultivated, semicultivated, and in some places, spontaneous.
It is is a perennial herb.An erect, branched, hairy shrub, 1-2 meters high. Leaves are oblong-lanceolate to oblanceolate with three leaflets. Flowers are yellow, in sparse peduncled racemes, about 1.5 cm long. Pod is hairy, 4-7 cm long, 1 cm wide, containing 2-7 seeds.
The cultivation of the pigeon pea goes back at least 3000 years. The centre of origin is most likely Asia, from where it traveled to East Africa and by means of the slave trade to the American continent. Today pigeon peas are widely cultivated in all tropical and semi-tropical regions of both the Old and the New World. Pigeon peas can be of a perennial variety, in which the crop can last 3–5 years (although the seed yield drops considerably after the first two years), or an annual variety more suitable for seed production.
Pigeon peas are an important legume crop of rainfed agriculture in the semi-arid tropics. The Indian subcontinent, Eastern Africa and Central America, in that order, are the world’s three main pigeon pea producing regions. Pigeon peas are cultivated in more than 25 tropical and sub-tropical countries, either as a sole crop or intermixed with cereals such as sorghum (Sorchum bicolor), pearl millet (Pennisetium glaucum), or maize (Zea mays), or with other legumes, such as peanuts (Arachis hypogaea). Being a legume, the pigeon pea enriches soil through symbiotic nitrogen fixation.
The crop is cultivated on marginal land by resource-poor farmers, who commonly grow traditional medium- and long-duration (5–11 months) landraces. Short-duration pigeon peas (3–4 months) suitable for multiple cropping have recently been developed. Traditionally, the use of such input as fertilizers, weeding, irrigation, and pesticides is minimal, so present yield levels are low (average = 700 kg/ha). Greater attention is now being given to managing the crop because it is in high demand at remunerative prices.
Pigeon peas are very drought resistant and can be grown in areas with less than 650 mm annual rainfall.
World production of pigeon peas is estimated at 46,000 km2. About 82% of this is grown in India. These days it is the most essential ingredient of animal feed used in West Africa, most especially in Nigeria where it is also grown
Edible Uses: Vegetable food crop ( seeds and pods) in South-East Asia.Pigeon peas are both a food crop (dried peas, flour, or green vegetable peas) and a forage/cover crop. They contain high levels of protein and the important amino acids methionine, lysine, and tryptophan. In combination with cereals, pigeon peas make a well-balanced human food. The dried peas may be sprouted briefly, then cooked, for a flavor different from the green or dried peas. Sprouting also enhances the digestibility of dried pigeon peas via the reduction of indigestible sugars that would otherwise remain in the cooked dried peas.
In India, split pigeon peas (toor dal) are one of the most popular pulses, being an important source of protein in a mostly vegetarian diet. In regions where it grows, fresh young pods are eaten as vegetable in dishes such as sambhar.
In Ethiopia, not only the pods but the young shoots and leaves are cooked and eaten.
In some places, such as the Dominican Republic and Hawaii, pigeon peas are grown for canning and consumption. A dish made of rice and green pigeon peas (called “Moro de Guandules”) is a traditional food in Dominican Republic. Pigeon peas are also made as a stew, with plantain balls. In Puerto Rico, arroz con gandules is made with rice and pigeon peas and is a typical dish.
In Thailand, pigeon peas are grown as a host for scale insects which produce lac.
Pigeon peas are in some areas an important crop for green manure, providing up to 40 kg nitrogen per hectare. The woody stems of pigeon peas can also be used as firewood, fencing and thatch.
Used mainly for its edible young pods and seeds.
Chemical constituents :
Roots are considered antihelminthic, expectorant, febrifuge, sedative, vulnerary.
Seeds are rich in carbohydrates (58%) and proteins (19%).
Fair source of calcium and iron; good source of vitamin B.
Chemical studies reveal: 2′-2’methylcajanone, 2′-hydroxygenistein, isoflavones, cajanin, cahanones, among many others.
Analysis of dhal (without husk) gave the following values: moisture, 15.2; protein, 22.3; fat (ether extract), 1.7; mineral matter, 3.6; carbohydrate, 57.2; Ca, 9.1; and P, 0.26%; carotene evaluated as vitamin A, 220 IU and vitamin B1, 150 IU per 100 g. Sun-dried seeds of Cajanus cajan are reported to contain (per 100 g) 345 calories, 9.9% moisture, 19.5 g protein, 1.3 g fat, 65.5 g carbohydrate, 1.3 g fiber, 3.8 g ash, 161 mg Ca, 285 mg P, 15.0 mg Fe, 55 mg b-carotene equivalent, 0.72 mg thiamine, 0.14 mg riboflavin, and 2.9 mg niacin. Immature seeds of Cajanus cajan are reported to contain per 100 g, 117 calories, 69.5% moisture, 7.2 g protein, 0.6 g fat, 21.3 g total carbohydrate, 3.3 g fiber, 1.4 g ash, 29 mg Ca, 135 mg P, 1.3 mg Fe, 5 mg Na, 563 mg K, 145 mg b-carotene equivalent, 0.40 mg thiamine, 0.25 mg riboflavin, 2.4 mg niacin, and 26 mg ascorbic acid/100 g. Of the total amino acids, 6.7% is arginine, 1.2% cystine, 3.4% histidine, 3.8% isoleucine, 7.6% leucine, 7.0% lysine, 1.5% methionine, 8.7% phenylalanine, 3.4% threonine, 2.2% tyrosine, 5.0% valine, 9.8 aspartic acid, 19.2% glutamic acid, 6.4% alanine, 3.6% glycine, 4.4% proline, 5.0% serine with 0 values for canavanine, citrulline and homoserine. Methionine, cystine, and tryptophane are the main limiting amino acids. However, in combination with cereals, as pigeon peas are always eaten, this legume contributes to a nutritionally balanced human food. The oil of the seeds contains 5.7% linolenic acid, 51.4% linoleic, 6.3% oleic, and 36.6% saturated fatty acids. Seeds are reported to contain trypsin inhibitors and chymotrypsin inhibitors. Fresh green forage contains 70.4% moisture, 7.1 crude protein, 10.7 crude fiber, 7.9 N-free extract, 1.6 fat, 2.3 ash. The whole plant, dried and ground contains 1,1.2% moisture, 14.8 crude protein, 28.9 crude fiber, 39.9 N-free extract, 1.7 fat, and 3.5 ash. (Duke, 1981a)
*Decoction or infusionn of leaves for coughs, diarrhea, abdominal pains.
*Tender leaves are chewed for aphthous stomatitis and spongy gums.
*Pulped or poulticed leaves used for sores.
*In Peru, leaves are used as an infusion for anemial, hepatitis, diabetes, urinary infections and yellow fever.
*In Argentina, leaves used for genital and skin problems; flowers used for bronchitis, cough and pneumonia.
*In China, as vermifuge, vulnerary; for tumors.
*In Panama, used for treatment of diabetes (See study below).
*In Indian folk medicine, used for a variety of liver disorders.
As forage or hay.
Branches and stems for basket and fuel. (Source)
Often grown as a shade crop for tree crops or vanilla, a cover crop, or occasionally as a windbreak hedge. In Thailand and N. Bengal, pigeon pea serves as host for the scale insect which produces lac or sticklac. In Malagasy the leaves are used as food for the silkworm. Dried stalks serve for fuel, thatch and basketry. (Duke, 1981a).
• RBC Sickling Inhibition: StudyClinical studies have reported seed extracts to inhibit red blood cell sickling and potential benefit for people with sickle cell anemia.
• Antiplasmodial constituents of Cajanus cajan: Study isolated two stilbenes, longistylin A and C and betulinic acid from the roots and leaves of CC and showed moderately high in vitro activity against Plasmodium falcifarum strain.
• Stilbenes / Neuroprotective / Alzheimer’s Disease: Study of stilbenes containing extract-fraction from C cajan showed significant amelioration of cognitive deficits and neuron apoptosis. Findings suggest sECC has a potential in the development of therapeutic agent to manage cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer’s disease through increase choline acetyltransferase activity and anti-oxidative mechanism.
• Hypocholesterolemic Effect: Study on the stilbenes containing extract-fraction of CC showed a hypocholesterolemic effect possibly through enhancement of hepatic LDL-receptor and cholesterol 7-alpha-hydroxylase expression levels and bile acid synthesis.
• Hyperglycemic Effect: Evaluation of traditional medicine: effects of Cajanus cajan L. and of Cassia fistula L. on carbohydrate metabolism in mice: Contradicting its traditional use for diabetes, CC did not have a hypoglycemic effect on sugar, instead at higher doses, it produced a hyperglycemic effect.
• Antimicrobial / Antifungal: Nigerian study on the antimicrobial effects of the ethanol and aqueous extracts of locally available plants, including C cajan, showerd inhibition against S aureus, P aeruginosa, E coli and C albicans. The extracts of C cajam produced wider zones of inhibition against C albicans.
• Hyperglycemic Effect: Study of the aqueous extract of C cajan leaves showed a hyperglycemic effect, suggesting a usefulness incontrolling hypoglycemia that may be due to excess of insulin or other hypoglycemic drugs.
• Hepatoprotective: (1) Study of the methanol-aqueous fraction of C cajan leaf extract showed it could prevent the chronically treated alcohol induced rat liver damage and presents a promise as a non-toxic herb for therapeutic use in alcohol-induced liver dysfunction. (2) Study in mice with carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage showed the methanol extracts of B orellana, C cajan, G pentaphylla and C equisetifolia showed significant decrease in levels of serum markers, indicating the protection of hepatic cells in a dose-dependent manner.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.