Nuts and Seeds

  




Red Bean 

 
Latin: Phaseolus angularis
 
Origin:
The seed of Phaseolus angularis (Willd.) W.F. Wight, or Vigna angularis (Willd.) Ohwi & Ohashi var. angularis, belonging to the Leguminosae/Fabaceae family. The crop has been grown and used for many centuries in the Orient. Red bean is native to China, and was introduced to Japan from China about 1,000 years ago and it is now the sixth largest crop and is a frequent subject in Japanese scientific publications. It is a cultigen not found in the wild. The major part of the Chinese crop is produced in the Yangtse River Valley. Red bean also grows in south China and Taiwan, Korea, New Zealand, India, Thailand, and the Philippines. Some species are planted in Washington state, USA.

The red bean plant is erect, 30-60 cm high, although some gardeners have reported them to be indeterminate, growing and producing until frost. The yellow flowers are followed by a cluster of several smooth, short, small, cylindrical pods. Leaves resemble those of Southern peas, while the pods are much like mung bean pods.

The seeds are smaller than common beans, but are two to three times larger than mung beans. They are variously colored, but most often dark red. Types with green, straw-colored, black-orange, and mottled seeds are known. The round seeds have a hilum (seed scar) with a protruding ridge on the side.

Red beans need about 120 days from sowing to the time the seeds and pods are dry. They need cool nights for best production, but will not tolerate frosts and freezes.

The young tender pods may be harvested for use as snap beans. However, they are very small at this stage and the seeds are just beginning to develop inside the pods. Pick every 5 or 6 days. The dry pods split open and scatter the seeds, so harvest the pods after the seeds are ripe but before they shatter. The entire plant with dry pods still attached may be pulled and stacked in a dry, well-ventilated place to dry completely (a week or two after harvest is usually sufficient). The dry shelled beans should be stored in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator.

Both the red bean and azuki bean are of the same species. The size of the red bean is slightly bigger than azuki bean. Traditionally in China, red bean is used mainly as food, and azuki bean is consumed mainly medicinally. For this reason, the herbal classics generally mentioned only the azuki bean, and not the red bean. However, the production of azuki beans is not enough; nowadays, herbalists have been using azuki beans and red beans interchangeably. The functions and applications of both beans are about the same. The red bean, in particular, is a versatile bean well-loved in Chinese and Japanese cooking. It holds a place in ceremonial dishes of both China and Japan, where the beans are used to make traditional dumplings at the New Year and for other festive occasions.

Red beans are available year-round, dried or canned. They can be found primarily in natural food stores and Asian markets.

See also Food, Nuts and Seeds, Azuki Bean.
 
Properties:
Sweet in flavor, mild in nature, it is related to the channels of the spleen, large intestine and small intestine.
 
Functions:
Red bean possesses diuretic (promotes the excretion of urine) action and is used in edema (the presence of abnormally large amounts of fluid in the intercellular tissue spaces of the body), and diarrhoea. It is an antidote in Chinese medicine and used to be applied in boils, carbuncles (collection of pus that forms inside the body), erysipelas (an acute, diffuse, spreading inflammation of the deep subcutaneous tissues and sometimes muscle), and bloody stool which are believed to be the results of poisons.
 
Applications:
1. For mumps (infectious acute viral disease affecting the parotid glands):

Pound 50 g red beans and prepare as powder. Add some honey and a little warm water to make paste for local application.

2. For abdominal pain after child delivery:

Fry 300 g red beans until a little bit charred. Boil in 500 ml by slow fire until half of its volume is gone. Add some brown sugar. Drink in 3 equal doses in a day.
 
Dosage and Administration:
The principal use of red bean throughout the Far East is as a confectionery item. It is cooked and combined with varying proportions of sugar, water, starch, plant gums, and other ingredients, and consumed as such or in combination with other foods. The single largest use of these so-called "ann" products is as fillings for bread (annpan), steamed breads or dumplings and sweet cakes.

Red beans are easy to digest, and although they have a distinctive flavor, they taste less "beany" than many other beans. The preferred cooking method is to soak them in cold water for two to three hours and then simmer them on top of the stove for about an hour and a half, and then add sugar as a kind of sweet soup, or boil with a mixture of rice, sprouts, or flour. They also cook well in a crockpot or pressure cooker. In Japanese cooking, they are used in desserts in the form of a sweetened paste called an, koshi-an, or tsubushi-an. When red beans are prepared with rice, the rice takes on a beautiful reddish-purple tint from the beans.
 
Cautions on Use:
 
Reference Materials:
 
Toxic or Side Effects:
 
Modern Researches:
In every 100 g of red bean, there are 272 calories, 25 g protein, 50 g carbohydrate, 11 g total fibre, 3 g soluable fibre, 84 mg calcium, 4 mg iron, 5 mg zinc, 1,220 mg potassium, and fat, sugars, phosphorus, vitamins B1, B2.

The ripe seeds contain 25 percent protein and are highly nutritious.
 
 
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