English: Hyacinth beans
Parts used: Dried ripe seeds
TCM category: Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency
TCM nature: Warm
TCM taste(s): Sweet
Organ affinity: Spleen Stomach
Scientific name: Dolicho lablab
Other names: Bonavist bean, Bonavist pea, Dolichos bean, Seim bean, Lablab bean, Egyptian kidney bean, Indian bean, Bataw, Australian pea
Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.
Preparation: Harvest the fruits when mature, sun dry them and collect the seeds
Dosage: 3 - 6 beans
Main actions according to TCM*: Treats Summer Heat. Strengthens the Spleen and clears Damp-Heat. Relieves diarrhea and vomiting.
Primary conditions or symptoms for which Bai Bian Dou may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Loss of appetite Diarrhea Leukorrhea Vomiting Chest congestion
Contraindications*: Avoid with alternating fever and chills and Cold disorders.
Source date: 1107 AD
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Formula key actions: Augments the Qi. Strengthens the Spleen. Leaches out Dampness. Stops diarrhea.
Conditions targeted*: Chronic gastritisEnteritis and others
Bai Bian Dou is a deputy ingredient in Shen Ling Bai Zhu San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Shen Ling Bai Zhu San, Bai Bian Dou strengthens the Spleen and stops diarrhea.
Source date: 1107 AD
Number of ingredients: 3 herbs
Formula key actions: Releases the Exterior. Scatters Cold. Transforms Dampness. Harmonizes the Middle Burner .
Conditions targeted*: Acute gastroenteritisBacillary dysentery and others
Bai Bian Dou is a deputy ingredient in Xiang Ru San. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Xiang Ru San, Bai Bian Dou assists the key herb by improving the effects of summertime Dampness on the Spleen.
It also strengthens the Spleen, primarily by descending the turbid fluids and products of food transformation, as well as ascending the clear fluids.
Source date: 1798 AD
Number of ingredients: 6 herbs
Formula key actions: Dispels Summerheat. Releases the Exterior. Clears Heat. Transforms Dampness .
Conditions targeted*: Common coldInfluenza and others
Bai Bian Dou is a deputy ingredient in Xin Jia Xiang Ru Yin. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Xin Jia Xiang Ru Yin, Bai Bian Dou is aromatic and slightly cold. It disperses pathogens and resolves Summer-Heat without damaging the Body Fluids.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Bai Bian Dou belongs to the 'Tonic herbs for Qi Deficiency' category. Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency, when one lacks one of the 'Four Treasures' (Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang). Qi tonics are typically sweet and they tend to enter the Spleen and Lungs because these Organs are most involved with the production of Qi.
Furthermore Bai Bian Dou is Warm in nature. This means that Bai Bian Dou tends to help people who have too much 'Cold' in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much Cold in their body are said to either have a Yin Excess (because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang Deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition Bai Bian Dou can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Bai Bian Dou also tastes Sweet. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Sweet ingredients like Bai Bian Dou tends to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Bai Bian Dou is thought to target the Spleen and the Stomach. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. The Stomach on the other hand is responsible for receiving and ripening ingested food and fluids. It is also tasked with descending the digested elements downwards to the Small Intestine.
An antifungal protein, purified from the seeds of Dolichos lablab, exhibited antifungal activity and was capable of inhibiting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) reverse transcriptase and α- and β-glucosidases which are glycohydrolases implicated in HIV infection.1
1. X. Y. Yea, H. X. Wangab, T. B. Nga (2000). Dolichin, a New Chitinase-like Antifungal Protein Isolated from Field Beans (Dolichos lablab). Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. Volume 269, Issue 1, Pages 155-159
Bai Bian Dou is also eaten as food. It is used as an ingredient in dishes such as Roasted Lablab Beans or Hithik Avare.